Recipe: Bubble and Squeak

Recipe: Bubble and Squeak

(Image credit: Michelle Peters-Jones)

Bubble and squeak, with its cutesy name, is a classic British day-after-holiday dish. It is incredibly versatile, as you can throw in any leftover vegetables or mashed potatoes into this comforting recipe — perfect for a relaxing meal after a hectic Thanksgiving.

(Image credit: Michelle Peters-Jones)

The origins of this dish are unknown, but it is firmly established in British culinary traditions. Usually made to use up leftovers after a Sunday roast dinner, or a major holiday like Christmas, bubble and squeak is quintessentially British and makes for a hearty breakfast, lunch, or even a quick weeknight meal.

The unusual name probably stems from the bubbly and squeaky noises that the dish makes while being cooked. This dish tastes wonderful just by itself, but I have also served it with fried eggs, sausages, and homemade English-style baked beans, for the perfect after-holiday meal.

One of the reasons this dish is so popular is because of its versatility. All the countries in the UK have a version of this classic. In Ireland, colcannon is a similar dish with cabbage, kale, and potatoes, while in Scotland, it is the delightfully named "rumbledethumps," which also includes cheese. You can also add bacon to give the dish an extra hearty flavor, or replace half the potato mash with sweet potato or yam mash for an unusual, sweet-and-savory dish.

(Image credit: Michelle Peters-Jones)

Bubble and Squeak

Serves 4 to 6

1 tablespoon butter
1 to 2 tablespoons canola oil

1/2 medium onion, finely diced
1/2 cup shredded, cooked brussels sprouts
1/2 cup shredded, cooked cabbage (optional)
1/2 cup grated carrots (can be cooked or raw)
2 cups leftover mashed potatoes
Salt and pepper to taste
Fried eggs, to serve (optional)

Gently heat the butter and oil in a wide, shallow skillet over medium heat, and add the onion. Cook for five minutes, until the onion is softened.

Turn up the heat to medium-high and add the shredded brussels sprouts, cabbage (if using), and carrots. Season with a little salt and pepper. Cook for five minutes, until the vegetables start to color.

Add the mashed potatoes to the skillet and stir briskly, until the vegetables and potatoes are well combined. Season again, to taste.

Press down on the skillet and fry for five to seven minutes, until the bottom is lightly browned and crisp. Drizzle a little oil around the edges if the mixture looks like it's drying out. The potato mixture should start making squeaking sounds at this point.

Using the lid of the skillet, invert the bubble and squeak into the lid, then slide back into the skillet to cook the other side. Cook for an additional five to seven minutes. Serve cut into wedges and topped with fried eggs, if desired.

Recipe Notes

  • You can use almost any leftover vegetables to make bubble and squeak. Parsnips, peas, sweet potato mash, swedes, and turnips all make excellent substitutes.
  • You can also add bacon to this dish. Cook the bacon in the skillet first, then remove from the skillet, drain, and chop. Add a tablespoon of butter to the bacon fat in the skillet and continue as described, stirring in the chopped bacon with the potatoes.
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