Sunday, 24 October 2010


So stovies are a very traditional Scottish dish.  This is proper warming fuel food for sustaining farmers on a cold day.  So let that be a warning that it is very calorific.  Stovies varies around the place but this is how we make it around Aberdeenshire.  The photo of my finished version is pretty unappealing.  I used gravy granules and too much gravy at that so it doesn't look as good as it usually would.  It still, however, tasted very fine!  This dish is something we will quite often make to use up left over roast beef from a Sunday dinner.  As you can see, I am not in my own house.  My Mum has taken my Dad to Geneva for his birthday so we are house- and dog- sitting for a few days.  And before they left Mum made a birthday dinner of roast beef so we have all the lovely leftovers to ourselves.
Stovies is served around these parts with oatcakes and pickled beetroot.
A friend of mine was buying me lunch one day in a cafe and I told her I would like some stovies with beetroot.  She thought the beetroot was just something weird I did and was a bit taken aback when the waitress offered her beetroot with her stovies as if reading her mind.  

Anyway, here's how to make it (I don't think there is an actual recipe for the stuff as everyone makes it differently and just bungs together what they have so no quantities or timings given) - 

So you need some tatties, an onion or two, your leftover roast beef, some beef dripping and your leftover gravy (we had no leftover gravy so I used gravy granules and made up some quick gravy, but obviously it's better with homemade gravy or beef stock).  You can obviously use any fat you prefer but beef dripping gives the best flavour by far.

Melt the dripping in a large pan, Peel and cut your tatties into slices of about £1 coin thickness, chop the onions.  Throw into the pan and leave covered on a low heat, stirring every now and then until the tatties become translucent and soft.

Chop your beef into bite sized pieces.  I like my stovies chunkier than this usually but I cut everything up smaller for the kids if I'm feeding them too.  As you can see, my parents like their meat well cooked!

Serve hot with the beetroot and oatcakes and a steaming cup of tea.  Mmmmmm.


  1. Sounds much more interesting than cottage pie!

  2. Quite similar to Cottage Pie - comfort food - but nice to have variations, I agree. I quite fancy some cottage pie now that you have said that!

  3. Fine! Stovies are great, I love them. Well, except for corned beef stovies. They're just wrong.

    Musa in Aberdeen have duck stovies on their menu. Really need to try them sometime.

  4. Oh, duck stovies sounds fine. I have been to Musa a few times before and have enjoyed the food there.

  5. I have only lived in aberdeen for 12 years and before that had never heard of stovies!
    My mum told me that they were paupers food, whish was why we never at ethem - but that sounds a bit snobby it was probably because we never had any left over roast beef in our house as we would eat it as mum carved it!
    I have tried once or twice to make stovies myself but they never turn out that good, but reading your post has spurred me to give it another go - my husband loves stovies and his only demand when we were getting married was that we must have them at the evening buffet - which we did!

  6. Hi whitewineandsoda! Yes, I have to say I get a bit disappointed if I go to a wedding and they don't have stovies half way through the dancing! Did you marry an Aberdonian then? I have only found your blog in the last few days - so glad I did. Great to "meet" you.

  7. I grew up in Aberdeenshire before moving to Canada nearly 20 years ago... My partner, a Canadian of Japanese descent, recently learned of stovies through Twitter of all places and asked me to make some. I haven't had any since I left Scotland (and my parents were actually English *gasp!* so I only ever got to eat it at school or at friends' houses) and now have some going on the stove, thanks to your blog. Hopefully it turns out as good as I remember. I don't recall the pickled beetroot, but we both like them anyway, so will serve some up on the side!

    1. Oh Katy - I hope you like them! Thanks so much for letting me know. I love stovies - so comforting. The beetroot is definitely just an Aberdeen thing - I don't think anyone else in Scotland does that.
      Let me know how they go. :)