Are you looking for something hearty and delicious for Boxing Day brunch? Then it’s got to be Bubble and Squeak! This simple, traditional British dish is a great way to use those tasty leftovers from a big Christmas meal. So, grab your mashed potatoes and cooked veggies from the fridge, and let’s get them bubblin’ and squeakin’.
- What is Bubble & Squeak?
- Ingredients You’ll Need
- How To Make Bubble and Squeak ~ Step-By-Step
- Why You’ll Love Bubble and Squeak
- Bubble and Squeak vs. Colcannon
- Tips For Making The Perfect Bubble and Squeak
- More Breakfast and Brunch Recipes
- How To Make Bubble and Squeak ~ Full Recipe
- Bubble and Squeak ~ FAQs
- Pin This Recipe For Later!
What is Bubble & Squeak?
Bubble and squeak is a classic British dish of leftovers from a traditional Sunday roast dinner. It’s typically made from mashed potatoes, cabbage, and other leftover vegetables in your fridge. The ingredients are all fried together in a pan until the mixture “bubbles and squeaks.” Although, I’ve never heard any squeaking.
In the 18th Century, a classic bubble and squeak usually included leftover roast meat from a roast dinner, most likely roast beef. However, when Good Housekeeping published Home Encyclopedia in 1951, it stated that the modern version no longer contained meat. It’s reported that this is likely due to rationing in the UK during the second world war.
What Does Bubble and Squeak Mean?
The unusual name originates from the sound the potato and vegetable mixture makes when frying in the pan.
When Do You Eat Bubble and Squeak?
The next day after a roast dinner!
If I’m hosting Christmas dinner and have guests staying with me, you can bet your bottom dollar they will be served my version of bubble and squeak for Boxing Day brunch. It’s always a winner, and there’s never any left.
That said, bubble and squeak is not just for Christmas. Traditionally it’s a hearty breakfast recipe served with a fried egg on top. It’s also a classic Monday meal, following a Sunday roast, served alongside leftover roast meat and drenched gravy. Aaaand… you might also see it appearing alongside the main meal as it’s a popular side dish.
What Does Bubble and Squeak Go With?
Bubble and squeak is usually served as an accompaniment to fried eggs with a dollop of ketchup or brown sauce. However, if you want to make it more substantial, it is excellent served alongside protein and extra veggies.
Ingredients You’ll Need
- Leftover Mashed Potatoes: Mash potatoes are quite literally the glue that holds this dish together. You could use leftover roast potatoes if you have any. That’s not usually the case in my house, but they will work great. Just give them a mash with a fork or potato masher, as it’s the fluffy insides we need to release to hold all the other ingredients together.
- Leftover Vegetables: Ok, so this is where I’m slightly different. Instead of savoy cabbage, I typically use Brussels sprouts and red cabbage (purple cabbage) in my boxing day bubble and squeak. Trust me, it’s insanely good, and it’s beautifully colorful! But you do you – use your favorite type of cabbage.
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil: My favorite go-to oil. It contains healthy fats and has exceptional anti-inflammatory properties, especially compared to vegetable and seed oils.
- Bacon: Streaky smoked bacon rashers provide flavor, so you get a hit of sweet, smokey, salty, luscious crispy bacon in every bite.
- Optional Flavor Boosts: I’m using a red onion because, well, onion + potato = a match made in heaven. There’s also a garlic clove for seasoning, which lifts the dish to next-level deliciousness.
- Eggs: You can’t beat bubble and squeak topped with a fried egg. Yum!
How To Make Bubble and Squeak ~ Step-By-Step
- Sauté Onions
In a medium skillet, sauté the onions until softened and translucent.
- Fry Bacon
Fry the bacon until crispy.
- Add Garlic
Add the garlic and cook until fragrant.
- Add Veggies
Add the mashed potatoes and vegetables, and mix the ingredients together to combine.
- Add Vegetables
Press all the ingredients down to compact the cabbage and potato mixture against the bottom of the pan. Leave it alone for 5-6 minutes until it is crispy on the underside, then mix everything up again. This will ensure you have crispy bits throughout the middle. Once again, apply pressure to compact the potato mixture.
Transfer to the oven (or first pour it into an oven-proof dish), and bake until piping hot all the way through and the top is beautifully crisp.
To serve, fry up eggs, place them on top, and tuck in!
Full recipe and ingredients list in the recipe card below.
Why You’ll Love Bubble and Squeak
- Never Get Bored: The beauty of bubble and squeak lies in its versatility—you can easily customize it to your liking by adding other vegetables or proteins.
- Easy to Make: This recipe is super simple and only requires a few ingredients, so it’s perfect for a weeknight meal.
- It’s Budget-Friendly: This dish is very affordable, as it uses inexpensive ingredients like potatoes and cabbage that you already have from dinner the night before.
- It’s Nutrient-Dense: This recipe is high in nutrients. Potatoes, Brussels sprouts, and cabbage are all excellent sources of fiber, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.
- Prevents Waste: Because you’re using up your leftovers, the food ends up in your tum rather than your bin.
- It tastes great! Last but not least, this recipe simply tastes great. The combination of the crispy potatoes and the flavorful cabbage is simply irresistible. I’m sure you’ll love it as much as I do!
Bubble and Squeak vs. Colcannon
Bubble and squeak and colcannon are both traditional dishes with roots in British cuisine. Both are beloved as comfort food and make a cozy addition to any meal, but there are a few key differences.
Bubble and squeak originates from England. The main ingredients include mashed potatoes and cabbage, fried to crispy perfection.
Colcannon, on the other hand, is an Irish dish. Like Bubble and Squeak, it contains mashed potatoes and cabbage. However, the cabbage is usually kale. It often calls for leeks, onions, and other herbs. Unlike Bubble and squeak, colcannon is not fried, and as a result, it has a much smoother and creamier consistency.
Potatoes and cabbage are an essential base to a delicious bubble and squeak, but apart from that, go crazy. This statement won’t go down well with purists, but I don’t believe there’s any right or wrong way to make it. Use whatever leftovers you have, whatever vegetables are in season, and substitute ingredients with others based on your preferences. Here are some examples of what I’m talking about.
- Cabbage: I’m using red cabbage and Brussels sprouts in this recipe, but I have also used green cabbage, savoy cabbage, white cabbage, kale, and Sweetheart cabbage. They’re all great alternatives.
- Onions: I love to include fried red onions because they add a ton of flavor. But you can easily use a brown onion, shallots, scallions (spring onions, green onions), leeks, or chives to get some onion flavor into the dish. You could even add a teaspoon of onion powder in a pinch.
- Herbs: Adding fresh herbs can add a fresh flavor to the dish. Some chopped fresh parsley, a little thyme, and even rosemary are all beautiful.
- Patties: Traditional bubble and squeak is shaped like a large potato pancake; for want of a better description. But you can also mold the potato mixture into smaller patties before frying. These variations are often called bubble and squeak cakes or bubble and squeak patties.
Tips For Making The Perfect Bubble and Squeak
1Lumpy Mash is Best
The texture of bubble and squeak largely depends on how the mashed potatoes have been prepared. As I want texture, I must prepare my mash with that in mind. So, I use a potato masher and only add a little cream, butter, or milk. If you use a potato ricer or whisk, your bubble and squeak will be more creamy and may fall apart rather than stick together.
2Why Does My Bubble and Squeak Fall Apart?
Firstly, mashed potato is really important in holding bubble and squeak together. Follow the recipe for the right potato-to-vegetable ratio, and you should be fine. Secondly, press the potato and cabbage mixture well into the oven-proof pan or dish before it goes into the oven so that it sticks together well. Thirdly, don’t over-mix. It will form a crispy crust and hold together when sliced.
3Season With Caution
I have included salt and pepper in the recipe instructions because you may need to include it. It really depends on how well your leftovers were seasoned, to begin with. If you already have well-seasoned ingredients, you likely won’t need to add any more. For the best results, taste as you go!
More Breakfast and Brunch Recipes
If you like the look of this recipe, check out more of my breakfast and brunch recipes.
How To Make Bubble and Squeak ~ Full RecipePrint
Bubble and Squeak ~ FAQs
Bubble and squeak can be healthy as part of a balanced diet. The recipe contains mostly vegetables that are excellent sources of fiber, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. It also uses extra virgin olive oil, a heart-healthy fat with anti-inflammatory properties.
No! This recipe contains bacon and eggs. To make this recipe vegan, simply omit the bacon and eggs and ensure your leftover cabbage or other vegetables are vegan-friendly.
No! This recipe contains bacon. To make this recipe vegetarian, simply omit the bacon and ensure your leftover cabbage or other vegetables are vegetarian-friendly.
Yes! There is no wheat in this recipe. But always check your ingredients.
Yes! This bubble and squeak starts on the hob and ends up in the oven until it’s cooked through, with an insanely crispy topping.
I don’t use eggs as an ingredient in the bubble and squeak recipe. Instead, I fry them and serve them on top. Eggs are entirely optional.
It Depends! I wouldn’t reheat a bubble and squeak if you add leftover meat that has already been cooked twice, i.e., first on the day of a roast dinner, then again in the bubble and squeak. If your bubble and squeak is meat-free or contains freshly cooked meat, reheat it in a frying pan to keep it crispy.
Yes, but I wouldn’t recommend it. The mashed potato goes smooshy, and the texture is not great after freezing, thawing, and reheating.
3 days! Once cool, transfer any leftovers into an airtight container and store them in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
Thinking of making this recipe? I’d love to know how it turns out. Get in touch via the comments section, and let me know!
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