Bubble And Squeak (A Classic Leftover Makeover) Recipe

Have you ever heard of bubble and squeak? Considering its rather fantastical name, if you didn't grow up in the U.K. you might well be excused for thinking that this wasn't a food item at all. The Brits certainly have a knack for creativity when it comes to naming their dishes, from rumbledethumps (cheesy mashed potatoes with cabbage) to spotted dick (a dried fruit-based pudding) and toad in the hole (sausages baked in a fluffy batter).

The whimsically titled bubble and squeak is simply a pan-fried mixture of potatoes, cabbage, and any other leftover cooked veg, cooked up until crisp and then usually served for breakfast, brunch, or lunch along with eggs, bacon, and other sides. Apparently named after the noise the ingredients make as they cook, this dish is the perfect way to use up any odds and ends from the fridge to make a hearty and nutritious meal.

This bubble and squeak was created by Tasting Table's resident British recipe developer Jennine Rye. According to Rye, the art to a good bubble and squeak is patience. As the ingredients sit and cook in the pan, they form a delicious golden brown crust, and the longer this is allowed to form, the richer the resulting flavor of the dish. So why not see how long your patience can hold out and try this classic leftover makeover recipe yourself?

Gather the ingredients for bubble and squeak

To begin making bubble and squeak, first you will need to gather the ingredients. Key to this recipe are cooked cabbage (ideally steamed) and cooked potatoes; boiled, roasted, or mashed will all work well. To cook and flavor the bubble and squeak, all you'll need are olive oil, butter (or beef drippings), fresh thyme, salt, and black pepper. Be sure to also grab eggs for poaching, and you may want some bacon to accompany the meal.

Step 1: Turn on the broiler

Heat up the broiler to medium-high.

Step 2: Heat the butter and oil

Add oil and butter to an 8-inch cast iron pan and place over medium heat.

Step 3: Add the potatoes and cabbage

Add potatoes, cabbage, thyme, salt, and pepper.

Step 4: Mash the ingredients in the pan

Use a potato masher to mash the vegetables thoroughly.

Step 5: Let the bubble and squeak cook

Use a wooden spatula to press the mixture into a base around the pan. Let cook for about 5 minutes, until a crust forms on the bottom.

Step 6: Stir and flatten the bubble and squeak

Stir the mixture again to break it up, then flatten it on the pan to continue crisping.

Step 7: Repeat the process

Repeat this stirring and flattening process 4-5 times.

Step 8: Finish the dish in the broiler

Transfer the bubble and squeak to the preheated broiler for 5 minutes to crisp up on top, then set aside.

Step 9: Poach the eggs

Meanwhile, poach the eggs in simmering water for 3 minutes, until the whites are cooked and the yolks are still runny.

Step 10: Serve the bubble and squeak

Top bubble and squeak slices with poached eggs and serve hot with bacon on the side, if using.

Can I make bubble and squeak without leftover vegetables?

Although bubble and squeak is known as a classic leftover makeover dish, it is perfectly possible to cook this recipe from scratch. It may take longer to prep, but this way, you have even more choice about what vegetables and other ingredients to use in the dish.

Bubble and squeak works with as many or few veggies as you want. We recommend sticking with the classic potatoes and cabbage, then supplementing them with a few extras, such as carrots, Brussels sprouts, kale, or parsnips, for added flavor and nutrition. Simply cook each of the veggies until tender, then use them as directed in the original recipe. You may choose to boil or roast some ingredients, such as the root veggies, and steam others, like the kale and cabbage. The important thing is to make sure any vegetables added to the bubble and squeak pan are cooked through and soft enough to be mashed together.

What ingredients besides vegetables can I add to bubble and squeak?

Since bubble and squeak was created as a simple way to combine leftovers, it can easily be adapted to suit your desires and whatever ingredients you have hanging out in the fridge. Originally, the dish contained meat (often beef) as part of its base, so if you want to add a little protein to the recipe, this works really well. Bacon is also a delicious addition and is both flavorful and hardy enough to handle a longer cooking time in the pan.

As well as the many vegetable adaptations you can make in this pan-fried delight, it can easily be made vegan if cooked with a vegan-friendly cooking fat and served without the poached eggs and bacon. To add different flavor variations to this dish, why not sprinkle in different dried or fresh herbs, or some spices to kick things up a notch? Paprika, turmeric, garam masala, and cumin all make lovely spice additions to bubble and squeak, and if you fancy turning up the heat, you could also add some dried chile flakes or chile powder to your veggie mix.

Bubble And Squeak (A Classic Leftover Makeover) Recipe
5 from 22 ratings
Bubble and squeak is a simple British dish of leftover cooked potatoes, cabbage, and any other veg, pan-fried until crispy and enjoyed with eggs and more sides.
Prep Time
0
minutes
Cook Time
30
minutes
Servings
4
servings
bubble and squeak in cast iron pan
Total time: 30 minutes
Ingredients
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons butter (or beef drippings)
  • 1 pound cooked (boiled, roasted, or mashed) potatoes
  • 1 cup cooked (steamed) cabbage
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
  • Salt and black pepper, to taste
  • 8 eggs, for poaching
Optional Ingredients
  • Cooked bacon, for serving
Directions
  1. Heat up the broiler to medium-high.
  2. Add oil and butter to an 8-inch cast iron pan and place over medium heat.
  3. Add potatoes, cabbage, thyme, salt, and pepper.
  4. Use a potato masher to mash the vegetables thoroughly.
  5. Use a wooden spatula to press the mixture into a base around the pan. Let cook for about 5 minutes, until a crust forms on the bottom.
  6. Stir the mixture again to break it up, then flatten it on the pan to continue crisping.
  7. Repeat this stirring and flattening process 4-5 times.
  8. Transfer the bubble and squeak to the preheated broiler for 5 minutes to crisp up on top, then set aside.
  9. Meanwhile, poach the eggs in simmering water for 3 minutes, until the whites are cooked and the yolks are still runny.
  10. Top bubble and squeak slices with poached eggs and serve hot with bacon on the side, if using.
Nutrition
Calories per Serving 312
Total Fat 20.6 g
Saturated Fat 7.4 g
Trans Fat 0.2 g
Cholesterol 335.2 mg
Total Carbohydrates 19.0 g
Dietary Fiber 2.2 g
Total Sugars 1.6 g
Sodium 541.9 mg
Protein 13.1 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
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