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Culture > Cuisine > Stovies

Culture: Cuisine



What does a Scots cook do with all the potatoes, meat, and leftovers from the Sunday roast? Throws them all into a pot and makes stovies, of course! This dish is said to have originated in the time when masters would give their servants the food left over from the Sunday lunch. Servants would take the leftovers home and make them into an easy-to-cook dish that could last them all week. The name "stovies" comes from the French etuve, meaning "to cook in its own juices." There are several variations to this hodge-podge of a dish, most of which include potatoes, onions, and beef, although other vegetables can be added, and chicken, lamb, or corned beef can be substituted for the meat. Stovies is best enjoyed with oatcakes. The following recipe comes from and serves four.


2/3 cup cold, diced beef
4 large potatoes, peeled and sliced
1 large onion, very thinly sliced
1 tbsp dripping (from meat or bacon)
1/3 cup stock or water
2 tbsp chopped parsley
Salt and pepper, nutmeg or all-spice for seasoning


  • Melt the dripping in a large pan, add a layer of sliced potatoes, followed by a layer of onion, and then a layer of meat. Add enough stock or water to cover (though some prefer their stovies dry, in which case you might want to add only 2-3 tablespoons). Then repeat the layers once again and season the dish thoroughly with salt, plenty of pepper, and nutmeg or all-spice
  • " Cover and cook over low to moderate heat (shaking the pan occasionally) for about 30 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender and the liquid is absorbed. Serve with a sprinkling of chopped parsley
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