Scottish Rumbledethumps With Leek and Kale

by Emily Kemme
Scottish Rumbledethumps with Leeks and Kale

No, this is not a recipe to create thunder and lightening. Sorry. I’m fresh out on that one. While rumbledethumps sound like a word more likely to be found in a nursery rhyme — some well-meaning, lovable oaf who trips over his shoelaces, possibly — this is also not a recipe to cook up oafs.

Similar to colcannon (Irish) and bubble-and-squeak (British), this beloved concoction of mashed potatoes and turnips combined with a bit of garlic, leeks and chopped kale is the United Kingdom’s version of a twice-baked potato. There isn’t a cuisine in the world without a potato bake of some sort, and it seems each one of them must label it in their own inimitable way. For all I know there are competitions somewhere for the most outlandish word for smashed potatoes and veggies all mushed together and browned.

I think it’s brilliant world roadmap, a sort of gastronomical travel guide. The other cool thing is rumbledethumps are easy to make, freeze well and pair with everything from salmon to chicken to roast beef. Or top with a fried egg for breakfast du jour. They even have vegetables in them. Kind of.

Scottish Rumbledethumps with Leeks and Kale

Although the primary ingredient in a rumbledethump is the potato, trace amounts of leeks and kale make an appearance. The carrots are for the peas-and-carrots side dish, an easy boil-up while the rumbledethumps are baking.

Scottish Rumbledethumps With Leek and Kale Recipe

1 1/2 lb red potatoes, peeled and quartered

1/2 lb turnips, peeled and quartered

3 garlic cloves, peeled of papery skin

pinch of salt

2 T unsalted butter

1/4 cup milk

1 leek, end trimmed, white and light green parts only, minced

2 cups minced kale leaves, tough stems discarded, leaves finely chopped

2 T olive oil

Heat the oven to 400°F.

Place potatoes, turnips and garlic cloves in large pot and cover with water about 2 inches above vegetables. Add a pinch of salt. Bring to boil and lower heat, simmering until vegetables are fork tender.

Note: I’m pretty sure this is the “rumble” part. The root veggies rumble and tumble in the pot as they cook.

Drain water from pot. Add butter and milk. Mash veggies.

Note: I’m pretty sure this is the “thump” part.

Warm olive oil in sauté pan. Add leek and kale and cook, stirring, until softened. Season with salt and pepper. Gently mix into mashed potato mixture.

Spoon mixture into greased muffin tin or silicone muffin baking cups, about 2/3 up the side of each cup.

Scottish Rumbledethumps with Leeks and Kale

Rumbledethumps in individual muffin cups are nice for leftovers and make pretty, individual servings. But you can also bake the entire mash in a casserole dish, if you prefer.

Bake until golden brown, about 30 minutes.

Pop rumbledethumps out onto plates to serve.

Serve with pan-seared salmon fillets and boiled peas, carrots and leeks.

Scottish Rumbledethumps with Leeks and Kale

Rumbledethumps are a wonderful accompaniment for roast beef and chicken, or a quick pan-fried salmon fillet, shown here.

Remy Pannier VouvrayEven a down to earth dinner deserves a classy wine. Wine educator Stephanie Davis suggests a Vouvray, a style of white wine from the Loire Valley of France that she believes doesn’t get enough love in the USA. Made from the Chenin Blanc grape, Vouvray makes friends with most people, according to Stephanie, because it often has a touch of sweetness to it. There is a subtle balance of sugar and vibrant acidity. Golden brown potato goodness — aka, rumbledethumps — chaperoned by a salmon fillet and fragrant veggies would surely be pleased with a glass of Remy Pannier Vouvray. You’ll like the price too, at $15/bottle.

Award-winning author Emily Kemme writes about human nature, illuminating the everyday in a way that highlights its brilliance. Follow her on her blog, Feeding the Famished,, or on Twitter @EmFeedsYou . Life inspired. Vodka tempered.

Interested in Drinking the Knock Water: A New Age Pilgrimage? Find it on Amazon and in Indie bookstores.

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