Burns Night is a traditional Scottish celebration commemorating the life and work of the 18th century bard Robert Burns. The first supper took place in July 1801 and was held by some of his closest friends to mark the 5th anniversary of his death. After the success of this occasion it was decided that it would be made into an annual event and the date was subsequently moved to his birthday (25th January). Incorporating readings of his work, speeches in his memory and traditional bagpipe music serving as the soundtrack to the evening Burns Night is a true celebration of this Scottish legend.
Arguably though, the main event of this supper is the menu. Traditionally, a starter of cock-a-leekie (chicken) soup is followed by haggis, neeps (swede) and tatties (potatoes) and then polished off with a dessert of clootie dumpling (spiced steamed pudding). A cheeseboard with bannocks (oatcakes) is brought out after the main event and there is always plenty of whisky to wash it all down.
When it comes to tatties we know a thing or two and the best variety to use for a Burns Night supper is Arran Victory*. Bred in 1918 on the Isle of Arran off the West coast of Scotland this vibrant, purple skinned variety has a beautifully white, fluffy flesh making it perfect for mashing and continuing the strong Scottish ties of this event. We’re serving up a slight alternative to the traditional Burns supper for you this year though with a recipe for Haggis Shepherd’s Pie. All of the core elements are still included they’re just cooked together to make a delicious, warming and filling meal; perfect for this time of year. With vegetarian haggis also available (suitable for vegans) this is an easy, versatile dish, let us know what you think!
Haggis Shepherd’s Pie
Cooking Time: 1 hour
500g Arran Victory potatoes
2 tbsp Morghew rapeseed oil
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, minced
500g haggis (original or vegetarian)
400ml vegetable stock
200g frozen peas
Knob of butter (optional)
Splash of milk (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 180°C (160°C fan or Gas Mark 4).
- Peel the potatoes and swede and cut into roughly even sized chunks. Put in a pan on the hob with a pinch of salt and boil until tender for approx. 15 minutes.
- In a frying pan heat the oil and gently cook the onion and garlic over a low heat until they start to brown.
- Crumble the haggis into the pan and add the vegetable stock and peas. Simmer for 10-15 minutes, or until the mixture begins to thicken up and the peas are tender.
- When the potatoes and swede are cooked drain the excess water and mash thoroughly, adding the butter and milk as required (for a vegan option this can be substituted by adding rapeseed oil to the mash, this makes it deliciously buttery but keeps it dairy free).
- Transfer the haggis mixture into an oven safe baking dish and top with the mashed potato and swede mix. You can be inventive with the finish, either lightly dragging a fork over the mash to create ridges or fluffing up the surface with a spoon.
- Place in the oven and cook for 30 minutes, or until golden brown and crispy. Serve warm, preferably with a wee dram of Scottish whisky!
The Selkirk Grace
Some hae meat and cannae eat
Some wad eat that want it.
But we hae meat and we can eat
Sae let the Lord be thankit.
*use code BURNS19 at the checkout to receive 20% off a 5kg box of Arran Victory when you order online. Offer valid until 25th January 2019.