Stovies

I am rather particular when it comes to stovies.  Sometimes when we’re out for a walk on a chilly day, we’ll stop in at a pub for some lunch.  If there are stovies on the menu (a hearty Scots dish of potatoes slowly cooked with dripping and onion), I’m always tempted to order them.  They are perfect cold weather fodder.  Problem is some folk have funny ideas about what makes stovies and, more often than not, I’m disappointed by what I’m served.

Now, these “folk” with their “funny ideas” do, admittedly, tend to simply be from areas of Scotland other than Aberdeen.  Usually, I’m all for regional variations, variety being the spice of life and whatnot.  But, really, who puts sausages in stovies??

Stovies should be moist but not runny.  The potatoes should be sliced thickly and disintegrating, not chunky or mashed.  And the meat, the meat should be shredded beef or lamb; it should not be chicken or corned beef or – splutter – sausages.  Finally, stovies should be served with oatcakes and beetroot.

Do stovies this way and you’re doing them right.  🙂

Stovies (to be made the day after a roast dinner)

(serves 4)

2 tblspn dripping or butter

3 onions, sliced thickly

800g floury potatoes, peeled and sliced 1cm thick

100-200g leftover meat, shredded (lamb or beef)

2 tblspn meat jelly

1/2 cup of lamb or beef stock 

Salt and pepper

  • In a heavy based pan, fry the onions in the fat until soft and just starting to turn golden.  Remove pan from heat and pour onion and fat into a bowl.
  • Build layers of potatoes, onion/fat and meat, adding a little sprinkle of salt and pepper each time.  Once all the potato etc has been layered add the stock and meat jelly and place back on the heat.
  • Heat until the liquid starts to boil then reduce heat to low, place lid on the pan and cook gently for an hour.  Check occasionally to make sure they haven’t dried out and add a splash more stock if they look like they might.
  • Serve with oatcakes and fresh or pickled beetroot.

Broth

So, I’m calling this “broth” partly because I love the sound of the word, and partly because that’s what this soup (or variations of it) is called where I grew up in Aberdeenshire.  My family (originally from the Glasgow area) call this “homemade soup”.  One could make, lets say, carrot and coriander soup from scratch at home and that would be homemade soup  but it wouldn’t be “homemade soup”.  You know?

Anyway, this is the soup I panicked about not being able to replicate after my mum died and I wanted to get the recipe down here fairly swiftly.  What I should say, though, is that this soup has been made for generations in our family and it’s generally agreed (with the exception of when Nana got confused between the nasturtium seeds and the split peas) that the previous generations’ “homemade soup” is always better than the following generations’ “homemade soup”.

Inferior to previous soups, perhaps, but still damn good.  🙂

Broth (makes BIG pot – freezes well)

2.5l really well flavoured chicken stock

2  cups broth mix (Available in Scottish supermarkets.  Not sure about elsewhere in the UK… It’s a mixture of  barley, split green and yellow peas, red lentils and marrowfat peas.  Barley is the most important ingredient so 1.5 cups of barley would be fine as a substitute for broth mix. )

2 large potatoes, chopped into 2cm pieces

1 cup turnip, chopped into 1 cm pieces

1 cup carrots, chopped into 0.5cm pieces

1 cup grated carrots

1 cup shredded chicken

1/2 cup chopped leek

Salt and pepper

  • Add the stock, potatoes, chopped carrots, turnips and broth mix to a large pot.  Bring to the boil, reduce heat and simmer for 1.5 hours until barley is soft.
  • Add the grated carrot, leek and chicken.  Season to taste.  Simmer for another 30 mins.
  • Done.  🙂

(broth mix)