Stovies, short for ‘stoved potatoes’ in Scotland and the North East, were – and probably still are – a way of making the most of leftovers. Stoved potatoes can be as basic as potatoes stewed with some of the gravy and dripping left over from the Sunday roast, or a grander affair with pieces of beef and onions, bringing it closer to a cottage pie. Stoving is also a good technique for new potatoes.
There are many variations on this theme: peeled large potatoes can be cooked with beef dripping or lard and garlic. Diced leftover meat can be added, or lardons of bacon, ham or salt pork. Scattering on lots of parsley as you serve it might not be traditional, but will give it a nice fresh touch.
If the potatoes have formed a skin, peel them. Put the potatoes into a large shallow pan in which they will sit in a single layer. Scatter the onion on top. Add the stock and butter, then season. Put on a lid, which must be tight-fitting so steam does not escape and the liquid evaporate – if this happens they will burn.
Cook over the lowest possible heat for 30–40 minutes, resisting the temptation to remove the lid to check on progress.
© 1998 Alastair Little. All rights reserved.