Archive 2008 - 2019

Day 187

by Sarah R. Commerford

Shout-out to our family friend, Kevin, who inspired me to make Bubble and Squeak to represent the UK. Kevin recently traveled to England and regularly saw this dish on restaurant menus. As we got talking about his recommendations of what meal would best capture the culture of this beautiful country, he produced his phone with lightening speed, did a few seconds of research for me, and instantly sealed the deal - Bubble and Squeak it would be. I mean, the name alone is reason enough, right?! And just so you know that I only use the most reliable sources, Kevin is a pre-med student at Harvard, so who am I to question his advice? Way to be, Dr-to-be.

The United Kingdom is a sovereign state on the North Western coast of the continent of Europe. The UK is comprised of England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales and is surrounded by the Atlantic, North Sea, the English Channel and the Irish Sea. The earliest record of human inhabitants dates back 30,000 years ago. In 1707 the kingdoms of England and Scotland were created and by the 18th century, the parliamentary system was developed. One of the most significant events that helped grow the British Empire was the Industrial Revolution. The textile industry along with shipbuilding, coal mining and steel making positioned the UK as a major international trade force, as it continues today. Finally, by 1801, the Parliament of Great Britain and Ireland united to create the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. Of course the country has much richer, more complex history which cannot be captured in this little blog.

Owing to its temperate climate and ample rainfall, cool weather vegetables such as potatoes, peas, cabbage, carrots, parsnips, turnips and brussel sprouts (to name but a few) are most commonly grown. Dairy products like eggs, cheese, butter and cream are plentiful as well. Traditionally British food is based on beef, lamb, pork, chicken and fish.. The most common and typical foods eaten in Britain include the sandwich, fish and chips, pies like the cornish pasty, trifle and roasts dinners...and let's not forget tea and beer, both of which are hallmarks of the UK's cuisine and culture.

Bubble and Squeak is a traditional British fried dish of left-over vegetables. The name comes from the popping and squeaking sound the densely packed vegetables make as they cook under pressure. Traditionally it was eaten on a Monday for lunch or dinner with a fried egg, bacon, or meat leftovers. From what I can tell, there isn't a specific recipe for Bubble and Squeak, since other than the mandatory base of mashed potatoes that binds all the vegetables, any leftover vegetables from the night before can be used. Most of the recipes I found included cabbage, but other than that, any combination of carrots, parsnips, turnips, brussel sprouts, broccoli and peas be used. Interestingly, in Ireland, the same meal is called colcannon, but uses kale and onions, and in Scotland, it's called rumbledethum. Lastly, according to traditional recipes, animal fat, like lard, should be used to achieve a perfect golden brown exterior. I couldn't bring myself to use lard,...but, I most certainly could use bacon as a mighty and righteous substitute.

Last night's leftovers - Roasted carrots, turnips, parsnips and boiled cabbage

Left over vegetables, mashed potatoes and frozen peas (added frozen, not pre-cooked)

Mmmmmm....bacon - nothing more need be said

Chop vegetables

Fry bacon - reserve grease for cooking patties

Combine vegetables with mashed potatoes, shape into patties and fry in bacon fat and onions


Served up for breakfast with a fried egg.  Bubble and Squeak rules...


Bubble and Squeak (adapted from about 20 different recipes)

4 tbsp. bacon fat
½ cup onion, finely chopped
Leftover mashed potato
Any leftover vegetables, cabbage, carrots, peas, Brussels sprouts, parsnips, turnips, etc...finely chopped
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Fried bacon pieces (optional)

In a large frying pan, fry bacon. When bacon is crisp, remove and reserve.
To the bacon fat in the pan, add the chopped onion and fry gently for three minutes or until soft.
Combine mashed potatoes and vegetables, form into patties (about the size of a hamburger).
Turn the heat up slightly and add the mashed potato-and-vegetable patties. Fry for 5-7 minutes turning over in the bacon fat, two or three times ensuring the potato and vegetables are thoroughly reheated.
Press the potato mixture patties onto the base of the pan with a spatula and leave to cook for one minute. Flip over and repeat.
Serve with a fried egg.