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Bubble and Squeak

Alas! I must leave undescribed the gibier,
The salmi, the consommé, the purée,
All which I use to make my rhymes run glibber
Than could roast beef in our rough John Bull way:
I must not introduce even a spare rib here,
“Bubble and squeak” would spoil my liquid lay:
But I have dined, and must forego, Alas!
The chaste description even of a “bécasse;”
Lord Byron, Don Juan, Canto XV

Bubble and squeak is a traditional English dish made with the shallow-fried leftover vegetables from a roast dinner. The main ingredients are potato and cabbage, but carrots, peas, brussels sprouts, and other vegetables can be added. The cold chopped vegetables (and cold chopped meat if used) are fried in a pan together with mashed potatoes or crushed roast potatoes until the mixture is well-cooked and brown on the sides. It is often served with cold meat from the Sunday roast, and pickles.

The meat was traditionally added to the bubble and squeak itself, although nowadays it is more commonly made without meat. The name comes from the bubble and squeak sounds made as it cooks. The earliest printed recipe can be found in  Mrs. Maria Eliza Ketelby Rundell’s 1806  edition of,  A New System of Domestic Cookery: Founded up Principles of Economy; and Adapted to the Use of Private Families.

 A New System of Domestic Cookery was the most popular English cookbook of the first half of the nineteenth century; it is often referred to simply as “Mrs. Rundell”. The first edition  was a short collection of recipes published by John Murray. It went through dozens of editions, both legitimate and pirated, in both Britain and the United States, where the first edition was published in 1807. The frontispiece typically credited the authorship to “A Lady”. Later editions included many contributions by Emma Roberts.

Bubble-and-Squeak
Cut slices from a cold round of beef; let them be fried quickly until brown, and put them into a dish to keep hot. Clean the pan from the fat; put into it greens and carrots previously boiled and chopped small; add a little butter, pepper, and salt; make them very hot, and put them round the beef with a little gravy. Cold pork boiled is a better material for bubble-and-squeak than beef, which is always hard; in either case the slices should be very thin and lightly fried.
A New System of Domestic Cookery: Founded up Principles of Economy; and Adapted to the Use of Private Families

by Maria Eliza Ketelby Rundell

The major ingredients of “Bubble and Squeak” are potatoes and cabbage, though it can include other veggies (consider Brussels sprouts, peas, carrots. ) Chopped meat is also often added, although the original recipe suggests serving it with “raredone beef, lightly fried.”

Mainly prepared using previously cooked “left over” ingredients, it is a quick snack and often prepared for breakfast.  It is such a quintessential British recipe– as much a comfort food as Macaroni and Cheese is to Americans, that it was served (in elegant, royal form) as an appetizer Prince William and Catherine Middleton’s wedding reception last April!

The modern version begins with left-over, boiled vegetables and mashed potatoes (Food Network Chef, Jamie Oliver,  suggests that the recipe should be a bit more than half potatoes.) Chopped meat, such as sausage, bacon or the end of a roast can be added.

  1. Heat some butter or oil in a pan.
  2. Mash your potatoes and vegetables together and mix in the meat.
  3. Create a thick “vegetable pancake” and fry it in the oil.
  4. Flip the mixture so that both sides are crispy and lightly browned.

Serve hot or cold!

 


 

Historical information from Wikipedia.com. Recipe suggestions from Bubble and squeak: A British breakfast favorite.