Potato cakes of the type featured on this page are an incredibly versatile creation and the specific ingredients are almost as variable as sandwich fillings. White fish such as cod - or evenly oily fish such as salmon - are perhaps the most popular additions to cakes of this type. The result on such occasions is then broadly referred to simply as fishcakes; but poultry such as turkey or chicken works equally well and gives a very different taste and texture to the finished articles. Tarragon is the additional flavorant chosen in this recipe but the herb or spice additions can be adapted as a very easy way of altering the flavor without changing the main ingredients.

Chicken and Tarragon Potato Cakes Recipe
Credit: Gordon Hamilton

Chicken and tarragon potato cakes served with a side salad and garlic mayo

Ingredients (Serves 1)

Baking Potatoes
Credit: Gordon Hamilton

Medium sized baking potatoes, perfect for making mash

  • 2 medium sized baking potatoes
  • Salt
  • 1 skinless chicken breast fillet
  • ½ small white onion
  • ½ teaspoon whole black peppercorns
  • 1 teaspoon dried tarragon (½ for poaching chicken and ½ for potato cakes)
  • ¼ stick (1 ounce) butter
  • ½ cup all purpose (plain) flour, plus 1 tablespoon for potato cakes
  • 2 large eggs
  • ¾ cup golden breadcrumbs (or similar)
  • Vegetable oil for frying
  • 2 handfuls mixed green leaf salad
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • 2 large garlic cloves, 1 each for salad dressing and mayo
  • Black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons mayo


Potatoes Ready for Boiling
Credit: Gordon Hamilton

Potatoes ready for boiling

Peel the potatoes and chop to approximately one inch chunks. Don't chop them any smaller or they will absorb too much water as they cook and the mash will be mushy. This would make forming the potato cakes extremely difficult if not impossible. Put them in to a pot of cold, salted water and bring the water to a simmer until the potatoes are just softened. This should take around twenty minutes.

Chicken Ready for Poaching
Credit: Gordon Hamilton

Chicken ready for poaching

Cut the chicken breast fillet in to three equal sized strips along its length. This makes not only for quicker but more even cooking. Put the pieces in to a pot with the sliced onion half, black peppercorns, a little salt and half a teaspoon of dried tarragon. Pour in enough cold water to ensure the chicken is comfortably covered and bring the water to a simmer for ten minutes. Turn off the heat and leave the breast pieces sitting in the cooling water for ten further minutes.

Mashing Potatoes
Credit: Gordon Hamilton

Potatoes are mashed with butter

Drain the potatoes and return them to the empty pot. Allow to steam off for a few minutes. This is another technique for preventing soggy mash which won't form well in to cakes. Add the butter and mash with a hand masher until smooth and no lumps remain. Cover and leave to cool completely.

Chopped Chicken Breast
Credit: Gordon Hamilton

Cooled and chopped chicken breast

The chicken breast strips should be lifted from the poaching water with a slotted spoon to a plate. Cover and leave to cool before moderately finely chopping with a sharp knife.

Potato Cake Ingredients
Credit: Gordon Hamilton

Potato cake ingredients are ready to be combined

Add the chopped chicken, the tablespoon of flour, half a teaspoon of the tarragon and a little salt and pepper to the mashed potatoes. Stir well to evenly combine.

Potato Cake Dough
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Potato cake dough is ready for dividing and shaping

When you have what is essentially a soft, slightly moist dough combination, you are ready to shape the potato cakes. Divide the dough in half and roll each half in to a ball. Flatten between the palms of your hands until you have cakes around three-quarters of an inch to an inch thick. Lay them on a very lightly floured plate and refrigerate for an hour to help them firm up.

Breading Potato Cakes
Credit: Gordon Hamilton

Breading potato cakes for shallow frying

You will need three flat bottomed bowls/dessert plates, similar to the ones shown above, in order to breadcrumb the potato cakes. Break the two eggs in to the first one and beat lightly with a fork, just until the yolk and white are combined. Add the breadcrumbs and the flour to the two remaining bowls respectively. One at a time, pat the cakes firstly in the flour, dip in the egg and pat in the breadcrumbs. Ensure the rims of the cakes are coated as well as each side. If you wish, you can re-dip in the egg and the breadcrumbs for a second time to ensure an extra thick and crispy coating.

Frying Potato Cakes
Credit: Gordon Hamilton

Potato cakes are added to a heated frying pan with a little vegetable oil

Pour two or three tablespoons of vegetable oil in to a small, non-stick frying pan and bring it up to a low to medium heat. Add the potato cakes to the pan and fry gently for an initial eight to ten minutes, by which time the undersides should be beautifully crisp and golden.

Washing Salad
Credit: Gordon Hamilton

Salad is thoroughly washed under running cold water

This salad came from the supermarket ready prepared in a small plastic tub. It consisted of a variety of green salad leaves, a few cherry tomatoes, sliced red onion and sliced red bell pepper. You can use any similar type of salad combination. It is vital though that you do wash the salad in a colander under running cold water, even when the pack states it is washed and ready for use. Set aside briefly to drain, or dry in a salad spinner.

Garlic Mayo
Credit: Gordon Hamilton

Mixing the mayo and garlic

Spoon the mayo in to a small bowl. Peel the first garlic clove and grate in to the mayo. Stir well.

Turned Potato Cakes
Credit: Gordon Hamilton

Potato cakes are turned in frying pan

Turn the cakes in the pan with a spatula and fry for a similar length of time on the second side.

Salad Dressing
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Preparing a simple salad dressing

Pour the extra virgin olive oil in to a large glass or stone bowl and add the lemon juice. Peel the second garlic clove and grate it in to the mix. Season with salt and pepper and stir well or lightly whisk.

Tossing Salad
Credit: Gordon Hamilton

Salad is turned in dressing

Put the salad in the bowl with the dressing and turn with tongs until evenly coated.

Plated Salad
Credit: Gordon Hamilton

Salad is arranged on serving plate

Continuing to use the tongs, lift the salad on to one half of a square serving plate.

Plated Potato Cakes
Credit: Gordon Hamilton

Potato cakes are plated alongside salad

Lift the chicken and tarragon potato cakes from the frying pan one at a time with a spatula. Hold them briefly over the pan to allow the excess all to drain back in to the pan before plating alongside the salad. Spoon the garlic mayo on to the plate for service.