Monday, March 15, 2010

Bird Flanagan Irish Potato Pancakes

I found the story behind this potato pancake recipe as interesting and 'savory' as the recipe itself...

Willie 'The Bird' Flanagan was an elaborate practical joker, with a rich father who could afford to pay for his son's wild exploits. In 1907, Willie rode his horse through the swinging doors of the Gresham Hotel in Dublin, into the lobby and half way up the main staircase and asked for a drink.

"It's after hours, sir", replied a porter. "It's not for me, you fool, it's for the horse!" Willie replied.

More about this interesting character here. The bar at the Gresham Hotel and this recipe, which was later served there, were both named for him.

I made a Bird Flanagan Potato Pancake for brunch this past weekend and both my husband and I thoroughly enjoyed it! I will be making this again!

I'm pretty sure I don't have any Irish heritage since my paternal grandparents and maternal great-grandparents all came here from Denmark. However, Denmark isn't that far away from the Emerald Isle, so you never know ;) The Danes do know how to appreciate a tuber - just try some Aquavit if you have any doubt.

Shredded potatoes, Canadian bacon, onion, parsley, cheddar cheese and egg combined to make a perfectly delightful one-dish meal.

Bird Flanagan Potato Pancakes with Canadian Bacon

Recipe adapted from Elegant Irish Cooking by Noel Cullen
Printable Recipe

Serves 2-4

2 large potatoes
2 whole eggs
2-4 slices lean Canadian bacon (depending on thickness)
1 tablespoon chopped green onion
1 teaspoon chopped fresh parsley
2 tablespoons grated sharp cheddar cheese
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
2 tablespoons vegetable oil

Peel and grate the potatoes. Squeeze out excess moisture by placing the grated potatoes in a ricer and pressing down on the handle to release as much moisture as possible. Place in a bowl.

Slice the Canadian bacon into thin strips (julienne) and add to the potatoes along with the diced onion, parsley, cheese and salt and pepper to taste (I like lots of pepper). Combine thoroughly.

Lightly beat the eggs and add to the potato mixture.

In a crepe pan or nonstick sauté pan, heat oil over medium heat. Pour the mixture into the heated pan and press down to spread it out evenly and cook on both sides, until golden brown. This should take about 10 minutes. You can use a large plate inverted over the pan to help flip the pancake. I placed a cover, slightly ajar, over the pan during the last few minutes to help the potatoes cook through.


  1. Now that's a recipe that is NOT for the birds.
    It looks wonderful...I am trying that for sure..what's not to like!
    Thanks so much dear friend, for joining the party with such a wonderful post!

  2. Susan, no Irish lineage here either! Your Irish potato pancake looks delish, and best of all, pretty straightforward for a quick breakfast or lunch.

  3. That sounds delicious - great for a Sunday breakfast... copy and paste for sure.

  4. ciao Susan!! piatto ricco...mmmmm...peccato che sei lontana!!un abbraccio!!

  5. Perfect pancake recipe... I can't think of a better brunch/lunch dish and a wonderful story! I think we all have a little Irish in us!

  6. Susan, that looks delicious- very similar to a potato frittata. I'm going to make this for lunch this week for sure! Happy St. Patrick's!!
    xoxo Pattie

  7. Another Ode to Tuber that does NOT disappoint ... I love the name Bird Flanagan Iris Potato Pancakes and always enjoy your history lessons, Susan.

    What a fantastic looking "pancake"! And you're right ... a great one dish meal. I know my husband would love this dish. It will be on our menu soon.

  8. I'll have to try your version soon since my Mom never put the C.bacon in her's. Thank you for sharing!


  9. Love the story! This potato pancake looks delicious! A great way to mark St. Patty's Day.

  10. Susan! you are making my mouth water. Potato pancakes are my favorite. I'll have to try making my own now!! :0)

  11. I loved Bird's horse story :) Those potato pancakes look delicious and we will definitely be trying them soon. What a fun dish for a brunch as well.

    I love your poem and I will never forget you as the friend who stuck my me!

    Happy St. Patrick's day...

  12. Susan, what a treat this would be for my weekend. Love the poem! Happy St. Patrick's Day my friend.

  13. I'm not Irish either but everyone is Irish on St. Patrick's Day! These potato pancakes look fantastic. Thanks so much for submitting them to RR!

  14. Oh my goodness that looks awesome. I will have to give it a try. Sounds like a great breakfast.

  15. Oh, Susan, I had forgotten about Bird Flanagan. We love to have tea at the Gresham when we're in Dublin. And at the Shelborne, of course!

    This recipe looks delicious. THanks for posting it!

  16. This reminds me of tortilla. Looks beautiful!

  17. Bonne St-Patrick.
    Ton plat semble très bon.
    J'aime beaucoup cette recette.
    See soon.

  18. Love potato pancakes and yours sound delicious! Willie must have been quite a character. Good post!

  19. Loved reading about Bird Flanagan! It was all new to me.
    And your potato pancake looks (and sounds) divine...I love things like this for breakfast!

  20. I doubt I'm Irish either but I should be with how much I love potatoes. This pancake looks devine!!

  21. we have always celebrated St Patricks day, but not for the same reason as the rest of the world - my parents have their wedding anniversary on that day, so it is a very special day - they have just done 48 years and still going strong.

  22. Susan, that recipe would be a hit here. I just love your tuber series.

  23. This looks absolutely perfect for those lazy Saturday evenings. I'm definitely going to be dialling up the Irish!


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