Bubble and squeak is a traditional English recipe 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 are often added. The dish got its name from the bubbling and squeaking sounds during the cooking process. Cold chopped vegetables mixed with meat and mashed potatoes are all fried together in a pan and it is often made with leftover meat and veggies, served alongside and pickles or brown sauce, another infamous British condiment. This is one of those meals that take me back to the smells and tastes of childhood.
For many, rain is depressing, lonesome and brings down the mood - but when I think of Bubble and Sqeak, my memories are cast back to a happy childhood, and the comfort food we would enjoy when the rain came down. You see, the heavens would open in all seasons when I was growing up, and rather than rain stopping play, we’d take our fun indoors and continue to enjoy the day. Sometimes guests stayed longer to wait out the weather, other times our visits were extended so not to walk back in the rain. It’s all about perspective - as is this dish.
Leftover mashed potato, yesterdays meat, might sound odd to you - especially if you’re not one to re-heat or re-purpose your food - then again, to me, chicken and waffles sounds like a corrupt take on dessert.
The British aren’t always thought of fondly for their food, but their comradery and “chin-up” mindset can make the rainiest days with leftovers into a childhood memory that never fades!
I was inspired for this recipe by Jamie Oliver. Jamie Oliver first raised his head in 1997 with the bit BBC series, The Naked Chef. Instantly, he grabbed the heart of British TV watchers with his open kitchen and chatty nature. Over in the US, his colloquialisms made him an instant celebrity and his crusade against processed food and obesity is a cause that I support wholeheartedly. Things are done a little differently in England, especially when it comes to the culinary art of “dinner” and Jamie has a handle of this art, taking the mundane and elevating it, without complexity, so it’s fit for the Queen.
Don't miss this recipe for another British classic, Yorkshire Pudding.