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Burns Night Supper: Haggis with Wonderful Whisky Sauce

I know haggis is not for everyone but we love it. I am devoted to the Simon Howie brand that is so tasty, perfectly balanced with a little spicy edge to it. Served with this simply sumptuous sauce and the haggis is worth celebrating all by itself! Then you get the Neep & Tattie Mash with Parsley and Walnuts, adding an unexpectedly delicious dimension to the meal. Serve with a wee dram – an aged single malt if you can run to it. What a lovely supper – I don’t think we are going to wait for Mr. Burns birthday before we have this again though!!!!

Serves 4 – 6

What you need…

2 x 454g Haggis, (we love the Simon Howie Scottish butcher brand)

30g butter

2 large shallots, finely chopped

250ml whisky (not expensive)

1 litre hot water from the kettle

2 x beef stockpots (I use Knorr)

4 teaspoons Dijon mustard

200ml double cream

for the mash

700g swede, peeled and chunked

650g potatoes, peeled and chunked

125g turnips, peeled and chunked

1 tablespoon butter

Sea salt and black pepper

25g fresh parsley

50g walnut pieces

Grated zest of 1 lemon

100ml olive oil

What to do…

Cook both of the haggis according to the packet instructions – mine were to wrap in foil and pop in boiling water, cover and simmer for 45 minutes.

Meanwhile, bring a large saucepan of salted water to the boil and add the swede. Cook for 5 minutes then add the potatoes and turnips. Bring back to the boil and cook for 15 minutes or until the vegetables are soft. Drain. Return the vegetables to the saucepan, add the butter, season and either mash or whisk. Pop the lid back on and keep warm.

In a mini chopper, chop the walnuts finely, add the parsley and chop again. Tip in the lemon, pour in the oil and whizz the lot together. Set aside.

Whilst the veg is bubbling along, you can make the fan-dabby-dozi sauce. Melt the butter in medium pan over a moderate heat. Add the shallots and cook for 5 minutes, stirring frequently, until soft and golden. Increase the heat and add the whisky. Simmer for 5 – 10 minutes until reduced by three-quarters.

Dilute the beef stockpots into the hot water with the aid of a balloon whisk to create your beef stock. Pour the stock into the shallots and whisky, add the Dijon mustard and simmer for 10 minutes or until reduced by three-quarters again. Add the cream, bring to a simmer and remove from the heat. Season, taste, adjust seasoning if needed. Set aside and keep warm.

Once your haggis’ are cooked, remove from the pan, discard the foil and peel back the plastic pouch. Cut the haggis into lovely chunky slices and serve onto warmed plates. Swirl the parsley and walnut oil into the mash or serve the mash and drizzle it over the top. Try not to be greedy and share the sauce between you all nicely.

Taste, enjoy, take a sip of your chosen wee dram. Repeat until plate and glass are both empty – shame!

Inspired by…

The birth of Robert Burns and then the Waitrose Weekend magazine!

How easy…

The haggis cooks itself, the sauce is a total joy to prepare and the mash is, well mash – not hard is it?

Haggis, Neeps and Tatties with Whisky Sauce and Asparagus Parcels

Burns Night Supper! Over the years, we’ve been to many a Burns night bash and the food has ranged from appalling to mediocre – rarely better than that. And until this evening, I always thought that whisky was harsh and horrible: a horror that needed to be dispensed with in the name of tradition as fast as possible. Tonight however, we stayed in and did this fabulous take on the Burns Night fare. The haggis dish was waaaaaaay better than I could possibly have hoped for and met with considerable enthusiasm all around the table. We are DEFINITELY having this again – I would recommend it highly, Burns Night or not. And then there was the whisky. I unearthed a bottle that has remained untouched since John’s 60th birthday and WOW! sheer nectar. That said, it was a Knockando Single Malt, aged 12 years. It was a gift – I’m not looking up the cost but it finished off this delightful meal perfectly!

Serves 4

What you need…

for the asparagus parcels

One flat baking tray, lightly oiled

8 asparagus spears, trimmed

2 slices prosciutto di parma

Sea salt and black Pepper

Just a little Parmesan cheese, grated

for the whisky sauce

Knob butter

1 shallot, finely chopped

2 tablespoons whisky (any old blended, not the Knockando!!!)

2 teaspoons wholegrain mustard

200ml water

1 beef stock pot (I use Knorr)

80ml double cream

Sea salt and black pepper for seasoning

for the haggis

1 x cookie cutter (slightly larger than the diametre of the haggis) lightly oiled

1 Haggis (I love the ‘Simon Howie, the Scottish Butcher’, it’s slightly spicy and very yummy).

8 potatoes, peeled and halved

125g butter

Splash milk

4 turnips, peeled and halved

6 carrots, peeled and cut into chunks

What to do…

To prepare the asparagus parcels, poach the asparagus in boiling, salted water for 2 minutes. Drain and cool to the point that they are easy to handle.

Lay out one slice of Parma ham. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and Parmesan and then cut in half lengthways.

Using one ‘half slice’ of Parma ham, place two asparagus spears at one end and roll up so the Parma ham is the wrapping around your asparagus. Place on your baking tray. Repeat with the remaining asparagus and Parma ham so that you have four asparagus bundles – one each – they’re just a garnish, really.

Pop them in the fridge until you are nearly ready to serve.

You can also pre-prepare the sauce. Using a balloon whisk dissolve the stock pot into the water. Set aside. Melt the butter over a moderate heat and gently fry the shallots for 10 minutes. Add the wholegrain mustard and mix in well. Pour in the beef stock and bring to the boil. Add the whisky, boil for another minute to remove the alcohol and then turn the heat down and simmer gently for 10 minutes. Remove from the heat. Allow to cool for a few minutes, then gradually stir in the cream. Set aside until nearly ready to serve.

To cook the haggis, follow the boiling instruction that comes with it. In my case, it is simply to pop the haggis into a saucepan, bring to the boil and simmer gently for 45 minutes – couldn’t be easier.

Preheat your oven to 200°c / 400°f / gas 6.

In one saucepan, bring your potatoes to the boil in salted water and then simmer for 20 minutes or until soft. Likewise, in another saucepan, bring your turnips and carrots to the boil and then simmer for 20 minutes or until soft.

To the potatoes, add 75g butter and the splash of milk and either mash or use a handheld electric whisk to cream the potatoes. Taste and season until it suits you. Pop the lid on to keep warm.

To the turnips and carrot, add 50g butter and similarly, mash or cream with a whisk. Taste and season until it suits you. Pop the lid on to keep warm.

Pop your asparagus in the oven for 4-5 minutes whilst you assemble the dish.

Put your whisky sauce on a moderate heat to warm through.

Drain the haggis and cut it into nice chunky slices.

For each serving, place your cookie cutter, in the centre of the plate and squash into it the creamed potato, filling the cookie cutter two thirds of the way up. Top up with the turnip and carrot mixture. Gently lift the cookie cutter away, wipe over with kitchen roll and run olive oil around the inside again with your finger and repeat the process for each of the other servings. Top your stacks with a chunky slice of haggis and then an asparagus parcel.

Pour the sauce into a jug and serve at the table. Enjoy this wonderful dish of haggis, neeps and tatties with whisky sauce and asparagus parcels with or without any of the other traditions. We just needed an excuse to find a great haggis recipe – enjoy!

Tip…

Rather than finely chopping shallots, I use Cooks’ Ingredients Handful of Chopped Shallots. Frozen and in a foil bag, I just shake into the saucepan roughly the right quantity – dead easy!

Inspired by…

Well…. a bit of a collection of ideas thrown together. I saw an image of one version of the ‘stack’ on the Ocado website and that was enough to get me going. I already had the recipe for the asparagus parcels (previously blogged as a canapé) and the sauce is my own – made up on the spur of the moment and I have to say, rather lovely!

How easy…

Very easy! All the elements kinda cook themselves. I like that the prep on the asparagus and sauce can be done in advance so you’re not juggling like crazy at the end.