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Scottish stovies with greens & oatcakes recipe image

Print Scottish stovies with greens & oatcakes

This is our nod to Burns’ Night. It is simplicity itself. It isn’t pretty, bright or exotic. Any attempt to refine the recipe starts to undermine the point of it, though I’m pushing it a little by daring to add carrots, garlic and allspice. It can be seen in lots of regional variations, dishes like scouse, cottage pie and mince’n’tatties. It is supremely comforting and delicious.


  • 1 large onion
  • 1 carrot
  • Oil for frying, e.g. vegetable or sunflower
  • 400g potatoes
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 10g rosemary
  • 300g minced beef
  • Chicken stock
  • ¼ tsp allspice
  • 1 tbsp Worcester sauce
  • ½ Savoy cabbage
  • 1 packet oatcakes
  • Salt & pepper


  1. Peel the onion and finely dice it. Wash and peel the carrot, cut into chunky dice. Put both in a casserole or pan to gently fry in a little oil for 10 minutes, until softened.
  2. Meanwhile, peel the potatoes and cut them into hearty, angled 3cm chunks. Peel and finely chop or crush the garlic clove. Strip the leaves from 1 stalk of rosemary and finely chop them. Season the beef with salt and pepper. Turn up the heat and add it to the pan. Cook for a few minutes until it has lightly browned. Add the garlic, rosemary and potatoes.
  3. Fry for a further 1 minute before adding the stock, allspice and Worcester sauce. Season the beef with salt and pepper. Simmer gently for 40 minutes, or until the potatoes are cooked and beginning to crumble.
  4. While the beef cooks, halve the cabbage. Cut the tough core out of one ½ and finely shred it widthways. Wash it well. Save the other ½ for another day. 10 minutes before the beef is ready, heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a large pan.
  5. Add the wet shredded cabbage and cook on a medium heat until wilted and tender. Season simply with salt and pepper. Serve the hot beef and potatoes with a pile of wilted greens and the oatcakes on the side.

Cooks notes

The oatcakes are a peculiar but particularly Scottish addition. Use them to scoop up the savoury mince or crumble them into any remaining gravy. Eat with a wee dram.
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