Introduction and Background
I found this recipe many years ago in a Gary Rhodes cookbook. The recipe as I used it, with Gary’s introduction, is in found via the documents tab.
Bubble and squeak is reputed to have got its name because it echoes the sound the ingredients make when frying. Usually thought of as a nineteenth-century dish of potato and cabbage leftovers, the dish was originally made with beef and cabbage, without potato. Similar dishes are called Rumbledethumps, stovies and clapshot in Scotland and Panackelty, from North East England. Wikipedia provides more background and history on Bubble and Squeak.
In the recipe that follows, Gary has taken the potatoes and mixed them with onions and Brussels sprouts as an alternative to cabbage. The main vegetables in my version where grown in the garden during 2014, and in the case of brussels sprouts were harvested around an hour or so prior to being cooked. In my version has been blitzed to a smoothish finish. You can if you so wish leave it in its rustic, brothy consistency, or pass it through a sieve to give a really smooth consistency. The flavours and texture can he enhanced by a last-minute addition of slivers of bacon cooked to a crisp.
For enough for four to six people, the ingredients I used are:
- 50g unsalted Butter
- 2 large onions, roughly diced
- 2 large potatoes, peeled and cut in rough 1cm (½ in) dice
- 0.5 litre Chicken Stock (Knorr Stock Pot)
- 0.5 litre Vegetable Stock (Knorr Stock Pot)
- 250 g (9 oz) Brussels sprouts, finely shredded and rinsed
- 125 ml (4 fl oz) single cream
- 8 rashers of streaky bacon, rinded and cut into thin strips
- Salt, pepper and freshly grated nutmeg
Although the cooking takes around 45 minutes, I estimate it took me around 60 minutes to chop and prepared the vegetables, including harvesting the brussels sprouts.
In a 3.5 litre casserole, melt the butter.
Once bubbling (and a bit of colour)…
add the onions and potatoes.
Cook without colouring for 5—10 minutes, until beginning to soften. The stock can now he added.
Bring to the simmer and cook for 20—25 minutes, until the vegetables are totally cooked. Season the soup with salt, pepper and nutmeg. I think this benefits from a generous amount of nutmeg and grind a whole nutmeg. I am not a great salt fancier, so I do not add any salt. Bring to the boil and add the shredded sprouts.
Allow the soup to simmer vigorously for 6—8 minutes, until the sprouts become tender.
The soup can now be liquidized and then pushed through a sieve for a smooth, creamy finish. I prefer it slightly rougher, so I do not pass it through a sieve. The single cream is added and the seasoning checked.
Meanwhile the bacon can be cooked and become crunchy. The method I use is to lay it out on a piece of foil on a baking tray in a medium oven (around 170 degC fan). After around 5 minutes I covered it with foil, mainly to minimise spitting fat in the oven. After around 10 to 15 minutes (or until crispy) take the bacon out of the oven and arrange on a piece of towel, to soak the excess fat. You now have crunchy bacon, which eats very well sprinkled over the bubble and squeak soup.
This recipe made around six servings. Five were put into containers for storage and freezing.
The final portion was served to eat fresh, although the bacon was omitted from this picture.
Note:- For vegetarians, omit the bacon strips and cook the vegetables in vegetable stock. The soup can also be served as a bubble and squeak broth. Simply cut the onions and potatoes into neat 1 cm ( in) dice, and follow the recipe, adding the shredded sprouts. Once all the vegetables are cooked, add 50 g (2 oz) butter in place of the single cream. The bacon can be an optional extra.