As the windswept moors of Scotland whisper the tales of yore, we find ourselves wrapped in the warmth of a cherished tradition – the Burns Night Supper. Held in honour of Scotland's most beloved bard, Robert Burns, this celebration transcends time with poetry, merriment, and, of course, the much-anticipated feast. Today, we pay homage to this tradition with a recipe that stays true to its roots while adding a luxurious touch – a homemade whisky gravy.
Swede (rutabaga), 500g, peeled and chopped
Potatoes, 500g, peeled and chopped
Butter, 100g, divided
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
Fresh chives, for garnish
For the Whisky Gravy:
Shallots, 2, finely chopped
Garlic clove, 1, minced
Unsalted butter, 50g
Scotch whisky, 50ml
Beef stock, 500ml
Worcestershire sauce, 1 tbsp
Dijon mustard, 1 tsp
Plain flour, 1 tbsp
Salt and pepper, to taste
Preparation Time: 20 minutes
Cooking Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Begin your culinary adventure by preheating the oven to 180°C (350°F, gas mark 4). Lovingly wrap your haggis in foil and nestle it into an ovenproof dish. Pour in water until it reaches halfway up the side of your haggis, creating a snug bath. Allow it to cook for 75 minutes, reaching an internal temperature of at least 74°C (165°F).
Neeps and Tatties
While your haggis enjoys its oven spa, turn your attention to the neeps and tatties. Boil them in separate pots with a pinch of salt until they yield to the gentle press of a fork – about 25 minutes for the neeps and 20 minutes for the tatties.
Drain your vegetables and mash them with the affection of a Scottish granny, adding in the remaining butter, a dash of salt, and a whisper of pepper.
In a pan that's seen many a tale, melt the butter and cook the shallots and garlic until they sing of sweetness. Dust in the flour and stir with purpose. With a flourish, add the whisky – stand back and admire the sizzle. Pour in the beef stock, add the Worcestershire sauce and the Dijon mustard, and then let the potion simmer into a thick, velvet gravy. For the final act, strain this nectar of the gods for smoothness that rivals the lochs of the Highlands.
Plate with the pride of Scotland – a foundation of tatties, a heart of haggis, and a crown of neeps. Anoint with the whisky gravy and sprinkle with chives.
Accompany this regal dish with a side of buttery kale or braised red cabbage. And, in the spirit of Burns, raise a glass of the finest Scotch to toast – Slàinte mhath!
With this sumptuous feast, you're not just serving a meal; you're partaking in a legacy. Each bite is a stanza; each taste is a line of poetry that celebrates the rich tapestry of Scottish culture. So, as the January chill deepens, let your kitchen be your haven, your table your stage, and this meal your ode to the great Robert Burns.