Fair fa’ your honest, sonsie face,
Great Chieftan o’ the Puddin-race!
On Thursday evening, many people will raising a glass (of whisky, of course) to celebrate the life of Scottish poet Rabbie Burns. A typical celebration includes traditional Scottish dancing, reciting Burns poems and of course haggis. The haggis is accompanied by a piper, who “pipes in” the haggis while everyone in attendance stands and claps in time to the music. Then everyone sits down as the chosen speaker prepares to recite “address to a haggis.” The haggis is cut open to dramatic effect when the speaker says the words ‘an cut you up wi’ ready slight’ and a toast is then made to the haggis before serving.
If, like me, you haven’t been invited to a grand Burns Supper (boo!) then I have the perfect cosy, stay at home Burns Night supper for you – my haggis, neeps and tatties cottage pie. This is a re-working of another recipe – my haggis cottage pie. This is the new and improved version!
I love haggis too much to only have it once a year – this pie is perfect Winter comfort food! I serve it with either peas or green beans and if you want to really indulge, a jug of whisky cream sauce on the side – it’s rich but bloody heavenly!
Haggis, neeps and tattie cottage pie
Everyone in Scotland has their own way of making mince – this is the way I’ve been making it for years and my family love it. If you want to stick to your own recipe, please do!
500g minced beef
1 large onion, peeled and finely chopped
1 large carrot, peeled and finely diced
1 Oxo cube
1/2 tbsp plain flour
1/2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
Around 1/2-3/4pint beef stock (to be honest, I use Bisto)
Just over half of a 1.5 kg bag potatoes, peeled and cut into even sized pieces
1 small neep/turnip/swede, peeled and diced (or buy it ready mashed – I loathe cutting neeps!)
50-75g Butter for the mash, and a splash of milk
Place a large pan on the hob to heat. When the pan is hot, tip in the mince and cook until browned. Add the flour to the mince and cook for one minute. Crumble in the Oxo cube and add the onion and carrot. Add the worcestershire sauce, the beef stock, a little salt and pepper and simmer for 30-45 minutes.. Keep an eye on the pan so the mince doesn’t get too dry – you might need to add more stock. I often make the mince in advance, let it cool and pop in the fridge to save time later, plus I think it tastes better if it’s reheated later on or the next day.
Preheat the oven to 200C.
Place the tatties in a large pan of water.Bring to the boil, then turn the heat down and simmer for about 20 minutes until soft. Drain and mash with the butter and milk.
Place the diced neep in a pan of boiling water and cook for 20-25 minutes or until soft. Drain, add 1/2 tablespoon olive oil and mash well. Season with salt and plenty of freshly ground black pepper. *I’ve been informed by people in the know that a wee nip of whisky is a very good addition here. I’ve yet to try it, so let me know if you do!
Remove the haggis from its packaging.
Place the mince in an ovenproof dish, crumble the haggis the mince, top with the mashed neep, then finally top with the mashed tatties. Rough up the top with a fork to get those lovely crispy bits. Cook for 40-45 minutes or until bubbling and golden.