I don’t think you need to have been born a Scot to celebrate Burns Night on January 25th – I’m not from Scotland but I was born on St Andrew’s Day, patron saint of Scotland, so that’s my tenuous link to the celebration! I’ve been to some full-on Burns Nights wearing my tartan sash with a real Piper piping in the haggis, the Burns poetry recital and all the speeches and it’s great fun but you have to get the food right! I’ve researched and road-tested this menu thoroughly and you won’t be disappointed. Tradition dictates that the haggis, neeps and tatties are served separately but I made them into a pie which was not only really delicious but also made it much easier to make ahead and spend more time with my guests. Similarly, the soup, pate and dessert can be made ahead and kept in the fridge until you’re ready to serve.
- To start: Cullen Skink, a creamy Scottish smoked haddock soup or Potted Haddie a smoked fish pate
- Main: Haggis Pie with Neeps and Tatties and Whisky Sauce
- Dessert: Cranachan – raspberries and cream
- Oatcakes and cheese such as Lanark Blue, St Andrews Cheddar, Strathearn or Anster
- Whisky for the toast
- For the stock
- 75g/2½oz butter
- 1 tbsp vegetable oil
- 2 leeks, roughly chopped
- 2 onions, peeled, roughly chopped
- 2 fennel bulbs, roughly chopped
For the soup
- 75g/2½oz butter
- 1 tbsp vegetable oil
- 2 leeks, finely chopped
- 2 shallots, peeled, finely chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, peeled, crushed
- 300g/10½oz potatoes, peeled, chopped
- 500ml/17½fl oz double cream
- 1 tbsp finely chopped fresh parsley
- pinch freshly grated nutmeg
- For the stock, heat the butter and vegetable oil in a large pan and gently fry the leeks, onions and fennel for 3-4 minutes, or until softened.
- Add the white wine to the pan and bring to the boil. Add the smoked haddock, pour in the water and bring back to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 30 minutes, skimming off any scum that rises to the surface, until the haddock is cooked through.
- Strain the haddock, reserving the cooking stock. Chop the haddock into bite-sized pieces.
- For the soup, heat the butter with the vegetable oil and fry the leeks, shallots and garlic for 3-4 minutes, or until softened. Add the potatoes and the chopped smoked haddock to the pan.
- Add the reserved cooking stock and bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 10-15 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender. Stir in the cream and briefly blend the soup with a stick blender.
- Serve the soup with crusty bread and sprinkle with the chopped fresh parsley and a sprinkling of freshly grated nutmeg.
- 500g undyed smoked haddock fillet
- 200g salted butter
- 1/2 tsp Madras curry powder
- 3 tbsps lemon juice
- Ground white pepper
- Watercress, lemon slices and sourdough toast to serve
- Place the haddock fillet in a large frying pan with 275ml boiling water, cover and poach them for about 5 minutes, then remove from the pan and drain thoroughly.
- Now skin the fish and flake the flesh into a food processor, discarding any stray bones. Add the melted butter and blend until smooth. Then empty the mixture into a bowl and season with ground white pepper. Stir in the curry powder and lemon juice to taste and fill six individual ramekins with the mixture.
- Cover with foil or clingfilm and put the dishes in the refrigerator so that the fish mixture firms up before serving. Spoon the capers on top and serve with lemon twists and watercress.
Haggis Pie with Neeps and Tatties with Whisky Sauce
- One large haggis – I used MacSweens
- 600g or 2 large swedes, peeled and cut into small even cubes
- Salt and white pepper
- 1.5kg potatoes
- 50ml milk
- 80g butter
- 50g grated Cheddar cheese
- Whisky sauce: 1 tbsp light oil, 25g butter, 700g onions, 1 tbsp plain flour, 200ml whisky, 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce, 1 tsp English mustard powder, 725 veg stock made with a Knorr gel stockpot and the cooking water from the swede
- If you make this ahead of time, ensure all the layers are cool, cover with clingfilm and then refrigerate until you need it. Remember to take it out of the fridge an hour before you want to reheat it so that the dish doesn’t crack.
- Cook the haggis according to the instructions on the pack. My MacSweens needed 31/2 hours in the oven at 160C wrapped in 3 layers of foil in an oven-proof dish with 2cm of water. As the haggis is cooked again in the pie, I cooked it for just 2 3/4 hours so as not to dry it out.
- To make the sauce, heat the oil and butter in a large saucepan. Add the onions and allow them to cook gently for 40 minutes or so until they have become soft and caramelised. Stir in the flour and add 150ml of the whisky. Keep stirring and then add the Worcester sauce, mustard powder and hot stock. Simmer gently for 20 minutes. Cool, blend with a stick blender to form a smooth sauce. Refrigerate until needed.
- Peel and cube the swede. Add to a pan and cover with lightly salted water. Bring to a boil and then simmer for 15 minutes until tender. Drain (keep the cooking liquid to make up the veg stock for the sauce). Mash with a knob of butter and season with white pepper.
- Peel and chop the potatoes into evenly-sized pieces and cook in boiling salted water until tender. Drain, allow the steam to completely evaporate. Mash with an electric hand whisk until smooth, adding the butter, milk and season with white pepper and salt to taste.
- Slit the haggis casing and spread evenly into a lightly buttered pie dish. Stir in 4 tablespoons of the whisky sauce. Add a layer of swede and then top with the mashed potato. Smooth the top and then rough it up with a fork. Sprinkle with grated cheese.
- Place the pie dish on a baking sheet and bake or reheat the pie at 200C for 45 to 50 minutes until the top is crusty and golden.
- Reheat the sauce gently with the remaining whisky before serving in a warmed jug with the haggis pie.
- Bring to the table to the sound of piping music!
- 50g caster sugar
- 120g oatmeal
- 350g bag of frozen raspberries plus 2 tbsps caster sugar
- 400ml double cream
- 1 tbsp runny honey (Scottish heather for preference)
- 3 tbsp Drambuie
- To make the caramelised oatmeal, put 50g caster sugar and 2 tablespoons of water in a small saucepan over a low heat and leave it for 5 minutes. Heat a large frying pan over a medium heat. Add the oatmeal until toasted; swirl it constantly for 5 minutes so it toasts evenly. Tip on to a baking sheet lined with greaseproof paper and leave to cool. By now the crystals is the sugar should have dissolved, so you can turn up the heat and let it boil (watch it very carefully) until it begins to turn a rich caramel colour, like runny honey. Stir in the oatmeal, remove it from the heat and pour back onto the baking parchment. Leave to cool for 15 minutes. Turn it onto a chopping board and chop coarsely with a heavy, flat-bladed knife.
- Meanwhile, add the raspberries to a pan over a medium heat with 2tbsps caster sugar. Cool once the fruit has broken down and puree with a stick blender until smooth. Pass through a sieve into a clean bowl making a thick coulis.
- Whip the cream to stiffish peaks, then fold in the honey and Drambuie. Add three quarters of the oatmeal to the cream. Taste to see if you want to add more Drambuie or honey.
- Line up six tall glass serving dishes. Add a tablespoon of raspberry coulis, a layer of cream, a layer of couples and another of cream. Top with the remaining oatmeal, a fresh raspberry and a drizzle of honey. Refrigerate until you’re ready to serve.
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