Apologies for the poor picture, but despite my attempt to create a good set-up beforehand, with a poached egg you have but seconds to get your shot before the yolk runs everywhere. And I really wanted to eat this more than take a nice photo! This dish is vegan until you top it with the poached egg but is just as delicious without, perhaps with a bit of chutney if you’d rather. But I do like a poached egg with my bubble and squeak so on it goes for me. Any combination of leftover veggies is good although I find I’ve usually only got them after a roast. The only essential is mashed potato, which is what will bind all the other ingredients together. If you’ve only got small roast potatoes left and attempt this you’ll end up with bubble and squeak hash, which is lovely but not quite the same thing. I’m not beyond boiling a couple of extra potatoes especially for this, to make a bit more mash and ensure the bubble and squeak will work. With Easter Sunday coming you might just over cater the veggies, so here is a good way to use them up. Bubble and squeak makes a lush breakfast, lunch or light dinner so is extremely versatile. In the past I wouldn’t have been beyond sprinkling it with a bit of cheese and grilling it briefly. And you can pair it up with meat and use it as a side dish if you like. It goes well with sausage or ham, perhaps for breakfast, and with cold cuts like beef or chicken maybe with pickles for lunch. It’s excellent with a fat piece of crispy skinned, grilled fish on top and a dollop of thick hollandaise sauce for dinner. Or you can just have it as it is. I can’t rate it highly enough within the ranks of leftover dishes.
Bubble and squeak (with a poached egg)
Prep time 5 minutes Cook time 15 minutes Makes however much you have!
- leftover potato (mashed, either with butter, dairy alternative or olive oil)
- leftover vegetables, roughly chopped – cabbage, Brussels sprouts, carrots, parsnips, swede, turnip, spinach, beetroot (although this’ll turn it all pink!), pretty much anything. I used roasted carrot, roasted parsnip, steamed cabbage, roasted and mashed potatoes
- a little oil, for frying
- salt and pepper
- poached eggs (or alternative accompaniment)
In a bowl mix together the mashed potato and chopped vegetables. Season well and mix again – I cannot stress the importance of good seasoning! Form this mixture into patties (approximately the size of the utensil you will use to turn them) and fry in a splash of oil over a low/medium heat. Flip once about half-way through the cooking time, you’re looking for them to be completely heated through and golden coloured on the outside. Squish down the patties as they cook, but don’t move them around in the pan – you need the crust to form so you can turn them without them falling apart. Do this gently! Cook for about 5-8 minutes per side. Serve with a poached egg on top, or with your preferred alternative serving suggestions.
Poaching the egg without using a poaching pan: this is how I poach an egg. Use a small pan and half fill with water, adding a dash of white wine vinegar. Bring the water to the point of boiling but no hotter. You should see bubbles on the bottom of the pan but they should hardly ever rise to the top. You want the water as still as possible. Break your extremely fresh egg into a small cup – I use a ¼ measuring cup, (older eggs can really only be done in a poaching pan to keep them together). Carefully pour your egg into the water. After a few minutes, when you can see the white has set and it’s looking like a poached egg, carefully lift it out of the water with a slotted spoon. Poke gently at the yolk bit with the tip of your finger to see if it is firm enough for your liking. I like a runny yolk but I hate runny white! Lower back into the water if not quite to your preference and check again a short while later. When your egg is done remove with the slotted spoon, allow excess water to drain and serve. If when you add the egg to the hot water the white disintegrates, and you’re left pretty much with just a yolk, then your egg was not fresh enough!