Bubble and Squeak – Secret Serranía style

Bubble and Squeak – Secret Serranía style

After his steak au poivre Paul Whitelock had some bits and pieces left over, so he made a bubble and squeak for lunch…

Bubble and Squeak Secret Serranía style

Preparation: 5 mins

Cooking time: 15 mins

Servings: 2 to 4 people

Bubble and squeak is a quirky name for a dish that is mostly fried leftover vegetables, usually from Sunday lunch—making it popular for Monday lunch or dinner.

The origins of the name bubble and squeak are not known, but there is a reference in the “Classical Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue” from 1785: “Bubble and squeak is beef and cabbage fried together. It is so-called from its bubbling up and squeaking while over the fire.” In Ireland, colcannon is made from mashed potatoes, cabbage or kale, and onion, and it’s very similar to bubble and squeak, as is rumbledethumps in Scotland.

Traditionally, bubble and squeak will be eaten on a Monday for lunch or dinner, sometimes with a fried egg on top, and can include a little bacon or leftover meat from the day before. It makes a nice side dish for a meaty dinner, too. There are no hard-and-fast rules for this recipe except for mashed potatoes—it’s the “glue” that holds the dish together. Use bubble and squeak as a way to use up whatever you have left from dinner and transform it into something delicious.


6 tablespoons olive oil

1/2 cup leeks, finely chopped

500g leftover mashed potatoes

1 cup leftover vegetables (e.g., cabbage, kale, peas, cooked swede, cooked carrots, and/or cooked Brussels sprouts; finely chopped). I used sprouts on this occasion.

Optional: bacon pieces, leftover roast, bangers, and/or ham pieces. I had no leftover meat so I used cintas de beicon

Salt to taste

Freshly ground black pepper to taste

For serving: one fried or poached egg per plate


  1. In a large frying pan, melt the oil over medium heat and make sure it doesn’t overheat. Add the finely chopped leek and fry gently for about 3 minutes or until soft and translucent.
  2. Turn the heat up a little and add the mashed potato and all of the chopped up leftover vegetables. Add the chopped meat, if using. Fry for at least 10 minutes, turning everything over continuously in the oil to ensure that the potato and vegetables are thoroughly reheated. You are also aiming to brown (but not burn) the outside edges of the vegetables, so occasionally press the mixture into the pan to brown a little before turning.
  3. Finally, when the mixture is heated right through, give the vegetables one long final press onto the base of the pan with a spatula and leave to cook for 1 minute. Flip over and repeat. Season with salt and pepper.
  4. Serve with either a fried or poached egg on top of each serving. Enjoy.

Recipe variation

Make bubble and squeak patties. Mix the potato and vegetables, form into small patties, and fry until crisp on both sides.

¡Buen provecho!

Paul Whitelock

About Paul Whitelock

Paul Whitelock is a retired former languages teacher, school inspector and translator, who emigrated to the Serranía de Ronda in 2008, where he lives with his second wife, Rita, and his dog, Berti. He spends his time between Montejaque and Ronda doing DIY, gardening and writing.