First mentioned in an 1806 recipe book by Maria Rundell, the classic British dish known as bubble & squeak is a thrifty and hugely tasty classic that’s a real Christmas must-have, especially served as a Boxing Day breakfast with a lovely runny organic egg and some toast soliders!
Yes, we’re talking leftovers – primarily mashed potatoes, greens and other vegetables – all mushed together and shallow fried to crisp perfection, but when a dish is this tasty, there’s no room for gastronomic snobbery. In fact, bubble & squeak, so named for the lovely noises it makes while cooking, isn’t a purely British phenomenon – it has culinary relatives around the world, such as bauernfrühstück (Germany), stovies (Scotland), roupa velha (Portugal), hash (USA) and biksemad (Denmark)!
Bubble & squeak tips
- It’s an equal opportunities dish: Only got some cold mashed potato and cabbage? No problem. You have a little cold fish? Fold it in! Green peas and roasted parsnips? Perfect! Even cold Brussels sprouts can sit happily in the mix…
- Mix and freeze: While your leftovers are still warm, chop the larger cooked vegetables and fold them into the mashed potato, adding any other tasty bits and pieces you’ve got in the fridge (meat, fish, etc). Then you can either fill a shallow plastic container with the mixture or form it into patties, allow it to go cold and place in the freezer. To use, all you need to do is pop the mixture or the patties into a shallow frying pan with a little oil over a medium heat and cook through, turning regularly, until it’s delightfully crispy on the outside.
- Carnivores and veggies in perfect harmony: Bubble & squeak is a great way to get confirmed meat eaters and vegetarians to eat happily at the same table. Just divide the mix into two, add the meaty bits to the carnivores’ share, and fry in separate pans. If pre-preparing and freezing, make sure that you clearly mark which is the vegetarian portion!
- A great alternative to baked potatoes: The traditional British Boxing Day lunch of cold roast meat, a baked potato and pickles can seem a little heavy after all of the rich food you’ve been enjoying on the big day itself. So why not lighten the load by substituting the baked spud for bubble & squeak?
PS You’ll find more hints about ‘nobody’s favourite’, the Brussels sprout, on page 124 of Issue 4 – visit our Subscribe page to find out how to buy The Simple Things.
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