These parsnip and potato farl are a tasty twist on the traditional skillet potato scone. They’re easy to make, wonderfully soft & a comforting breakfast/snack.
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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.
What is a potato farl?
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. This variation of a parsnip and potato farl is only a small twist on the traditional and just as, if not more, tasty.
Where does the name farl come from?
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. That said, apparently they were originally made with fine oatmeal.
Many recipes add a little baking powder to lighten them a little. Once everything is combined, you press the mixture together, cut and fry it. 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.
The recipe makes eight smallish farl, or you can make it into four thicker farl. About half the total makes a pretty good lunch for one with some additions such as cheese, or use one large/two small per person as part of a breakfast as in the pictures here.
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.
Try these other Scottish/Irish recipes:
- Colcannon (Irish mash with cabbage)
- Cullen skink (smoked haddock chowder)
- Plus get more British recipes in the archives.
Parsnip and potato farl (potato pancakes/scones)
- 10 oz potatoes 280g
- 5 oz parsnips 150g
- 1 3/4 oz unsalted butter 50g (divided)
- 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 around half the butter (or a little more) 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). You can leave to cool a bit more at this point if still very hot.
- 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 (or divide and make eight, if you prefer thin).
- Heat the remaining butter in a skillet/frying pan over a medium heat and cook around 3minutes on each side until golden then serve.
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