Rumbledethumps is essentially the Scottish equivalent of Colcannon and, like the Irish original, sometimes includes mashed turnips (and even carrots) as well. Indeed, with the basic Colcannon being a mix of mashed potatoes and greens, and the Scottish ‘Clapshot’ being turnips and ‘taties’ mashed together, you could probably think of Rumbledethumps with turnip as being a bastard child of the two.
In some versions of Rumbledethumps, things get even more complex than merely upping the veggie count, and the basic blend is cooked again by baking, often with cheese being melted on top. My version is a little simpler…
- 2 medium potatoes, peeled and quartered;
- 1 small Turnip(of the Swede/Rutabaga type), peeled and cut into large dice;
- ¼ of a small Cabbage, chopped small;
- 2 Scallions, chopped;
- 1 rasher of Bacon, sliced into thin matchsticks;
- 2 Tbsp. Butter, plus extra for serving;
- 2 – 4 Tbsp. Heavy Cream (optional);
- Salt and freshly ground Pepper.
There is no particular magic to the proportions, and you can play around with the basic amounts to suit your taste.
Bring a pot of salted water to the boil and add the turnip and potato chunks, Simmer vigorously until both vegetables are soft enough to mash.
While the root vegetables are cooking, you can prepare the cabbage… First, quickly saute the bacon pieces in fat until just starting to brown but not yet crispy.
Next, add the cabbage, tossing to coat with fat, and continue to cook until softened, adding a splash or two of water from the boiling veggies from time to time to get a little steam action going. When cooked your liking, remove from the heat and keep warm.
When the root vegetables are done, drain and return to the pot. Mash well, adding the butter and the cream (if using). Season the blend with the salt and pepper.
Fold in the cabbage mixture and the scallions and then transfer everything to a platter or bowl for service, topping with a little extra butter if desired.
Rumbledethumps, like Colcannon, might easily be served as a single dish meal (and traditionally likely would have been a lot of the time). If you are preparing it for a side-dish, however, you can cut down on the liberal amounts of butter usually used by including it with something that includes a sauce or gravy. Here, I had a generous helping alongside a hamburger steak smothered in rich onion gravy… All sorts of comfort in that food !