“It’s Not All Green But Trust Me, It’s Irish”
Just a quick little recipe today, if you can even call it a recipe. A friend of mine was working back home in Belfast as part of his job, and I remember he put our Skype call on hold so he could make “potato bread”. Not the most extravagant-sounding of food but one I miss dearly. It’s essentially a potato pancake where the word “farl” refers to the quarters they are traditionally cut into.
Of course my quote for this post comes from the various recipes shared around the now-past St Patrick’s Day, where anything seemed to go so long as it was green. Many cultures find themselves recognised from their known public holidays but, with that being the case, it develops preconceptions of what they have as food on a daily basis. It would be like me assuming that Germans only diet on sausages and beer because Oktoberfest is a well-known German festival. There was something heartening when I was listening to a German kitchen porter I worked with talking about the food his mother was going to make him when she was visiting Belfast.
Seeing the statistics for this blog and appreciating the number of areas that it’s viewed from, I’d love to hear about potential misconceptions of your local food, or just be enlightened about an unknown dish so I can do some research and give something new a go.
But enough talk, time for potatoes!
That’s literally all it is, potatoes. And I guess a bit of flour to keep its shape. Personally I used this as a means to use leftover champ (essentially mash potatoes with scallions) and as such I didn’t want to give a set mash potato recipe here. I want to emphasis the use of leftovers, and even in the ingredients I give ratios rather than fixed quantities.
When combining the potato with the flour, it’s important to make sure it’s done properly or else you’ll end up with patches of dough that will simply fall apart. For the bread-makers out there, it’s like adding additional flour to bread dough – it doesn’t matter if you only coat the outside because, as you keep kneading it, you’ll realise the interior is still too wet.
For my quantity of mash, I was able to quarter my dough then roll each quarter into a flat disc approximately 1 cm in thickness. These discs are then cut into quarters to create your potato farls.
Personally, to fry the farls, I use oil to cook the sides then add butter to give it a golden-brown colour.
Like my friend in the introduction, I’m happy enough to have it as a snack but…
..it’s probably most at home in a good ol’ fry. (Shame I didn’t have Irish soda farls to go with it).
Similar to my Irish Stew, this is another recipe from where I was born, and I hope you do educate me in the comments of any dishes from your culture that I should know about that popular exposure may have missed.
- Approximately 5:1 ratio mash potato* to flour – plus extra flour for dusting
- Additional salt/pepper to taste
- Oil and butter for frying
*I used champ in this recipe, which is full of buttery goodness. If your mash is dry, you may need to add butter to prevent the flour from completely drying out your potato farls.
- In stages, slowly knead the flour into the mash potatoes.
- Divide the dough into equal quantities, approximately 150g each.
- On a lightly floured surface, roll out a portion of dough into a circle approximately 1 cm thick. Divide into quarters.
- Heat a tablespoon of oil in a frying pan on a medium-low heat.
- Cook the quarters on each side for 1 minute 30 seconds each.
- Add small knobs of butter and coat each farl until golden brown.
- Remove and serve.