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Bubble and Squeak

Serves 4

© by Brian Yarvin

Are there bubbles and does it squeak? Yes; the name comes from the sound and appearance of these ingredients as they hit a hot skillet. It’s a great dish to make if you have a fridge full of typical British leftovers like cabbage, mashed potatoes, and boiled (or corned) beef. If you don’t have enough leftovers on hand, a pot of boiling water and a few extra minutes will set you straight.


  • Water 4 quarts, to cook the cabbage and potatoes
  • Salt 1⁄2 tsp, or to your taste, plus 1 Tbs if cooking cabbage and potatoes
  • Chopped Potatoes cooked or fresh, 2 cups
  • Chopped Cabbage cooked or fresh, 2 cups
  • Unsalted Butter 1 Tbs
  • Boiled or Corned Beef cooked, chopped, 2 cups
  • Freshly Ground Black Pepper 1⁄2 tsp

Cook It

  1. If your potatoes and cabbage are not already cooked, bring the water and 1 Tbs of the salt to a boil over high heat. Add the potatoes, reduce the heat to medium-low, and simmer for 20 minutes, or until the potatoes are fork-tender. Remove the potatoes with a slotted spoon, reserving the water, and set aside. Repeat with the cabbage, but simmer it for only 10 minutes. Drain and set aside.
  2. Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the beef and cook it, stirring occasionally, until the edges begin to brown, about 10 minutes.
  3. Add the boiled cabbage and potato and continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables begin to brown, too, about 20 minutes more.
  4. Taste for salt. If the beef was salty enough, you won’t need it; otherwise, add 1⁄2 tsp, or to taste. Add the pepper and stir. Serve hot.

Note: If you leave out the corned beef, you’ll have colcannon, a classic Irish vegetable side dish.

Recipe © 2013 by Brian Yarvin and used by permission of The Harvard Common Press.