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Traditional Scottish Stovies with Oatcakes and Beetroot – Slow Cooked & with the Kids Baked Beans to serve.

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.

Slow Cooked Traditional Scottish Stovies with Oatcakes and Beetroot (and the kids beans)

Lesley Smith
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 8 hours
Total Time 8 hours 30 minutes
Course Mains
Servings 6


  • 3 KG Potatoes Maris Pipers, King Edwards or Roosters - Peeled and Chopped
  • 1 - 2 Onions Chopped
  • 100 Grams Dripping Beef Dripping, Goose Fat or Vegetable Dripping
  • 1 KG Meat Usually Pork or Beef - Already Cooked
  • 200 Grams Gravy From the Pork or Beef
  • Salt & Pepper For cooking.


  • In a saucepan, melt approximately 100g of your lard. This will be quicker than you expect.

  • Add the onions to the pan and lightly fry.

  • Make sure that the onions are still white and are not cooked long enough to begin turning brown.

  • Add the onions, lard and your potatoes to the slow cooker and stir until all the potatoes are coated in lard. If you have to add some more, add it a teaspoon at a time, as it is easy to use too much lard.

  • Add a few spoons of the gravy from your meat, a couple of tablespoons of water, and a couple of pinches of salt.

  • Cook for 8 hours on low, or 4 hours on high.

  • You will need to check the pot every hour and if you need to add a little extra water, do it a teaspoon at a time. You only want just enough to stop the potatoes from burning into the pot.

  • Don't mash the potatoes as when they are ready, they will break down with the stirring.

  • Add in your meat with a few more spoonfuls of gravy.

  • Cook until the meat is thoroughly heated.

  • Normally, you would shred your meat or cut it really small, but my boys like their meat in hunky chunks so my pictures are not the effect you would get if you shredded your meat before adding it.

  • Serve with oatcakes and beetroot with a glass of milk for the traditional fare, or add beans like the Scottish Mum Kids.

If you want to make your own oatcakes, try Traditional Scottish Oatcakes.


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Slow Cooked Sausage & Onion Hotpot

Another slow cooker recipe.

Is it showing just how often that I actually use my slow cooker?  The food rarely looks pretty on the plate, unless it is a curry, risotto or a piece of meat for carving, but hotpot style food just never looks right although it tastes fantastic.

Saturdays are manic here with football matches and club sessions, so making a proper meal on a Saturday is a rare occurrence.  I had a pack of sausages in the fridge with a bag of potatoes in the cupboard and that makes for a perfect slow cooker meal.


12 Sausages
2 Onions
2 Tablespoons Caramelised Onions
500 Mixed Veg (I ran out of fresh, so the standby frozen had to do)
1 kg Baby Potatoes (any potatoes would do for this)
1 x Beef Stock Pot or 2 Stock Cubes
Pinch Salt


As usual, my slow cooking is just all thrown in.  I wanted to give the sausages the taste and aroma of the onions so I took the frying pan out and first let the chopped onions cook for a few minutes on low heat.

Turn up the heat a little and fry the onions until they are mixed in with the caramelised ones.

Add the sausages to the pot.

Lightly cook sausages in the pan with the onions.

Then put the sausages and onions into the slow cooker, along with the vegetables and fill with enough boiling water to cover the ingredients.  Add the stock pot or stock cubes and salt.

Place the sliced potatoes on the top of the ingredients in the slow cooker.  Don’t put any more water in the pot.

Put on the lid and cook for 8 hours on low setting, or 4 hours on high setting.  Thicken before serving with cornflour and hey presto.

I really, really wish I could get slow cooked pots of food to look prettier on the plate for photographing, but I don’t seem to be able to.  My sausages crumbled when my mother in her eagerness to help, had decided to take off the lid when I was out, and give the mix a good old brisk stir.

There was enough food in the pot to feed 6 of us.

That was a meal on a budget and a half.


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Slow Cooked Mince & Tatties

Two things got made in the Scottish Mum household today and they were complete opposite ends of the spectrum.  I made apple muffins and a hodgepodge of rubbish and odds and sods that were lying around the fridge for supper.

The apple muffins are a pretty standard recipe so I won’t do them.  I did the muffin type recipe that I just substitute different fruit for.  I learned how to make nice muffins when I did the post for Prince’s fruit.

Onto the Slow Cooked Mince & Tatties

Now this is not the Scottish way, and it is probably not anybody’s way of making mince and potatoes, but if we don’t try different ways now and again, we never find out newer and quicker ways to feed our families without slaving over a hot stove.

I do a lot of cooking, but I really dislike it with an enormous passion.   My dislike for cooking is probably the reason I love my slow cooker so much.

So rather than proper mince and tatties, this is more of a  Hodgepodge 

Here we go.

1kg of Mince, browned in a pan with 2 smallish onions.

With the kettle boiled for the slow cooker, I decided that I was going to be lazy today and throw it in the pot for later.

I rustled up about 1 kg of different vegetables and 2 kg of baby potatoes which I cut into halves and some into slices.

Along with a couple of stock cubes, about 25 ml of lemon juice and a pinch or two of salt, I threw it all in the pot and added water – and then proceeded to ignore it for the next 4 hours while it cooked.

When we were ready to eat, some cornflour to thicken and bobs your uncle.

Part of me was slightly worried about how this would turn out, but I have learned that the only thing that ingredients in food have to be precise for is actually everything to do with baking and pastry.  With anything else, pretty much anything goes with trial and error.

Sundays big meal cost me less than £10 with masses of food for everyone and enough left over for tomorrow, so that will be two big meals for £5 each.

Ok, slow cooked mince and tatties doesn’t look fabulous on the plate, but it tasted amazing and no slaving over a hot stove.   There is just something delicious about potatoes cooked hot pot style.

I had forgotten to make a loaf so we used apple muffins to soak up the gravy.  What a combination..