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FOOD HOLIDAY: Scottish Fare On January 25, Burns Night


[1] The classic Scottish dish haggis is made of sheep organ meats cooked in a sheep’s stomach. Here’s the recipe from 196 Flavors (photo © 196 Flavors).


[2] Chefs can give haggis the gourmet treatment, as in this “gateau of haggis” with layers of cooked turnip. Here’s the recipe (photos #2 and #3 © The Haggis).


[3] You can buy cooked haggis in a can. There’s also a vegetarian version.


[4] Haggis in its own “cook-in-bag,” i.e., the sheep’s stomach. Here’s the history of haggis (photo © Historic U.K.).

 

In Scotland, January 25th is a national holiday that celebrates the birthday of the great romantic poet, Robert Burns, in 1759.

On Burns Night, family and friends gather for an evening of good food and company—much like our Thanksgiving.

A traditional Burns’ Supper is served.

So put on your best tartan, get out the bagpipe and plan your own Burns Night by gathering the crew for Scottish food and drink.

Read some of Burns’ most popular poems:

  • Auld Lang Syne
  • A Red, Red Rose
  • To a Louse
  • To a Mouse
  • Tam O’Shanter
  • Ae Fond Kiss…
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    … and perhaps most appropriate to the occasion…

  • Address to a Haggis
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    Don’t forget the bagpipe music!
     
     
    BURNS NIGHT DINNER MENU

    Cook up these traditional Scottish dishes:

  • For starters, serve Scottish salmon and/or smoked haddock (called Arbroath smokie, after the east coast fishing town of Arbroath).
  • As a main course, consider Scotch pies—individual pot pies traditionally filled with mutton, but now generally made with beef (beef pies are available from Twin Hens). Beef, lamb and almost any seafood—crab, lobster, mussels, scallops or shrimp, for example—will also do nicely. Or, send someone out to shoot a grouse or pheasant.
  • Haggis: It’s not easy to make haggis, a delicacy that’s a tasty mixture of sheep’s offal, boiled, minced and mixed with beef suet and toasted oatmeal that’s boiled inside the sheep’s stomach. But if your family and friends are adventurous, you can find it online.
  • For veggies, make colcannon, a dish popular in the Western Islands of Scotland (as well as in Ireland). Boil cabbage, carrots, turnip and potatoes; drain and stew for about 20 minutes in a pan with butter, salt and pepper.
  • Stovie tatties, a.k.a. stovies, is a potato-based dish, designed to use left over meat and vegetables. Diced onions are cooked in beef fat along with leftover beef and vegetables (typically carrots and peas). Water is added to the pan, and then diced potatoes are added and simmered until soft.
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    WHAT’S FOR DESSERT

  • Fruitcake. Black bun is a dark, rich fruitcake, chock-full of currants, raisins, finely-chopped orange peel and chopped almonds, spiced with cinnamon and ginger.
  • Shortbread. Shortbread and tea is always a crowd pleaser—and you can just open a box of cookies.
  • Ice cream. While not a Scottish tradition, we make it Scottish by pouring a jigger of Scotch whisky over vanilla ice cream. Or make it a brownie sundae, with some whisky baked into the brownies.
  • Whisky* chocolates. Again, not traditional; but every January, chocolatier Larry Burdick makes a limited edition of fine chocolates blended with Scotch whiskeys.
  •  
    > Check out the history of shortbread.
     
     
    HOW ABOUT A SCOTCH TASTING?

    Instead of preparing dinner, an easier celebration might be to invite everyone for a Scotch tasting.

  • How about a Scotch and chocolate tasting?
  • Or, go straight for it: How to plan a Scotch tasting.
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    ________________

    *In Scotland, the spirit is spelled whisky. In Ireland, it’s whiskey. Why? An old story is that Scotland wanted to distinguish its spirit from the Irish version, which preceded it. Here’s more about it.

      




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