Bubble and squeak is a traditional British breakfast made from boiled potatoes and cabbage. In more modern times, it is a dish made with the shallow, fried leftover vegetables from a roast dinner, although increase in vegetarian eating has led to a more traditional reinvention of this classic British dish.
The main ingredients are potato and cabbage, but carrots, peas, Brussels sprouts, and a host of other vegetables may be added. The chopped vegetables are fried in a pan together with mashed potatoes or crushed roast potatoes until the mixture is well-cooked and brown on the sides. As the cabbage cooks, you’ll hear a squeaking sound from the cabbage as it cooks in oil, and bubbles forming on the surface – thus the name.
While the dish itself is vegetarian, it is often served with cold meat from the Sunday roast and pickles or brown sauce or as an accompaniment to a full English breakfast.
Bubble and Squeak
Here’s a good recipe for our vegetarian friends to make. The Brits are famous for naming common dishes after the sounds they make while cooking – “Bubble & Squeak” is a classic example of that (I’ve never been able to get it to “squeak” while cooking, though). I’ve always heard of this dish being made primarily from cabbage and potatoes, but some out there insist that it’s traditionally made from Brussels sprouts and potatoes. I love both cabbage and Brussels sprouts, so I make it with both.
- 1 pound whipped/mashed “smashed” potatoes
- 8 ounces cabbage and/or Brussels sprouts cooked and finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon or so of vegetable oil
- 1 onion finely chopped
Heat enough oil in a large skillet to cover the bottom.
Add the onion and simmer until soft. Add in the potatoes and cabbage/Brussels sprouts.
Mix everything together well, then fry over medium heat for about 15 minutes (turning once in a while).
You should end up with square whipped-potato patties, about 4″ x 4″, fried as crispy as you can get them on the outside with tasty little green and golden-brown bits on the inside.
Serve by itself as a main course or as a side dish (a “bit of bubble” is traditionally served as one of many components of the famous “full English breakfast”).
I also like to add in about a cup of fried bacon bits.