Celebrating Burns with Neeps and Tatties
Check out the earlier posts to refresh your memory on this year’s GBC Festival Feast, with our ‘12 dishes of Christmas’ .This is dish #8 and the final main course option. The next post will be the start of the desserts (what everyone’s been waiting for), but for now we’ve got a Scottish classic to round off a diverse menu with fantastic global influences.
Burns Night. A little late on the Christmas front, but this is a serious celebration meal, and still an event we associate with the festive season. ‘Burns Suppers’ as they are known, are carried out all over the country and there are even clubs devoted to holding these events. Formal dinners follow a set pattern and order with events such as the arrival of the haggis and the ‘address to the haggis’. There are also many toasts and speeches of appreciation including a ‘toast to the lassies’. The dinner is about the celebration of the life and works of poet Robert Burns, and it’s not just celebrated in Scotland, the New Zealand city of Dunedin also has a strong tradition of Burns Night as his nephew lived in the city.
A verse of the ‘address to the haggis:
But mark the Rustic, haggis fed,
The trembling earth resounds his tread.
Clap in his wallie nieve a blade,
He’ll mak it whistle;
An’ legs an’ arms, an’ heads will sned,
Like taps o’ thristle.
For the haggis
1 x 1 kg/2¼lb haggis
For the neeps and tatties
250g/9oz swede/turnip, cut into quarters
200g/7oz unsalted butter
1 tbsp double cream
salt and freshly ground black pepper
450g/1lb potatoes, quartered
200ml/7fl oz ready-made gravy, to serve
1. For the haggis, bring a large pan of water to the boil, carefully add the haggis, then reduce the heat to very low and simmer the haggis for 75 minutes, topping up with water if necessary.
2. Meanwhile, for the neeps and tatties, bring a separate pan of salted water to the boil, add the swede/turnip pieces and cook for 20-25 minutes, or until tender.
3. Drain well, then return to the pan, add half of the butter and all of the cream and mash until smooth. Season, to taste, with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Set aside and keep warm.
4. Bring the potato pieces to the boil in a separate pan of salted water, then reduce the heat and simmer for 20-25 minutes, or until tender.
5. Drain well, then return to the pan, add the remaining butter and mash until smooth. Season, to taste, with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Set aside and keep warm.
6. To serve, cut the haggis open and place 200-250g/7oz-9oz into the centre of each of four serving plates. Spoon the neeps and tatties alongside. Drizzle over the gravy.