Next Thursday, Scotland will celebrate Burns Night and a large proportion of the population will sit down to a Burns Night supper to celebrate the birth of the country’s favourite poet, Robert (Rabbie) Burns.
Given our propensity to piggyback on other country’s celebrations (I give you St Patrick’s Day as the perfect example) no doubt many people in other parts of the UK will also take part.
But that’s no bad thing given it gives us the opportunity to sample some of Scotland’s finest food, and yes, we are including haggis in that.
We venture that the reason most people who haven’t eaten haggis is down to what it contains, rather than how it tastes. Granted, sheep’s heart, liver and lungs encased in its stomach is probably not to everyone’s fancy, but in this respect, you must trust us when we say it tastes absolutely nothing like it sounds.
Do you know that haggis is illegal in the United States and has been since 1971? This is because the US Department of Agriculture has decreed that ‘no food for human consumption whether made locally in the USA or imported from overseas can contain sheep’s lung’.
So, our cousins across the Pond will be missing out on Thursday but there’s no reason why you need to as well. So, back to the taste. We say forget about what’s in it, unless you are a vegetarian of course but in this case veggie haggis is available and pretty good, and give it a try.
If you do, it is the other ingredients – onion, oatmeal, suet, spices and stock – which really bring the dish to life. What you will experience is a lovely nutty, crumbly texture and a deliciously spicy savoury flavour.
When served with the traditional turnips and potatoes, or neeps and tatties, there’s nothing better, trust us!
We have gone full Burns Night in the SK kitchen this year and prepared a full three-course menu for you lucky people.
Starter – Cullen skink with ravioli of leeks and smoked haddock
150g smoked haddock loin cut into two
For the ravioli:
• Medium leek
• 250g of smoked haddock
• 1 egg white
• 25g chopped chives
For the sauce
• 150g potato puree
• 55g parmesan cheese
• 200g single cream
• 16g chicken stock powder
• 25g butter
• 60g smoked haddock trimmings
To create the ‘ravioli’ chop 6 1-inch rondels (in rounds) of leek that are blanched and with their middles removed. Set aside the outer – this will form the ‘leek pockets’ for the ravioli. Finely chop the middles of the leeks and combine the smoked haddock and the egg white and blend until smooth, fold in chives and place in a piping bag.
Pipe the filling into the leek pockets and stand them up like little chimneys on a microwavable plate.
For the sauce place all ingredients in pan with 150 ml of water and bring to boil and then set aside to cool slightly and then using a stick blender foam up to lighten the sauce and achieve lots of foamy bubbles. It will achieve a slightly thick sauce but light.
Poach the smoked haddock in milk and microwave leek ravioli for 130 secs (for 850w). Once cooked place into bowl, two lying down and one standing up, place loin piece on the two lying and then foam up sauce and cover the fish and garnish with deep fried leeks (optional)
Main – Haggis wellington, neeps and tatties
For the Haggis wellington:
• 400g of haggis
• 200g of wild mushroom duxelle (25g butter, 1 tbsp veg oil, 2 shallots’ 8 wild mushrooms and 2 tbsp cream)
• 300g ready rolled puff pastry
• Egg wash (beaten egg)
For the neeps & tatties:
• 200g swede
• Pinch of turmeric
• 2 large potatoes
• Knob of butter
Roll the haggis to achieve a uniformed tube shape set in fridge 2-3 hours.
Once chilled place a puff pastry sheet down and spread the mushroom mixture all over then place the tube of haggis on top roll up to get a uniformed tube of wellington. Set aside for 25 mins in fridge to rest, take out and egg wash heavily to get a nice glaze. Bake in a hot oven at 220C for approx. 22 mins or until golden brown colour all over and then rest before slicing into 4 equal pieces.
Cut the swede into triangles or squares and cook in slight turmeric water until tender.
For the tatties (potato fondants); cut potato into disks around the size of a hockey puck place into pan with water just covering the top and butter in pan. Cook on high until the water has reduced to a quarter left and is cooked through and the bottom of potato has a nice golden colour and the rest of the potato stays relatively white, set aside to rest and leave 20 mins.
Plating up suggestion:
Warm up the slice of wellington, with two neeps and one fondant potato and then serve with a whisky infused brown chicken jus.
Dessert – Iced Cranachan parfait with fresh raspberries and toasted whisky oats.
Ingredients (serves 4-6):
115g egg whites at room temp
425g Caster sugar
450g double cream
400g Scottish oats
100 ml good quality Scottish whisky
400g fresh raspberries (retain a few for garnish)
30g icing sugar
100 ml water
Juice of half a lemon
In a dry pan toast the oats until golden, cool, then mix in the whisky and set aside.
Whip the egg whites to a soft peak then shower in 225g of the caster sugar and keep whisking till you get a thick and glossy meringue. Transfer to a separate bowl. Whip the cream till thick and soft peaked.
Using the icing sugar, lemon juice and the fresh raspberries puree together and pass through a fine sieve to get rid of the seeds. Put aside 200g for garnish.
In the bowl with the meringue, gently fold together the meringue, cream, 200g of the raspberry puree and 120g of the whisky oats. Then freeze in a rubber baking tray over night or until hard.
With the left-over oats spread layer on a baking tray then using the left over 200g of caster sugar and the 100ml of water boil in a pan until the mixture starts to caramelise. Once golden carefully pour over the oats trying to keep it as thin as possible. Allow to cool and go hard.
With a hot sharp knife portion the parfait into 6 equal portions, break up the caramelised oats into nice pieces, put the raspberries on top of the parfait and spoon on the puree finish with piece of caramelised oats.