One of the advantages to dating an English man is having been able to watch the entire last season of Downton Abbey well before it hit the States. No spoilers here though other than to say you will not be disappointed! It’s a graceful end to an elegant show.
Apart from the stunning clothes worn by the women of Downton, I love the kitchen and marvel at Ms. Padmore’s creations so deliciously presented. But real chefs in grand homes had to be resourceful, inventively using leftovers to feed the staff. Although the aristocracy feasted on French Cuisine, the servants made due with residuals. I imagine this led to charmingly named innovations such as Cottage (Shepherd’s) Pie, made with mashed potatoes layered atop scraps of meat; “fridge soup” aka: the daily soup, made with bits and pieces of vegetables and meats (still a feature of every pub across Britain), and lets not forget, Bubble and Squeak.
Made with leftovers from Sunday roast, the most popular feature on a Sunday pub menu, Bubble and Squeak makes a hearty breakfast option especially before a long hike or a physically demanding day. You’ll walk away stuffed by this British version of hash, that’s way more nourishing than the greasy American variety. The first time I heard the phrase was when Ms. Hughes tried to feed it to Mr. Carson with roast duck, offending the butler’s fine sensibilities. But this peasant food would go well with any protein, particularly with poached or sunny side up eggs.
I’m big on making the most of my meals, regularly finding ways to recreate leftovers, so Bubble and Squeak appeals to my sense of closure. I’ve frozen cooked rice to add to future soups, and have saved broccoli and asparagus stalks for green juices. The crown jewel of my frugality though, is my weekly vegetable stock made with ends, pieces and skins of vegetables. With it I make the most fragrant soups. Not only am I saving money, I am using only fresh real ingredients to make something that when bought in a store is filled with preservatives, sodium and artificial flavors.
After Boxing Day, Fozzy and I had loads of roasted vegetables leftover, so naturally, we made Bubble and Squeak. Coincidentally, New Years Eve we had tapas at a restaurant in London and one of the offerings was a Spanish version of this versatile dish. Below is a recipe for both.
I hope you are all off to a wonderful, happy, healthy and exciting New Year!
Bubble and Squeak
- Ideally, you’ll need to use the stove top and a grill or oven. If that’s not available, then you could make it solely on the stovetop.
- Use cooked leftover vegetables such as potatoes, carrots, leeks, cabbage… whatever is at hand (potatoes are necessary though).
- Mash with a potato masher to a chunky consistency (not as smooth as mashed potatoes), blending vegetables into a hash.
- In a skillet, heat olive oil and add mash, spreading it out evenly along the skillet. Cook for 5 minutes or so on medium heat until bottom of vegetables start to brown.
- Now move the skillet to the oven in order to brown the top of the hash. If this is unavailable to you, then you could just turn the hash in the skillet using a spatula. You’ll have to do this in parts as it will fall apart if you try to do it in one go.
- To add the eggs, you have two options. If the oven is available to you, then crack the eggs atop the hash and place in oven until the eggs are cooked sunny side up.
- If the oven option is unavailable, then cook the eggs in a separate skillet and then place atop the bubble and squeak.
- Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. Enjoy!
Bubble and Squeak ala Espanola!
(Spanish Roasted Vegetable with Poached Egg)
Like the traditional version, I used what I had handy in the fridge. Apart from making sure you use potatoes, anything goes so get creative! I happened to have leek, mushrooms and carrots, but could just as easily used chopped cherry tomatoes, diced green pepper and zucchini for an Italian flair. Have fun and experiment. It’s hard to go wrong.
- ¾ cup chopped leeks
- 5 to 6 sliced mushrooms, stems removed
- ¾ cup diced carrots
- 2 cups diced potatoes ( make sure you cut them in uniform-sized dice so they roast at same rate)
- 2 to 4 eggs
- Olive oil for roasting vegetables
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat the oven to 350’
- Toss vegetables with some olive oil (enough to cover vegetables lightly) and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place in a pyrex or other baking dish and roast for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until potatoes are cooked through and preferably slightly browned (cooking times may vary oven to oven so use a fork to test potatoes for doneness).
- When vegetables are almost done, poach or fry 2 eggs. I poached them using “Poachies” that I purchased in the UK, but if that’s not available and you’re unsure how to poach an egg, then either fry them over-easy or soft boil them.
- When the vegetables are done roasting, plate them evenly amongst two plates. Top with one to two eggs per dish and serve.