Burns Night Supper: recipes to throw a Scottish supper in style
Founder of Blue Strawberry, Molly Ronan, shares what she will be cooking for her Burns Night Supper
‘Some have meat and cannot eat, some cannot eat that want it; but we have meat, and we can eat, sae let the Lord be thankit’
Most people, although they may be unaware of it, love to attend Burns Night Suppers. The idea is to eat haggis, read Burns, and drink whisky (not necessarily in that order!) All that’s needed is a place to gather, plenty of haggis and neeps to go around, a master of ceremonies, friendly celebrants and a good Scotch drink to keep you warm! Play some Scottish music in the background and it is fun to ask your guests to wear a little tartan somewhere!
Haggis is Scotland’s most famous dish, made of oats, spices and sheep offal encased in a stomach lining. It may not be to everyone’s taste – there are very good quality vegetarian haggis available, too! This is traditionally served with mashed swede (known as neeps) with lots of butter and potatoes (known as tatties). Whisky sauce is poured on top, which can be anything from a simple shot of flambéed whisky to a whisky-infused cream sauce.
Starters and desserts can be your own choice so long as there is some whisky involved in the dessert!
Here is my suggestion for a lovely Burns Night dinner that is not so traditional but includes all elements. You will need time to do this and everything can be prepared the day before other than cooking the grouse breasts.
Pine- scented roast partridge, haggis, neeps ‘n’ tatties croquettes, whisky sauce
- 4 partridge, including giblets
- 500g of duck fat
- 1 tbsp of olive oil
- 1 tbsp of butter
- Ask your butcher to remove the wings and legs – you should be left with the breast attached to the breast bone.
- 50ml of vegetable oil
- 50g of butter
- 8 shallots, peeled and sliced
- 2 sprigs of fresh thyme
- 8 black peppercorns, crushed
- 5 juniper berries
- 2 bay leaves
- 100ml of whisky,
- 2ltr brown chicken stock
- 1 handful of foraged Douglas fir pine (optional)
Haggis, neeps ‘n’ tatties croquette
- 50ml of vegetable oil
- 1 carrot, peeled and finely diced
- 1 swede, peeled and finely diced
- 150g of haggis
- 50g of mashed potatoes
- 1/2 tsp fresh parsley, finely chopped
- plain flour
- egg, beaten
- pinhead oatmeal
- vegetable oil, for shallow-frying
- 2 large swedes, peeled and finely diced
- 250g of butter
- 1/2 tsp ground mace
- 1/4 tsp ground cloves
Heat the vegetable oil in a pan, add the partridge legs and brown all over to seal. Remove and set aside. Add the reserved grouse bones and giblets to the pan and allow to caramelise. Once golden, add the butter, continue to caramelise until well-coloured then remove the bones. Add the shallots, herbs and spices to the pan and slowly caramelise as well. Deglaze the pan with the whisky then add the stock. Return the bones to the pan and bring to a simmer.
Add the browned partridge legs and slowly braise in the stock for approximately 1 hour, or until tender and coming away from the bone. When the legs are tender, allow to cool in the stock then remove and pick the meat from the bones (this meat will be used to make the croquettes). Pass the sauce through a fine sieve and reduce until thickened to a sauce consistency. Season to taste.
Measure out 100ml of the sauce for the croquettes and reduce this further until you end up with 25ml. Reserve the rest of the sauce with a few fir sprigs added to infuse.
For the haggis, neeps ‘n’ tatties croquettes, add the oil to a pan and sweat the diced carrot and swede for 8–10 minutes. In a separate hot pan, caramelise the haggis in a little more oil until golden in colour. Remove the haggis from the pan and combine in a bowl with the vegetables, mashed potato, parsley, reduced 25ml of sauce and the picked meat from the grouse legs (you should have about 50g). Mix well and adjust the seasoning to taste. Allow the mixture to cool, then roll into small balls (roughly 35g each) and place on a baking tray or plate to firm up in the fridge.
For the swede purée, add the butter to a pan with the diced swede and sweat until softened without browning. Once soft, blend to a smooth purée with the spices and season to taste.
Remove the firm croquettes from the fridge and roll first in the flour, then dip in the egg and finally in the rolled oats to coat. Fry until crisp and golden, turning to get an even colour. Drain any excess oil on kitchen towel and season.
Heat the olive oil and butter in a hot pan, season the grouse with salt and pepper and seal all over until golden brown. Transfer to the oven and cook at 180ºC/Gas mark 4 for 4-8 minutes depending on the size of the bird. Leave to rest in a warm place.
To serve – carve the partridge breasts into long slices and place on some purée with a croquette with sauce on the side and perhaps a dram of whisky also on the side!
Option – Place 24 blackberries into the sauce at the last minute just to warm through.
To finish – Raspberry and Cream Cranachan
- 60g of oatmeal
- 100g fresh raspberries
- 1 tbsp of icing sugar
- black pepper, freshly ground, to taste
- 100g fresh raspberries
- 600ml of double cream whipped
- 1/2 vanilla pod
- 4 tbsp of clear runny honey
- 3 tbsp of malt whisky
Blend 100 g raspberries with icing sugar and black pepper to make raspberry purée. Fold into whipped cream and mix until you have a ripple effect. Scrape out the contents of the vanilla pod and fold into the cream before folding in the honey and malt whisky. Spoon some raspberries into the bottom of the glasses then add the cream mixture. Top with more raspberries and finish with a sprinkling of toasted oatmeal.