Saturday, January 5, 2013

A New "Old" Recipe: Bubble and Squeak

Searching for ideas yesterday I came up with Bubble and Squeak. You may not be familiar with this uniquely titled meal from Britain. I had no idea what it was. It is a cousin to the Irish Colcannon, which many have heard of, but still doesn't quite cover it.

Bubble and Squeak is usually made from the leftovers of a Sunday roast meat and vegetable dish. Since the British like their "mash" (potatoes) and use quite a lot of the cruciferous vegetables that are so good for us, those are often what are thrown together to make this dish. The name apparently comes from the sounds made when the dish is cooking, i.e. bubbling and squeaking. This easy meal is really a hash of a sort, with left over vegetables thrown together and fried in a pan. Another way it is served is in patties, smashing all the vegetables together and frying the individual Bubble and Squeak patties. Commonly used are potatoes, either mashed, or chunks of cooked potatoes from the roast that are smashed together with an "anything goes" mixture of other vegetables such as cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, peas, carrots, "Swedes" or rutabaga, parsnips or Brussels sprouts. At one time it was common for bits of meats to be mixed in also. Meat is a less common addition these days, though it is often served alongside, like with bacon, ham or sausage.
Bubble & Squeak for dinner

This hash dish can be served as breakfast, brunch, lunch or dinner. It can be a side dish or the main event; terribly versatile all around. It appears that it is making a comeback, as some of the more top chefs are making new versions of Bubble and Squeak, and not necessarily from leftovers. Seeing all this, I decided to try my hand and see what I could come up with. On top of all this versatility, it is also Gluten Free.

Bubble and Squeak Patties for breakfast with eggs
I had potatoes, cabbage, onions and bacon, so that's where I started. I also love parsnips mixed in with the potatoes when I make mashed potatoes. That was how I proceeded; first cooking potatoes and parsnips together. I fried bacon, then once the bacon was removed I added in onions to fry, and then a little garlic. I added in sliced cabbage and cooked it all together. I mashed the potatoes and parsnips with butter and cream cheese (which is my norm), and added in the bacon and other vegetables. 

All I can say is "Oh my, that was good." It was my dinner last night all by itself. The flavors together were just perfect. Once it cooled, I formed the rest into patties and this morning I fried them up along with some eggs and it was just as good the second time around.

I urge you to try either my recipe or make one up yourself. There is no hard and fast rule. Use up leftovers or make a new meal. This is so rewarding and delicious, I believe it will be an addition to your repertoire of recipes soon.

Bubble & Squeak

Bubble and Squeak: last night's dinner
Serves 3 or 4 as a main course / 6 - 8 as a side dish, or: 
Makes about 12 patties

1½ pounds potatoes, peeled, cut in chunks
½ pound parsnips, peeled, sliced
½ pound bacon, preferably thick sliced, cut across in ½-inch bits
½ large onion, in thin half moon slices
1 clove garlic, minced
12 ounces cabbage, cut in thin strips
1 tablespoon plus ½ teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
4 tablespoons cream cheese

Prepare the potatoes and parsnips and place in a pot with water to cover. Add in 1 tablespoon of the salt and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until cooked through.

Meantime, fry the bacon until crisp. Remove the bacon to paper towels to drain, reserving about 3 tablespoons of the the bacon fat in the pan. Add in the onion and cook for 3 to 5 minutes on medium high heat until beginning to brown. Add in the garlic and toss for about 1 minute. Add in the cabbage and toss to coat well. Sprinkle on the half teaspoon of salt. Place a lid on the pan and let cook, reducing heat to medium. Remove lid frequently to toss the cabbage, for a total of about 10 minutes, or until the vegetables are translucent.

Before draining potatoes, scoop out about 1 cup of the cooking liquid and reserve. Mash, smash or rice the potatoes and parsnips, with the butter and the cream cheese. Add in enough of the potato cooking liquid to make the desired consistency. Mix in the cabbage mixture and the reserved bacon and serve.

Allow the mixture to cool, preferably till next day and form patties. These may be dredged in flour, or cornstarch if going Gluten-Free, and fried.

NOTES: This recipe is completely Gluten-Free, if not using cornstarch instead of flour to make the patties. Wonderfully delicious, Bubble and Squeak is often served for breakfast or brunch with eggs. Any other leftover vegetable may also be added.

My passion is to teach people how to create a harmony of flavors with their cooking, and help pass along my love and joy of food, both simple and exotic, plain or fancy. I continue my journey in ethnic and domestic cuisines, trying new things weekly. Join me at A Harmony of Flavors Website, on Tumblr, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. I am also on a spiritual journey and hope you will join me at my new blog, An Eagle Flies.