Vegan or Vegetarian Scottish Stovies
Scottish people have been enjoying Stovies for centuries. My remake of traditional Stovies, into a vegan or vegetarian Scottish Stovies, is a friendly alternative based on the Stovies I enjoyed as a child growing up in Scotland.
Stovies are thought to have originated sometime during the 16th-18th centuries, when servants used the leftovers of their employers dinners to create their own meals.
In recent history, Stovies are still a leftover meal.
The word Stovies is a Scottish word meaning to stew.
Excess meat from the Sunday roast, as well as the dripping that collected in the roasting pan, was combined with potatoes and onions to create a delicious Monday dinner.
Good habits tend to stick around!
Stovies are served in pubs, inns and cafes up and down Scotland. As well as being the dish of choice for many Scottish newly-weds at their wedding feast.
Robert Burns night dinners often feature Stovies on the menu, and New Years Eve celebrations are another excuse to enjoy Stovies.
Stovies are the dish you’ll be dreaming off when your traipsing across a squelchy Scottish field passed the highland cow, having just hiked up the local misty mountain, and now have the local inn within your sights.
How should Scottish Stovies be prepared?
There’s a great deal of contention across the internet about how Scottish Stovies should be prepared. Many claim to know the ‘real and proper’ way, in fact they go so far as to state ‘the only way’ Stovies should be cooked!
In reality, it depends on which area of Scotland you grew up.
Many folk favour traditional or square sausages as the meat of choice.
Others prefer corned beef or any type of meat they have to hand.
Some prefer their potatoes mashed up well after cooking. Other variants are cubed, sliced or whole potatoes.
However, what tends to stay the same is the main ingredients: meat, potatoes, onions and a dripping gravy.
Some traditional recipes don’t call for meat, and just focus on the potatoes stewing in beef dripping.
I was raised in Glasgow so my mum prepared Stovies with sausages, whole potatoes and large slices of onions.
The actual best way to prepare Stovies is the way you like them…no one else!
Vegan or Vegetarian Stovies
My recipe for Stovies uses vegan or vegetarian sausages, whichever you prefer.
I used Quorn sausages as those were the only type available in my local supermarket.
The other ingredients I used are: potatoes, onions, vegan bouillon powder, dark soya sauce, cornflour, bay leaves and a chestnut mushroom just for the flavour.
A veggie stock cube would be a fine substitution for the bouillon.
Creating vegan or vegetarian recipes is so different from meat dishes.
Traditional Stovies would have the potatoes cooking in dripping and the meat easily flavouring the gravy.
Also a lid would be placed tightly over the pot and the Stovies would steam and stew away.
Veggie Stovies can’t rely on meat dripping and stock, so need a little tweaking. Creativity is needed to achieve the rich, meaty dark stock and gravy.
I used bay leaves, dark soya sauce and a chestnut mushroom, as well as some vegan bouillon powder and this combination, after stewing away is amazing.
Lastly, the stock is thickened up with some cornflour and a dark, rich, glossy and Unami filled gravy is the end result.
Top the Stovies off with an unconventional puff pastry topping and you’ve got a hearty, delicious dish.
My vegan Stovies sit on a bed of thyme-buttered carrots. Which are a nice complement to the Stovies.
Oatcakes and milk are common accompaniments to Scottish Stovies, but my dish is pretty filling so good luck fitting in an Oatcake as well!
If you’d like to try then check out my recipe for Scottish Vegan Oatcakes.
(Please note Update: Vegetable oil is used in this recipe but nowadays I limit my family’s oil intake for health reasons. Instead I use a little vegetable stock, or left-over vegetable cooking water, to sauté the onions and garlic, etc., and then when the veg are soft I proceed with the recipe). Just add enough stock or water to sauté the vegetables in, add a tad extra if the stock dries out. I have not even noticed a major difference in flavour. But the reduced calories, seeing as a tbsp of oil has about 120 calories, is a welcome bonus).
Vegetarian or Vegan Traditional Scottish Stovies with Buttered-Thyme Carrots and a Puff Pastry Topping!
- large Saucepan/Deep stewing pan. I actually use a medium sized jam pan for stews as I find it the perfect size
- Wooden spoon
- Stove top
- Measuring jug
- knife and chopping board
- Rolling pin
- 8 vegan or vegetarian sausages cook these according to the packet, while your preparing the stovies dish, 2 sausages per person but serving size depends on the person! Can add more or less sausages as required.
- 8 medium sized white potatoes type of potatoes can be any white potato, but generally small new potatoes are not used.Peeled and washed and left whole if medium sized. Really large potatoes can be halved to create 2 medium size potato potions. Just be dictated by your families appetites!
- 2 medium-large onions sliced as you would prepare onion rings.
- 1 cube stock, plus an extra 1/2 stock cube I used 4 tsp of vegan bouillon stock powder for 1 and a 1/2 litres of boiling water. I and a 1/2 stock cubes would be a rough equivalent.
- 2 tbsp dark soya sauce
- 4 tbsp corn flour the type used to thicken up stocks and sauces
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 medium chestnut mushroom, or any other mushrooms you have to hand. this is just for flavouring the gravy stock, but a lucky recipient could always eat it with the stovies!
- 1 tbsp sunflower or vegetable oil
- 4 medium carrots. as an accompaniment Optional, any vegetable can be used. I used a medium size carrot per person, sliced into rounds, boiled for around 8 minutes to soften. Drain, then add tbsp of vegan margarine (I used Vitalite) and tsp of dried thyme. Mix well. The accompanying vegetable can be prepared while the stovies are stewing.
- 70-90 grams puff pastry, many varieties are vegan friendly this is per person. For kids and those with smaller appetites use less pastry, about 50 grams.
- Add tbsp oil to a heavy based, large saucepan or stewing pan. Heat oil on a medium heat. Preheat oven to 200 Fan/220 Celsius/425 Fahrenheit/Gas 7.
- Add the onion rings to the pan and saute for around 5 minutes. Add the bay leaves. If at any point the onions start to stick to your pan just add a little boiling water and the onions will steam cook. If you add more oil your gravy may become too greasy and oily.
- Prepare the vegetable stock. Cook sausages according to packet.
- Add the whole potatoes straight on top of the onions.
- Pour in 1 and a 1/2 litres of stock. Turn heat up to high and bring to the boil.
- Once boiling, turn heat to low-medium. Add the dark soya sauce and bay leaves. Pop in the mushroom.
- Set a timer for 40 minutes. Leave to stew with the lid off. You want the stock to reduce and become condensed and yummy.
- While the stovies are stewing prepare your vegetable accompaniment if your having one.
- Remove your sausages if they're cooked and set aside.
- Prepare your puff pastry. Roll out about 70-90 grams per person. Size should be roughly 4 and 1/2 inch long and 3 inch wide. Set on a greased baking tray and brush with soya milk. Follow the instructions on the packet to cook.
- I baked my puff pastry, 20 minutes after setting the 40 minute timer for the stovies. Pastry took around 20 minutes to cook, but my oven is a fan and so cooks faster than other types. It's ready when its puffed high, golden and you can see all the layers puffed.
- Prepare the cornflour to thicken up the sauce into a gravy. If by now the 40 minute timer has gone off just turn your stovies down to the lowest heat. Check your potatoes with a skewer to see if their soft right through.
- After 40 minutes add your sausages to the stovies. Mix.
- Back to the cornflour. Add 4 tbsp to a small bowl and 6 tbsp of water. Mix thoroughly to break up any lumps.
- Drizzle into stovies. Mix and leave to gently bubble for about 3 minutes. Remove the pastry if cooked.
- Stovie gravy should be glistening, dark and thick. Using a potato masher or fork very gently crush the potatoes, not too much just so they crack a little. Taste the gravy for seasoning. I didn't need to add any salt as it was seasoned just right with the stock and soya sauce. If your gravy needs salt add a little at a time until it's perfect.
- To serve, I added a base layer of carrots. Scooped ladlefuls of stovies over, and topped with the puff pastry.
- Any leftovers taste amazing the next day. Check out my leftover suggestion below.
- The puff pastry topping is optional, so leave out if you don't like this type of pastry or don't have it to hand. It's a good way to use up leftover bits of puff pastry.
- Adjust the amount of potatoes and sausages, using less or more, depending on how many people your serving.
- Stovies should keep for up to 3 days in a refrigerator. They'll taste yummier as each day passes!
- Leftovers can be enjoyed as a 'Sloppy Stovie Joe'! To prepare these: