Are you celebrating the life of the Scottish bard this January? Dust off your tartan and get the party started with a traditional Burns Night menu.
Every year on 25 January, Scotland raises a glass in patriotic celebration of national bard, Robert Burns. If you’re attending a traditional party, expect poetry readings, dancing and even the odd toot of piped music, but central to the revelry is a hearty supper.
Burns Night menu
Love it or loathe it, haggis is the symbolic heart of Burns Night. Follow our guide to buying and cooking the perfect haggis. If you’re not lucky enough to live near a traditional Scottish butcher, you can lay your hands on traditional haggis online. It can be baked or boiled, and there are innumerate versions, from vegetarian to venison.
Clinking Scotch-filled drams is central to Burns Night and whisky can be used for cooking too. Heat double cream in a pan over a medium heat, then add a splash of whisky and simmer to burn off the alcohol.
This mixture of swede and potato is the mandatory Burns Night accompaniment to haggis. Our neeps & tatties recipe has quite a coarse finish and roasts the potatoes as well as boiling them. Others prefer to mash the two components down to a smooth purée, which works beautifully with the rough, oaty haggis. Leave it unadorned save for seasoning and a healthy knob of butter.
If you fancy breaking with convention, try our crispy neeps ‘n’ tatties cake, a take on a potato rosti that’s served in wedges. We can’t guarantee purists will approve, but it is similar to another Scottish dish called ‘clapshot’, so it’s not straying too far from tradition.
More whisky is called for in this traditional dessert of cream, fruit and oatmeal. We use heather honey in our recipe for extra authenticity. If you fancy stirring up debate among traditionalists, try our cranachan trifle or iced cranachan.
Alternative Highland menu ideas
Scotland is the birthplace of some excellent soups. Kick off proceedings with a smoked haddock soup – also known as cullen skink – cock-a-leekie, or barley broth. If haggis isn’t your thing, try our take on Scotch broth as a main course.
January is prime stew season, so try slow-cooking up something rich and saucy. Try to pick up some seasonal venison and braise with red wine, redcurrant jelly and swede, or try our Highland beef with pickled walnuts and pastry puffs.
Scottish chef Nick Nairn created this traditional skirlie mash recipe for us. The added oatmeal (or ‘skirlie’) provides a unique texture, and the onions and parsley make it not dissimilar to champ.
Selkirk Bannock, a delicious fruit loaf can be toasted and buttered or baked into bread and butter pudding, while traditional shortbread biscuits are very easy to make and can be given to guests as a little present to take home. We have lots of versions including jam-filled, chocolate, peppermint and cinnamon.
Do you celebrate Burns Night? What do you like to serve up? For more inspiration, take a look through our recipe collection.