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Scottish Recipes: Traditional Stovies Recipe



Scottish Stovies

Photo © Elaine Lemm

Ask 100 Scots how to cook traditional Stovies and you will get 100 different answers. Much like the English Bubble and Squeak recipe, this one is pretty much a free for all; it is a recipe using whatever you happen to have to hand on a Monday, after your Sunday Roast.

Stovie means "bits from the stove", all those bits which are left over, with the main constituent being the bits of meat from the roast the day before. Not that you have to be restricted to the pickings from your Sunday lunch; Stovies can also be made using a tin of corned beef or some cooked minced beef or sausages. It really is up to you.

In addition to the meat, any left over vegetables can also be added and carrots and cabbage are particularly welcome. Gravy is also a lovely addition if you have any, just add it instead of the stock, or in addition, again depending on how you like yours.


Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 50 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour

Yield: Depends on leftovers


  • 1 tbs lard or beef dripping
  • 2 medium or 1 large onion, skinned and roughly diced
  • 4 tbsp dark beer or stout (optional)
  • 115 g / 4 oz diced cold roast beef or lamb (see note below)
  • 750 g / 1 ½ lbs potatoes, washed, peeled and cut into quarters
  • 300 ml / 10 fl oz beef or lamb stock or left over gravy
  • Any other left over vegetables
  • Salt and pepper to taste


Preheat the oven to 190 °C / 375 °F/Gas 5

 Place a large casserole dish / Dutch oven on a medium heat. Add the lard or dripping and melt. Add the onions and cook until soft but not browned (about 5 - 8 minutes), take care not to burn the onions.

 If using, add the beer or stout, turn the heat up and allow to boil for 2 minutes to burn the alcohol away.

 Add the meat and stir well.

 Add the potatoes in layers, seasoning each layer with salt and pepper as you go, before adding the next layer. Pour over the stock or gravy (or both). Cover with a lid and cook in the preheated oven for 45 - 50 minutes checking from time to time to make sure the stock is not boiling dry. If it is, add a little extra stock.

 10 minutes before the end of cooking, add any leftover  vegetables to suit, stir well and check the season, cover with the lid and cook for a further 10 minutes.

 Serve the stovies in a deep dish or bowl with rough oatcakes, and brown sauce (if you like it).

 Using Other Meats in Your Stovies

 Corned Beef: Crumble the corned beef and stir through your potatoes 20 minutes before the end of cooking.

 Cooked Minced Beef: Stir through the potatoes 20 minutes before the end of cooking.

 Sausages. Cook the onions as above, Using 450g / 1 lb of sausage, slice thickly then put one layer on the onions, followed by a layer of potatoes and continue until all used up. Cook as above.


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