STOVIES — a lunchtime favourite
This is one my mother used to make regularly — a family favourite in Ireland and Scotland which are known for meals based on potatoes. It was a way of feeding a large family on little money. That doesn’t make it a poor meal though, as you will discover if you try it.
Related to this, you can read CHAMP which was published in the 2008 Spring Issue (pg 40) of that great magazine, The Linnet’s Wings.
There are many versions of Stovies but for mine all you need is unsmoked Bacon, Potatoes (Maris Pipers, King Edwards or reds are ideal – they need to keep their shape but break down a bit), Onions, water, salt and pepper.
I can’t give you exact weights for this dish. You can scale it up or down to suit any number of people and their appetites but basically you want to start with 2-3 rashers of unsmoked back bacon and a medium onion per person and how ever many potatoes you think that person is going to eat PLUS some because I’ve never had any of this left! It’s the kind of stew you eat with a spoon, it’s a real winter warmer and it’s MORE-ISH.
Put about half pint of water into a large pan and begin to heat (that would be for one person so more people/ more potatoes etc / more water…. but you can add water as it’s needed so go easy on it at the start)
Take the meat off the bacon – just pull it off — and discard the fat. Add to pan. (No you don’t fry it first – trust me.)
Cut the onions (large dice = each onion into 16) and add (again no frying – it’s healthy)
Same with the potatoes (Mammy used to peel them but you can scrub and keep the skins on if you wish)
Add salt and white pepper.
Bring to the boil and then turn down to a low simmer with the lid on. Stir every few minutes and add more boiling water if necessary until the potatoes are cooked and breaking down a bit. This takes about 15 minutes. The dish should still be liquidy enough to look like stew but not like soup.
Adjust seasoning to taste.
Spoon generously into bowls and eat with a spoon.
This is one of those wonderful meals that takes you way back home.
I wonder… What’s yours?