What better cold weather fare could there be. Stovies used to be made in generations gone by in our ancestors family when it was washing day, or when the nets had to be hauled down to the boats and the women didn’t have time to make a big meal for the family.
They stayed close to home on stovie days as they had to carry their men onto the fishing boats to keep them dry. We’re talking little women carrying huge strapping 6 + footers from the side of the piers right into their boats. With their skirts and feet soaking and cold in the North Sea, it was a hard, miserable and tough life.
Often battling against misery and exhaustion, they would come back to their stovies simmering on the pot, and ready to fill empty bellies.
Unable to stray far from the home while they were cooking, this was a method of slow cooking that needed regular stirring couldn’t be made on market days when the women would have to carry the catch in a creel on their backs for miles to sell it at market.
Most people who make stovies today, are really only making a type of hash with boiled potatoes and meat mixed in. For real stovies, the potatoes need to be stoved. They are dry and not waxy, and they break apart in the mouth when you eat them.
I’ve only ever made them in a thick bottomed pan before, so this method is a new (and easier) way of doing it for me.
The quantities mentioned in this recipe are for guidance only. This would generally have been Monday’s meal, after the Sunday roast, and using up the leftovers of meat, potatoes and sometimes other vegetables would be added in a sort of bubble and squeak effect.
My stovies are wickedly tasty ones, made with the meat and gravy from nice large chunks of a fillet steak joint that I got from Andrew Gordon Butchery in Aberdeen. I am always spoiled for choice when I go in there and good meat really makes a difference to the taste of a finished dish.
If you want to make your own oatcakes, try Traditional Scottish Oatcakes.