Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Sweet potato bubble and squeak

Bubble and squeak is the classic way to use up leftover mash and greens, usually from the Sunday lunch. The greens are most likely to be sprouts these days, the one green veg I really hate although I'll eat any other sort of cabbage. If you have one of the two basic ingredients hanging around cooked, it's worth making up the other half to mix up a panful of bubble squeak. I often find I have some braised kale left over as a prepacked bag contains around two portions. I rarely eat mash as a side dish - it seems a lot of work for one portion - but if you have plans to make fish cakes or gnocchi, then double up and make enough for this too. I find about 60% sweet potato and 40% greens is about the right proportion.

The flavour of the sweet potato marries well with the greens, while the added spring onion and garlic will cook during the frying and add extra notes. The colour is also appealing as bubble and squeak made with potato can look a bit grey.

This goes well with almost any kind of meat and makes a meal on its own too. Don't drown it in Bisto as it will overpower the sweet potato.

What you need: 
Sweet potato
1 spring onion
1 small clove of garlic
Leftover greens

What to do: 
Make the mash - peel the sweet potato, cut into chunks and boil until tender. Drain well. Slice the spring onion very finely and crush the garlic. Mash the sweet potato with a small knob of butter and then add the spring onion and garlic. Season to taste. Mix the mash and greens together in a bowl so the cabbage is well distributed.

Heat some butter in a frying pan over a high flame until it starts to foam but before it starts to turn brown. Tip in the bubble and squeak mixture, flatten it into a cake and turn the heat down a notch. Let it fry gently for about 10 minutes until it has formed a firm crust underneath. Flip and cook the other side for another 10 minutes.

Cook's tips: 
The pan is important. Use a frying pan with a very heavy base and a non-stick surface, for the best results.

Don't have the heat too high or it'll burn before the inside is thoroughly heated.

To flip the bubble and squeak, slide it cooked side down onto a plate, turn the frying pan upside down over the plate then flick your wrist and turn it all back on itself. The cake should now be cooked side up. It's a tricky technique that requires speed and confidence. Do it over the hob so that if it does go wrong, it won't be all over the floor. Use a pair of oven gloves to protect your hands and arms.

Sweet potato is a lot less starchy than potato so it makes a sloppier mash. Drain it very well, pop the pan back over the heat briefly to dry it out and don't add any milk to the mash - a small knob of butter is plenty.