On the 25th of January every year, Scotts and their descendants around the world pay tribute to the life and works of Scottish poet Robert Burns via The Burns’ Supper.
Friends of Robert Burns started this annual memorial event a few years after his death, little knowing it would become the global tradition we know today.
The Burns’ Supper food.
Burns’ Supper food is really very basic, seasonal, inexpensive fare consisting of Haggis, neaps (turnip) and tatties (Potatoes), the latter of which are always served mashed. (Haggis wi’ bashit neeps an’ champit tatties).
The haggis, referred to by Burns himself as ‘great chieftain o’ the puddin’-race’ is basically sheep intestine stuffed with lamb heart / lung mixed with
beef or lamb meat, oatmeal, onion and spices. This is widely available from your local butcher or supermarket pre cooked. Vegetarian versions are also available.
A hearty Cullen Skink makes a good alternative for those who prefer fish.
The Haggis is served piping hot with mashed potato, turnip and a bit of gravy.
A fairly elaborate ceremony surrounds the presenting, cutting and serving of the haggis which at relatively formal events is usually carried ceremonially into the room on a silver platter accompanied by the chef, the person who will address the haggis, a whisky bearer and a piper.
Guests stand whilst the Haggis is then addressed with the recital of a poem by Robert Burns called ‘Address Tae the Haggis‘ and ceremonially cut open
before being served to those present.
Other traditional poems and verses are recited during this event.
Burn’s Supper Starters
Excellent starters for the Burn’s supper, would be a traditional home made soup, such as Cock-a-leekie or Scots Broth served with some sour dough bread. Again, these are easy to buy and very inexpensive and easy to make.
Burn’s Supper Puddings (sweets)
The Scottish also have some puddings or sweets unique to the islands, so you could consider serving;
Cranachan (Crowdie Cream)
Clootie Dumpling – a suet/fruit pudding prepared in a linen cloth or (cloot)
Tipsy Laird – Scottish sherry trifle.
Cheeseboard with bannocks (oatcakes) tea and coffee. There are plenty of wonderful Scottish cheeses to choose from.
Burns’ night drinks
The national drink of Scotland is Whisky and is undoubtedly the drink of choice for Burns’ night but Ales (Scottish ones of course) and medium to full bodied red wines will go well with the meat too.
Make your own Haggis – BBC Good Food Haggis recipe
Cullen Skink – A smoked Haddock chowder
Haggis Neeps and Tatties – Recipe for you Burn’s Night main course.
Clootie Dumpling recipe
Tipsy Laird recipe
Scottish Cheeses – A list of Scottish cheeses and suppliers.