Scottish heritage recipes – Stovies
When Scotland signed the Auld Alliance with France in 1295 it was more than just the guarantee of armed support if war was declared that they would receive. A huge amount of French influence was brought to bear on Scottish cuisine and many distinctly Scottish culinary words are actually mispronunciation of French. Therefore étuves, to stew in its own juices became ‘stovies’. Now stovies are possibly just about the most abused term in cooking in Scotland, so much so that not only does everybody that cooks them have a different recipe. A large proportion of people have a completely different outlook on what they are. To me they are a selection of root vegetables, some kind of chopped leftover meat and a cooking liquor of some variety. As I said, very open to interpretation.
When I was young my Mother would stew potatoes, carrots, onion and turnip in gravy and then add the chopped meat at the end to warm through. A few years ago I found a recipe which merely had onions, meat and gravy with sliced potatoes on top, somewhat akin to hotpot, which is then cooked in the oven. I have decided that my favoured method after trying many is basically an amalgamation of both.
For the meat I love to pot roast topside alongside softened onions with thyme, rowan jelly and a wineglass of water. After about 90 minutes for a 1.25kg joint it is nicely medium, lying in a rich gravy of its own juices, of which you can preserve most for stovies the next day.