American Stovies: An Idea Whose Time Has Come


I first learned about stovies in a BBC article about the “Fife Diet,” a culinary/health/environmental undertaking in which some people from Fife, Scotland ate locally for a year, shunning air-freight goods for venison stew from Auchtermuchty and roasted bronze turkey from Falkland. Homemade bread made from flour milled in Kirkcaldy, with Fife butter and raspberry jam…

The article had a week’s Fife Diet menu, and Friday’s lunch was something called “stovies” that intrigued me. It was described as a “Scottish potato-based cooked-up leftovers dish,” which is exactly what it is. Nothing fancy, just comforting winter food.

Shortly after I discovered it I found myself with a wealth of potatoes from a friend’s derailed attempt at latkes for 20, as well as a container of leftover teriyaki vegetables that needed to be eaten soon, before they went bad.

They all went into the pot with ground turkey, salt, pepper, olive oil and garlic.

It was delicious.

I made it again with ground turkey and leftover corn/broccoli/cauliflower frozen veg. Again delicious.

Since I don’t eat beef, I modified the traditional recipe to use ground turkey, and added garlic. This dish is my new favorite leftover-buster.

In summer I’ll replace the salt, pepper and garlic with garam masala and curry powder, maybe make it with peas and cauliflower, and eat it with naan bread and plain yogurt. I wonder if you could use crumbled tofu instead of ground turkey?

I’ll post that new recipe when I make it. But for now, salt, pepper and garlic are perfect for winter and sweet evenings at home, knitting and smelling the unbelievable aroma this stuff makes as it steams and simmers on the stove.

Here’s my recipe, based on the traditional Scottish recipe I found online.

jens-stovies.doc (Link to Word document.)


Days until the spring semester begins: Less than 1.

Tomorrow, as well as starting back to school, I have a phone interview with a west coast global marketing company that provides PR services for information technology/telecom companies. (I’ve passed the brutal writing tests and initial interview already.)

The pay is excellent, the work challenging, and I’ve heard nothing but good things about the company and they way they treat their freelancers. They even take out taxes!

Wish me luck!

5 responses to “American Stovies: An Idea Whose Time Has Come

  1. Good luck!

    A stovie sounds a lot like a shepherd’s pie. Mmmm. Same idea I suppose.

    Out of curiosity, why don’t you eat beef? Too high on the food chain/energy-inefficient?

  2. I think it’s safe to say that England’s answer to stovies is indeed shepherd’s pie, which is also traditionally made with the leftovers from a Sunday roast, just like stovies are.

    Here in the American South we’d probably cook our leftovers in a skillet with potatoes and call it hash. In South India they probably make it with rice and call it something else.

    Everywhere, I figure it’s dressed-up leftovers made with the local starch.

    I don’t eat beef because I have moral problems with eating mammals, especially factory-farmed ones. And indeed, beef is an energy-inefficient food.

  3. Good Luck! We’re all rooting for you in Marshall, all six of us!!

  4. Woo! Good luck for the new gig! Fingers crossed in the Sandhills!

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