Burns Night: How to cook a Haggis..and more
If you are a regular of Craft it Bake it you may start to think that I’m a little bit obsessed with Haggis.. You would probably be right. Burns night, one of Scotland’s best known celebrations But there’s much more than Haggis to this annual event… Theres whiskey and men in skirts too!
So what is Burns Night?
Robert Burns (25 January 1759 – 21 July 1796) was a Scottish poet, and is often called the national poet of Scotland. He wrote many poems and songs, but most famous of all was “Auld Lang Syne”. As well as that, he was a true romantic (a little bit sexual to tell the truth) and had some wicked sideburns. Traditionally Scot’s host a ‘Burns Night’ to mark the birthday of their beloved poet on the 25th January. Whiskey, haggis, Whiskey, kilts, cards, and more Whiskey..these scots know how to have dinner!
How is it celebrated?
The traditional way to celebrate is with a ‘Burns Night Supper’. The running order is as follows:
‘The Selkirk Grace’ A short prayer in Scottish before the meal
First course consists of a Scottish soup such Cock-a-Leekie. This warm chicken-y soup is thickened with rice and Leeks, (it’s all in the name)
2 bay leaves
4 thyme sprigs
40g long grain white rice
75g soft stoned prunes, chopped
2 tbsp chopped flat leaf parsley
1. Chop the green ends from the leeks and put in a large saucepan with the chicken, bay leaves and thyme. Cover with 2.5 litres water, bring to the boil and simmer gently for 2 hours, skimming any scum from the surface.
2. Remove the chicken from the pan and set aside, then pass the poaching liquid through a fine sieve into a jug. Discard the leeks and herbs, return the liquid to the pan and boil for 15 minutes to reduce.
3. Cut the white part of the leeks into 1cm slices, then add to the pan with the rice and prunes. Simmer for a further 15 minutes.
4. Remove the meat from the chicken, discarding the skin and bones; shred the meat. Return the shredded chicken to the soup, heating through before serving. Season, then ladle the soup into bowls,scattering each with a little parsley.
For dessert Cranachan (this is where it gets tasty)
- 2 tbsp medium oatmeal
- 300g fresh British raspberries
- a little caster sugar
- 350ml double cream (we used Jersey double cream)
- 2 tbsp heather honey
- 2-3 tbsp whisky , to taste
- To toast the oatmeal, spread it out on a baking sheet and grill until it smells rich and nutty. It will not darken quickly, so use your sense of smell to tell you when it is nutty enough. Cool the oatmeal.
- Make a raspberry purée by crushing half the fruit and sieving. Sweeten this to taste with a little caster sugar. Whisk the double cream until just set, and stir in the honey and whisky, trying not to over-whip the cream. Taste the mix and add more of either if you feel the need.
- Stir in the oatmeal and whisk lightly until the mixture is just firm. Alternate layers of the cream with the remaining whole raspberries and purée in 4 serving dishes. Allow to chill slightly before eating.
Lastly are the toasts to Burns, to the host and to the lasses of the house (who traditionally cooked the meal) and a drunken verse of Auld Lang Syne ends it all off nicely!
So Scottish or not why not take on your very own burns night, whether it’s just you and a mini one (yes you can get these!) or a giant one with all the family, it’s a great excuse to get all cultural and lose your Haggis virginity! Did you now you can either steam, boil, or even microwave a haggis? And remember if you aren’t brave enough for the beast itself there’s so much more to try, hearty soups and cream with Whisky in, what could be better!