Pan Haggerty

I was shopping with the family at Harmons the other day and they were giving out samples of corned beef and cabbage.  Chad said that I absolutely had to make something comforting and yummy like that for St. Patrick’s day, so naturally I got to thinking.

I have made corned beef and cabbage in the past, and it is wonderful.  In fact, I really haven’t met an Irish food I don’t like.  I have bought a few Irish cookbooks just to stare at the homey, comforting dishes laden with meats, root vegetables, fish, and of course, potatoes.  There are a million and one corned beef and cabbage recipes out there, so I wanted to try something just as Irish, but completely different.

I decided I’d try my own version of Pan Haggerty.


It turned out to be one of the most beautiful and tasty things I have ever made.  I meant to only taste it, and after two wedges, I had to go out for a hike to burn off all the carbs I ate.  It was so worth it that I wasn’t even a bit mad when I was hiking.  Even though I was pink cheeked and sweaty, I just kept thinking of that Pan Haggerty and how divine it was.

People often ask me how I come up with my recipes and I say the same thing every time, “research, research, research”.  I certainly didn’t invent Pan Haggerty.  It’s a dish as old as time.  However, great recipes can always be reinvented.  So, when I decide on a dish I want to make, I may look at 20 to 30 recipes both from cookbooks and online, of the same dish, like dishes, and similar dishes in other cultures.  This helps me formulate the basis of what I want mine to be, and then I take a stab at it.

One thing I try really hard to do, is to stay true to the core of the dish.  I don’t stray so far away that you wouldn’t be able to call it by the same name.  I want it to be recognizable to those who have enjoyed the traditional version, yet different enough that it’s all my own.

Pan Haggerty is actually eaten primarily in Britain, but it is also found frequently in Irish Culture.  It is composed of thinly sliced potatoes, cheese,  and onions, and is baked in a cast iron skillet.  It’s been compared to scalloped potatoes and is often served as a side dish.  Some recipes include rashers (bacon), or other meats.

All my food research has taught me that for almost every dish in every culture, there are similar ones in another culture.  In this case, Pan Haggerty reminded me of a Pommes Anna made in France.  A Pommes Anna is a potato cake comprised of thinly sliced potatoes that are layered with butter, salt, and pepper, and baked so that they stay together when inverted onto a platter.  The look is all elegance, and the taste is both delicate and buttery.

Pan Haggerty is traditionally served straight from the pan with a spoon, as the layers of cheese, onions, and rashers, don’t allow for the starches in the potatoes to adhere and glue the potatoes together.

I wanted the look of a Pommes Anna, and the hearty taste of a Pan Haggerty.  My solution was to nix the cheese, and create a deconstructed pan haggerty in which the onions and bacon would be served atop a gorgeous cake made of Yukon Golds.  I finished it with some sour cream and scallion curls.

This dish was everything I hoped it would be.


It was so darn good.

Now, I won’t lie, it is not the quickest of dishes to make.  It requires a few steps, but they are simple.  There is nothing technically difficult about this as long as you get a couple basic things right.

First, use a waxy potato that will hold it’s shape.  You wouldn’t want a soft, fluffy potato like a russet for this dish.  Also, don’t soak the potatoes or put them in water after cutting them.  You need the starch to glue the cake together.  To assemble the cake you simply lay the sliced potatoes down in a buttered cast iron, brush them with more butter, salt and pepper them, cook on the stovetop over medium high heat for a few minutes to brown the bottom, and then bake.  Once out of the oven, it will look like this:


Let it cool for a few minutes, and run a knife around the edges.  Place a plate or platter on top of the skillet and hold in place with one hand while flipping the skillet over with the other.  Pound the bottom of the pan with a heavy spatula. to release the potatoes.  If some stick to the bottom, just pull them off and arrange them neatly on top of the cake with your hands.

Top the potato cake with caramelized onions, fried and chopped bacon, and curled scallions.  I put the directions for these in the printable below.

Serve with a side of sour cream or crème fraiche.


If this doesn’t bring you the Luck O’ The Irish, I don’t think anything will!

Pan Haggerty


  • 3 lbs small gold potatoes sliced thin (it is not necessary to peel them)
  • 1 Stick salted butter, melted
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 yellow onions, sliced
  • 1/2 lb thick cut bacon, fried and chopped
  • 3 scallions
  • sour cream or crème fraiche for serving.


  1. Start by making the caramelized onions as they take a while. Place 2 Tbs of the butter in a skillet over low heat. Add onions. Cook low and slow for about 40 minutes until caramelized and sweet. Set aside.
  2. Make onion curls by cutting the scallions in half and discarding the white parts. You are only using the very green tops for the curls. Slice the tops the long way twice, so you have a bunch of very thin strips. Submerge the onions in ice water and set aside. They will curl in the water.
  3. Preheat oven to 450.
  4. Brush a cast iron skillet with some of the melted butter. Layer the potato slices so they slightly overlap. Remember the bottom becomes the top, so arrange the first layer neatly. Brush with butter, and add salt and pepper. Repeat twice more to form three layers.
  5. Place the skillet on the stovetop over medium high heat. Cook for about four minutes to brown the bottom of the potatoes.
  6. Brush the bottom of a heavy glass pie plate or another oven safe skillet with butter. Place it on top of the potatoes to weigh them down.
  7. Place in the oven for 15 minutes and then remove the pie plate from the top.
  8. Continue cooking for another 15 minutes until the potatoes are tender.
  9. Remove from the oven and let sit for five minutes before running a knife around the edges of the cake to loosen.
  10. Invert onto a large plate, top with bacon, caramelized onions, and onion curls.
  11. Cut into wedges and serve with the cream.



  1. I think I am ready for this amazing dish again.

  2. Oh yum!!!

  3. This is by far one of the best things I have tried.

  4. I love potatoes any way you fix them but this browned beauty is calling my name!

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