Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Bubble & Squeak

I realize I sorta plopped my dinner on a plate, but it tastes divine, I promise.
I'm back!  I know it's been a long while, but life's been blissfully busy these days and I've cooked plenty of yummy things, and I want to share one of my favorites:  Bubble and squeak!  Funny name, delicious food.  I learned how to make it in Belfast, from the wonderful Mo Blake.  The name comes from the delightful melted cheese on top (the bubble) and a bit of bacon in it (the squeak).  Consider it a shepherd's pie taken to a whole new level.  It's the perfect thing to warm you up on a chilly night.  Let's get started...

Take 4 small russet potatoes (or Irish ones for you people in that land of spectacular spuds).  Chop them into about inch-sized pieces.

(Hayden gets spooked when I chop things — gallant little guy, I know.  He goes in the other room and only comes back once I'm done.  Funny fellow.)

Fill a pan with water and add the potatoes and bring to a boil.  I also threw in a couple whole cloves of garlic.  Apparently all of the potatoes pieces cook evenly when brought to a boil together (as opposed to just adding them to already boiling water).  If you can understand why that is, I'll give you a golden potato, 'cause this gal has no idea why.

Chop some carrots into small pieces.  It's easiest to do this by chopping a carrot in half, then in half lengthwise and it's easy to cut into little squares.

Chop up three slices of bacon and saute in a dutch oven or large saucepan in a tablespoon of olive oil, until crisp.  Add in one small onion, chopped, and cook until tender.

Grab a few mushrooms and clean them with a damp paper towel.  It's not a good idea to rinse them off, because they're little sponges ("Hey, I'm a funghi!").  Wouldn't you rather they soak up yummy bacon-y, winey (coming later) flavor than just tap water?  Thought so.  Roughly chop those funghis.

Thinly chop half a head of cabbage (I know, lots of chopping, but it just shows how fresh it all is!).  Savoy is the best to use, with it's yummy crinkly texture, but in a pinch you can just use regular cabbage like I did.

Add the cabbage to the bacon amazingness and cook on medium-high heat, stirring often to get a bit of caramelization on it and soften it.  Then add the mushrooms lower the heat to medium and cook for a few minutes.

Then add a splash of dry red wine.  I realize that this picture looks like I took it after having drank a bottle of wine, but I hadn't!  It was just hard to take a pic and pour in vino at the same time.  Scrape up all the bits from the bottom of the pan.  They add depth to the flavor.

By now your spuds are most certainly tender.  Drain them and return 'em to the hot pot so all the liquid can evaporate.

Add about 4 tablespoons of butter and mash them up.

Add a couple of splashes of milk and plenty of salt and pepper and stir together.

Here's what your veggie-bacon layer will look like.  Mmm.

Top with the mashed potatoes.

And top that with some cheese (gotta get that bubble going).  I used havarti because it's what I had.  Would you believe that folks from my lovely church have not only given me all sorts of home staples and a real Christmas tree, but they've given me cheese, y'all!  I usually use white cheddar, but that nutty havarti was perfection.  Broil in the oven for a few minutes (keep an eye on it, goes fast!) until brown and bubbly on top.

Top with a little parsley for freshness and color and enjoy!

Hope this brings you some warmth this winter, y'all!  What are you eating to keep cozy these days?

Bon appetit!

1 comment:

  1. That looks good! I might make that New Years weekend. I have some carrots that'll keep till then, I think.

    I made a lovely sausage lentil soup last night - I had bought Italian sausage and needed to use it. The house smelled so good and it will be lovely for dinner tonight. Here's the link to the recipe: