Rumbledethumps is a traditional dish from the Scottish border region, and, like the slightly more famous dish Colcannon, combines potatoes with greens (commonly cabbage) and sometimes other root vegetables like Turnip, or Carrot. Nowadays, it is often baked with a layer of cheese on top and, in that form, can easily make a very filling main dish, or a whole meal, in it’s own right. Here, however, I am making a simpler version, more suitably served as a vegetable side dish.
A Note on the Ingredients
This version of Rumbledethumps is being made with the Orange-fleshed Turnip type known as ‘Swede’ in many parts of Britain, but more commonly known to North Americans as ‘Rutabaga’. Along with the cabbage, I am also adding scallions (which is pretty common), and I am giving everything a little flavor boost by frying my cabbage with a small amount of bacon. The proportions of vegetables I have used here are not carved in stone, by any means, so you can vary them to suit your taste.
The Basic Method
The root vegetables are cook first by boiling. You can cook the potatoes and turnip together but you will need to cut the turnip into much smaller pieces than the potato as it is denser and will cook faster. The best plan is to halve the potatoes and cut the turnip in small dice.
While the root vegetables are cooking, you can get started on the cabbage fried with bacon. You only need a little bacon for this recipe. Just cut it into small strips and fry it over medium heat until it is browned, but not yet starting to get crispy.
The cabbage is shredded and then cooked with the bacon on the fat that has been thrown off. You can add a few tablespoons of water to the pan during the course of cooking as this gets a little steam action going and speeds up the process.
When the root vegetables are soft enough, drain them and mash well, seasoning with salt and pepper to taste, and adding butter, and cream, if desired.
Finally, the root vegetables are mixed with the cabbage and everything is ready to serve. A knob of butter on top can be added to the top.
Your Recipe Card:
- 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.
- 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.
- Sauté the bacon pieces in fat until just starting to brown, then add the cabbage, tossing to coat it with fat, and cook until tender.
- 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.