Traditional Scottish Stovies

Traditional Scottish stovies recipe in a bowl with oatcakes served alongside

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Prep: 10 mins
Cook: 50 mins
Total: 60 mins
Servings: 6 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
214 Calories
4g Fat
36g Carbs
8g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 6
Amount per serving
Calories 214
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 4g 6%
Saturated Fat 1g 7%
Cholesterol 14mg 5%
Sodium 471mg 20%
Total Carbohydrate 36g 13%
Dietary Fiber 5g 18%
Total Sugars 4g
Protein 8g
Vitamin C 14mg 70%
Calcium 43mg 3%
Iron 2mg 12%
Potassium 884mg 19%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

If it is real Scottish food that you are looking for, then you won't find a better option than this stovies recipe. The word stovies refers to a Scottish dish made from potatoes and often leftover meat, and this stew-like recipe uses whatever you happen to have to hand on a Monday, the day after your big Sunday roast. 

There are a lot of Scottish foods with meat and potatoes and stovies is one of them. Think of all those leftovers, with the main constituent being the bits of meat from the roast the day before. It will vary from week to week and from house to house: Ask 100 Scots for the recipe, and you will get 100 different answers. (This is similar to the English bubble and squeak recipe in that regard.) Where you live in Scotland and what you traditionally eat for lunch on Sunday (often it's beef or lamb) will have an impact on the final recipe, too. Those other leftover bits often include carrots and potatoes and onions cooked with a little bit of dark beer such as stout for flavor, along with beef or lamb stock, too.

If you've got leftovers from your Sunday roast, this is a great way to use them up the next day and turn them into a totally new meal. If not, you've got the makings here for a delicious stovies meal. If you want, you can make up a batch of oatcakes while the stovies simmer in the oven.


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  • 1 tablespoon lard, or beef dripping

  • 2 medium onions, or 1 large, roughly diced

  • 4 tablespoons dark beer, or stout, optional

  • 4 ounces cold roast beef, diced

  • 1 1/2 pounds potatoes, peeled and quartered

  • Salt, to taste

  • Pepper, to taste

  • 1 1/4 cups beef stock, or leftover gravy

  • Vegetables, any that you have leftover from the day before

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for Scottish stovies gathered

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  2. Preheat the oven to 375 F / 190 C / Gas 5. Place a Dutch oven or casserole dish on the stove over medium heat. Add the lard or drippings, and melt.

    Lard melting in a Dutch oven

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  3. Add the onions and cook until soft, but not browned, about 5 to 8 minutes.

    Onions cooking in a Dutch oven with a wooden spoon

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  4. If using, add the beer or stout and turn the heat up and allow to boil for 2 minutes to burn the alcohol away.

    Beer added to onions in a Dutch oven with a wooden spoon

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  5. Add the meat and stir well.

    Onions and meat in a Dutch oven for Scottish stovies

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  6. Add the potatoes in layers, seasoning each layer with salt and pepper as you go, before adding the next layer.

    First potato layer in a Scottish stovies recipe in a Dutch oven

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  7. Pour over the stock or gravy (or both).

    Scottish stovies in a Dutch oven with stock poured over potatoes

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  8. Cover with a lid and cook in the preheated oven for 45 to 50 minutes, checking from time to time to make sure the stock is not boiling dry. If it is, add a little extra.

    Potato layer in Scottish stovies in a Dutch oven

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  9. Ten minutes before the end of cooking, add any leftover vegetables to suit. Stir well and check the seasoning.

    Vegetables added to Scottish stovies in a Dutch oven

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  10. Cover with the lid and cook for 10 minutes. The meat and vegetables will break up to create a thick, hearty stew-like consistency but still retain their shape. Be careful not to overboil. 

    Finished Scottish stovies recipe in a Dutch oven with a wooden spoon

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  11. Serve the stovies in a deep dish or bowl with rough oatcakes and brown sauce, if you like it. Enjoy!

    Scottish Stovies in a bowl with oatcakes nearby

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Recipe Variations

Don't feel that you have to be restricted to the pickings from your Sunday lunch. Stovies can also be made using a tin of corned beef, some cooked minced beef, or sausages.

  • Corned Beef: Crumble the corned beef and stir through your potatoes 20 minutes before the end of cooking.
  • Cooked Minced Beef: Stir through the potatoes 20 minutes before the end of cooking.
  • Sausages: Cook the onions as above. Thickly slice one pound of sausage, layer it on the onions, followed by a layer of potatoes. Repeat the layers. Cook as above.

How to Store Stovies

  • Stovies will keep for several days, covered, in the refrigerator. Some people say it's best the day after you make it.
  • You can also freeze stovies in freezer-safe containers. Defrost in the refrigerator and reheat on the stove, or simply thaw and reheat in the microwave.

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