Home » 01 January » Rumbledethumps


So what, you may ask, are – is? – Rumbledethumps? It’s simple, really: it’s another one of those oddly-named British dishes consisting mostly of potatoes and cabbage, in this case from Scotland. The name is presumed to come from the sound of everything being mashed up together.

This is a bit fancier and more complex than champ or colcannon, requiring as it does 2 pots and a baking dish, not to mention all the cheese. On the other hand, this would be a perfectly reasonable thing to assemble from leftover mashed potatoes and cooked cabbage. In that case, just sauté the onions before adding them, and allow the casserole longer in the oven as it will all have to heat  up again.

I am being very vague about the amount of cheese as it will depend on your plan for this dish – is it a vegetable side dish to some sort of meaty main dish, or is it the main dish itself?

4 to 6 servings
1 hour – 30 minutes prep time

Rumbledethumps - A Scottish casserole of potatoes, cabbage, onions, and cheese

750 grams (1 1/2 pounds) potatoes
3 cups shredded Savoy or green cabbage
1 medium carrot (optional)
2 medium onions OR 4 to 6 green onions
OR 1/3 cup snipped chives
1/2 teaspoon salt
freshly ground black pepper to taste
3 or 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 cup buttermilk OR light cream
1 to 3 cups grated old Cheddar cheese

Scrub and trim the potatoes; peel them if you must. Put them in a pot with cold water to cover, bring them up to a boil, and boil steadily until tender – 15 to 20 minutes.

Meanwhile wash, trim, and shred the cabbage. Peel and grate the carrot, if using. Peel and chop the onions, or wash, trim, and chop the green onions or chives. Put the cabbage (and carrot) into another pot, with water, and bring to a boil. Add the onions about halfway through the cooking, or if using green onions or chives just drop them in for the last minute. Boil until the cabbage is just tender and drain well.

Preheat the oven to 375°F. Butter an 8″ x 8″ shallow baking dish.

When the potatoes are tender, drain and mash them with the salt, pepper, butter, and buttermilk. When the vegetables are ready, drain them as well and mix them in. Mix in about half of the grated cheese and press the mixture evenly into the prepared pan. Sprinkle the remaining cheese evenly over the top, and bake the casserole at 375°F for about 30 minutes, until the cheese is bubbling and lightly browned.

Last year at this time I made the utterly scrumptious Etta Ferguson’s Oat Cakes. EDIT – Whoops, said that already. Nevermind; they were good enough to mention twice.

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