Irish Cook



I’ve come to the conclusion that potatoes are really the stuff of greatness and no more so than in a potato cake, to which any number of other ingredients can be added — bacon, cheese, herbs to name a few. A perfect side dish, this recipe originated at the Oliver St. John Gogarty’s Pub, 58-59 Fleet Street, Dublin, a pub/restaurant filled with interesting dishes named for local characters, including Gogarty himself. The original recipe for these cakes, which dates from the 1850s, was probably served on its own, but the contemporary version is delicious as a starter drizzled with warm cranberry sauce. You can also serve it as a side dish with meat or fish.

Bacon-Potato Cakes

Serves 4

1/2 pound potatoes, peeled, and cut into 2-inch pieces         

3 tablespoons butter

2 tablespoons warm milk

1 tablespoon dried mixed herbs, such as tarragon, thyme, and marjoram

2 tablespoons minced fresh flat-leaf parsley

1/2 tablespoon ground nutmeg

Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

2 streaky rashers (traditional Irish bacon), finely chopped

2 cabbage leaves, finely chopped

Flour for dredging

1 egg mixed with 1 tablespoon water

Seasoned breadcrumbs for dredging

Canola oil for frying

Mixed salad greens for serving

Warm cranberry sauce for serving (optional)

  1. Cook potatoes in boiling salted water for 12 to 15 minutes, or until tender. Drain and mash. Re-cover and return to low heat for 2 to 3 minutes to dry out.
  2. Remove from heat and stir in butter and milk until smooth. Stir in herbs, nutmeg, salt and pepper. Let cool for about 10 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, in a skillet over medium heat, cook bacon for 5 to 8 minutes, or until slightly crisp. With a slotted spoon or spatula, transfer to paper towel-lined plate.
  4. Using same skillet, cook cabbage for 4 to 5 minutes, or until wilted. Stir cabbage and bacon into potatoes until well blended. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  5. Shape potato mixture into 4 evenly sized cakes. Lightly dredge in flour, dip in egg wash, and then dredge in breadcrumbs.
  6. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, heat oil. Cook cakes for 3 to 5 minutes on each side, or until browned. (Cakes can be prepared ahead up to this point and kept warm in a 250° F oven).
  7. Serve as a side dish, or put a handful of mixed greens in center of four salad plates, place a potato cake on top, and drizzle with 1 to 2 tablespoons of cranberry sauce.


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