I know ‘farl’ might not mean that much to many people, but a potato farl is something that you might come across as part of a cooked breakfast in Ireland or Scotland but deserves much wider appreciation. It’s a wonderfully soft, comforting skillet scone or pancake made with mashed potato and can be eaten as part of breakfast eg with bacon or with a full fry-up, or as a snack or part of lunch with a little butter on top, maybe served with some cheese. They are really easy to make and even easier to enjoy. These parsnip and potato farls are a slight adaptation on the traditional ones, and just as, if not more, tasty.
Farl comes from the gaelic for fourths, as typically the mixture is pressed in to a circle, quartered and then the pieces fried in a little butter. They are in their simplest form mashed potato, flour and butter mixed together (although apparently they were originally made with fine oatmeal), but many recipes add a little baking powder to lighten them a little. Once combined, the mixture is pressed, cut and fried. That easy.
The parsnip here adds a little additional depth of flavor and sweetness but without taking over. They are really smooth and a great comfort food on a cold day. Given the time of year, they would be a great addition to any St Patrick’s day menu, but they are so tasty and easy to make, they can be enjoyed much more than that.
The recipe makes two lots of four smallish farl – four makes a pretty good lunch for one with some additions such as cheese, or a couple per person would be good as part of a breakfast. You can easily make more than you need and store the leftover refrigerated in a box/cling wrap for a day or two ready to press, cut and fry when you want them. Just bear in mind the mixture will be colder than when you make them so you may need to cook them a little longer to warm them through.
These make a very versatile snack, part of a breakfast or lunch. It would even be good as a side eg to a stew where you could do with mopping up the sauce. They are also great for kids, being so soft and easy to eat. But I can’t wait to enjoy them again myself, as I hope you will find too.
A slight twist on a Scottish/Irish breakfast staple, potato pancakes. Easy and delicious(plus great for leftovers!)
- 10 oz potatoes 280g
- 5 oz parsnips 150g
- 1 3/4 oz unsalted butter 50g
- 1/2 cup all purpose flour 70g plain flour
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- salt and pepper
Peel the potatoes and parsnips, cut into similar-size pieces and boil for around 10-15mins until tender to the knifepoint.
Drain the potatoes and parsnips and return to the pan. Roughly chop the butter and add to the pan, melting it in the residual heat of the pan and the vegetables.
Mash the vegetables with the butter (if you have a ricer, all the better, but it doesn't need to be a puree).
Add the flour, baking powder and a little salt and pepper to taste. Mix well - it should come away from the pan into a ball. If it's too wet, add a little more flour. If it won't come together, add a little milk.
Remove the mixture to a floured surface, press flat into a circle around 1/3in/1cm thick and cut into four.
Heat a little butter in a skillet/frying pan over a medium heat and cook around 3minutes on each side until golden then serve.