Bubble and Squeak
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It’s not often that we name our food by the sound it makes. We don’t have crunch and sizzle for breakfast, slosh and splash for lunch (that’s bacon, eggs, and soup, respectively). But “Bubble and Squeak” is illustrative, straight to the point: named for the sounds as it cooks. It feels like the work of Roald Dahl, or Shel Silverstein, whimsical and charming. Why isn’t more food more fun?
I make this on a Sunday: a day prime for an open-armed scoop of the fridge; an ‘everything must go.’ When the back corners and meat tray and crisper volunteer their contents to make way for the week. This dish is for that—anchored by method, not ingredients. A potato backdrop is all you need, everything else is negotiable. I use brussel sprouts, sweet onion, green onion, bacon. For a household where bacon is rarely seen, even this is novel. What results is a confetti of miscellany, a meal from everything. Ours is salty, a little sweet, a little smooth with some crunch.
In the morning we eat the rest for breakfast with a poorly-fried egg on top. Still good. The leftover leftovers are like a sourdough starter, having outlived two meals to see a third. I add more bacon and crack some pepper. My little dog circles my feet, curious. The pan bubbles and squeaks, the coffee maker whistles. I listen for more sounds.
The following is the recipe I used, as found here.
6 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup onion, finely chopped
leftover mashed potato
any leftover vegetables, cabbage, carrots, peas, brussels sprouts, finely chopped
salt and freshly ground black pepper
fried bacon pieces (optional)
In a large frying pan melt the butter, make sure it doesn't brown. Add the finely chopped onion and fry gently for about 3 mins or until soft and translucent.
Turn the heat up ever so slightly and add the mashed potato and all of the chopped up leftover vegetables. Fry for at last 10 minutes turning them over continuously in the melted butter ensuring the potato and vegetables are thoroughly reheated. Plus you are also aiming to brown the outside edges of the vegetables but not to burning the bubble and squeak, so occasionally press the mixture onto the pan to brown a little then continue stirring.
Finally, when the mixture is heated right through, do one long final press. Press the potato mixture on to the base of the pan with a spatula and leave to cook for 1 min. Flip over and repeat.
Serve as is, or with either a fried or poached egg on top, the bacon pieces, or any leftover roast reheated thoroughly.
An alternative is to mix the potato and vegetables and form into small patties then fry as above.