Traditional Scottish stovies are comfort food at its finest, and super simple to make.
So this could be a highly contentious post. I once read that if you asked one hundred Scots folk how to make stovies, you’d get one hundred different recipes. This is so very true. Stovies are a dish that probably every Scottish person recognises. It’s a national dish, but one that gets less international attention than the likes of haggis or battered mars bars. You get stovies served at parties; at weddings; basically any Scottish social gathering. They’re that awesome.
I always think of stovies as the perfect comfort food. It’s a potato based dish, to which you can add pretty much any type of meat, although mince or corned beef are most popular. My recipe is not traditional. But it uses what I tend to have to hand in the cupboard, and is pretty bloody tasty (if I do say so myself). The kids lap it up and it always results in empty plates. So it’s a staple meal in the HC house. Just please don’t lynch me because its not ‘how mummy used to make it’ (it’s not even how my mum makes stovies, it’s just how I’ve come to make them).
Ingredients (Serves 4 adults)
about 10 medium potatoes, peeled and sliced
1 onion, finely chopped
2 tbsp oil
1 beef stock cube / stock pot
1 beef oxo cube
1 tin of corned beef, cubed
salt & pepper
• For the potato quantity, gauge how many you’re cooking for. I tend to use a medium potato each for the kids, then a couple for every adult, plus an extra couple to be safe. If there’s leftovers (not including what I eat whilst I’m dishing out) then that’s a billy-bonus.
• If I’m just cooking for the kids I’ll only need half an onion and half a tin of corned beef.
• You can freeze corned beef.
1. Heat your oil in a large pan then add the onion, and cook it really well so that it gets nicely browned. It’s important you add lots of flavour to your onion so don’t be afraid to overcook it.
2. Add the sliced potato, the stock cube, the oxo cube and about 300ml of water. Give a good stir.
Traditional stovies are made using beef dripping. This isn’t something I normally have to hand, so I’ve had to add the meaty taste from elsewhere. I find Knorr Beef Stock Pots really good for this (either the normal beef one or the rich beef – both are good), but a regular beef stock cube would also work. The oxo cube adds colour and extra flavour – I add beef oxo cubes to pretty much everything meaty, it’s kind of my secret ingredient (just not that secret). I love them and think they add a lovely rich flavour to any kind of meat dish (bolognese; stew; I even add them to chicken gravy!). They always feature in my cupboard supplies.
3. Put the lid of the pan on and let it simmer. Every so often give it a good stir. The potatoes will start to stick to the bottom, so with every stir, scrape the bottom of the pan. This is good, it all adds flavour. As you stir, the potatoes will begin to break up which is what you want.
4. Once the potatoes have softened and absorbed most of the stock, add your meat. Give it a good stir so everything is combined and check your seasoning. The corned beef can be quite salty, so it’s best to check the seasoning once it’s been added. Season as required.
This is not a pretty dish. Indeed, I’m sure some out there could be quite inventive in describing just what it looks like. But it’s tasty. It truly is. And its simple. If you like potatoes and corned beef, do give this a go. And let me know how you get on – I love hearing when folk have made anything from the blog! 😀
Oh and serve it with a good splodge of ketchup.
If you fancy trying your hand at another traditional Scottish dish, try my Buttery Scottish Tablet – it’s truly amazing and the best Scottish tablet recipe you will ever find. I can tell you this completely unbiasedly, because it’s my Mum’s recipe 😉
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