How to Make Stovies
There is No Specific Recipe for Making Stovies
Learning how to make stovies is not about learning and following a specific recipe. It is probably better to describe stovies as a concept, rather than a specific dish. The reason for this is simple in that the ingredients included in stovies and the way in which they have evolved over a period of centuries means that no one way can say with absolute certainty how they were originally made. The original ingredients are largely about conjecture, with only the concept established as fact.
The History of Stovies
A look at how stovies were invented and/or came in to being
Stovies have been made in Scotland for centuries. They were originally very much a poor man's food, prepared from the leftovers passed along by the lords and masters. When the wealthy had been fed their beef or lamb, the fat which had dripped from same ("Dripping") and the stock would often be given to the servants in order to feed their own families. The likelihood is therefore that the very first form of stovies consisted merely of dripping, stock and potatoes.
If the masters were generous or the servants were merely lucky, on occasion some of the leftover meat would be provided, along with the dripping and stock. This meant that a far more nourishing and substantial meal could of course be made in the same fashion, simply by adding the meat to the dripping, stock and potatoes.
In those earliest days of stovies, the only other ingredient which came to be commonly used was onion but in the past century in particular, stovies have often taken on an almost unrecognisable form...
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Stovies Made with Lorne Sausages
The way my Gran used to make them
I am well aware that the first question many may ask here is, "What are Lorne sausages?" Lorne sausages are essentially a type of sausage peculiar to Scotland. They are very different from most other types of sausage in that the meat is not fed in to a sausage skin, nor are they even shaped as though it had been. When Lorne sausage meat is prepared, the meat is compressed in to large blocks which are then sliced to form the individual sausages which are subsequently sold and cooked. This is why Lorne sausages are also often called sliced sausages or square sausages.
Stovies with Lorne Sausages - Ingredients
A simple list of what you will need
There are no complicated ingredients in this version of stovies. All that we require are the following:
2 Lorne sausages
2 medium potatoes
1 medium onion
Pinch of dried thyme (optional)
Pinch of dried rosemary (optional)
1 pint of fresh beef stock
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Preparing Lorne Sausage Stovies
This is a casseroled version of stovies
In order to prepare these casseroled Lorne sausage stovies, the first step is to put the oven on to preheat to 375F/190C/Gas Mark 5. The onion and the potatoes should then be thinly sliced to between 1/8" and 1/4". The Lorne sausages should be halved, diagonally.
The sausage pieces and the onion slices should then be arranged alternately on the bottom of the casserole dish and the herbs and seasoning added. The potato slices should then be added as a top layer, before the hot stock is carefully poured over, the lid put on to the casserole dish and the dish placed in the oven for forty to forty-five minutes.
Lorne Sausage Stovies, Ready for the Stock and then the Oven
How to Serve Lorne Sausage Stovies
Again, no rules apply
How to serve Lorne sausage stovies - or indeed any form of stovies - is up to the individual. As the dish already includes meat, potato and vegetable, however, there is no real requirement to serve it with anything else. It is perhaps best served simply by being spooned from the casserole dish on to a plate - and as I have done below, adding a little HP Sauce as final seasoning.
Lorne Sausage Stovies with HP Sauce
I hope that this page has given you some greater understanding of the traditional Scottish dish that is stovies. If you have never tried preparing stovies, I hope you will now try them for yourself and let me know what you think in the space below.