Celebrate Burns Night with traditional Scottish dishes

Celebrate Burns Night with traditional Scottish dishes

January 21, 2023

Have a bonny Burns Night! Celebrate the legendary poet with traditional Scottish dishes – and a wee dram of whisky to wash it all down

Every year Scotland’s most famous poet Robert Burns is toasted on Burns Night – this year it falls on Wednesday.

Celebrate the legendary poet with traditional Scottish dishes – and a wee dram of whisky to wash it all down…



Serves 4-6

  • 150g (5½oz) pearl barley 
  • 750ml (1¼pt) vegetable stock 
  • 150g (5½oz) pinhead oats (see tip) 
  • 2tbsp olive oil 1 large onion, finely chopped 
  • 150g (5½oz) mushrooms, chopped 
  • A sprig of fresh rosemary or thyme 
  • 2 large carrots, grated 
  • 180g pack cooked chestnuts, chopped 1tsp 
  • Marmite 1tsp ground nutmeg Freshly ground black pepper 
  • 1 large savoy cabbage 30g (1oz) butter

To serve

  • Roasted carrots and parsnips
  • Vegetable gravy 

Place the pearl barley and vegetable stock in a pan and simmer for 30 minutes, until just cooked through. The stock should become absorbed, but top up with a little water if the pan becomes dry. Meanwhile, cook the oats in a pan of boiling water for 20 minutes, until just cooked. Drain and rinse.

Cook’s tip 

If you can’t find pinhead oats, substitute with a 250g pack of cooked puy lentils instead.

Heat the oil in a large pan and cook the onion, mushrooms and herbs for 6-8 minutes, until softened. Add the carrots and chestnuts; cook for 5 minutes. Add the pearl barley and oats to the pan along with the Marmite and nutmeg. Stir and season with lots of black pepper.

Separate the cabbage leaves. You need around 12 large leaves (allowing 2-3 per person). Shave down the tough stalk so the leaves are more malleable. Blanch in boiling water for 3-4 minutes, until slightly softened. Drain well, reserving the liquid.

Lay out the cabbage leaves on a board and put a heaped tablespoonful of the vegetable mixture into each. Fold in the sides and roll up like a cigar. Lay them snugly, seam-side down, in a shallow pan. Dot with the butter and a few spoonfuls of the reserved cabbage liquid. Cover and cook over a low heat for 6-7 minutes, until heated through. Serve with carrots, parsnips and vegetable gravy.


Serves 6


  • 1 x 400g (14oz) haggis (available from larger supermarkets or butchers)
  • 12 baby carrots, trimmed and halved (or 3 large carrots, cut into batons) 
  • 1tbsp olive oil Salt and freshly ground black pepper 
  • 3 baking potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks 
  • 1 small turnip or swede, peeled and cut into chunks 
  • 50g (1¾oz) butter 
  • 2 banana shallots, finely chopped 
  • 100ml (3½fl oz) whisky 
  • 500ml (18fl oz) fresh beef stock 
  • 100ml (3½fl oz) double cream 
  • 1tsp Dijon mustard Thyme, to garnish 

Preheat the oven to 200°C/fan 180°C/gas 6 and grease 6 x 6cm ring moulds.

Cut the haggis into 6 round portions, about 2.5cm thick and roughly the same size as your ring moulds. Place in a baking dish, cover with foil and bake for 20-25 minutes. Put the carrots on a small baking tray, drizzle with a little oil, season and roast for 15-20 minutes alongside the haggis until softened and caramelised.

Cook’s tip 

If you don’t have any ring moulds, simply serve the haggis slices with spoonfuls of neeps and tatties on top.

In separate pans boil the potatoes and turnip or swede until tender, around 10-12 minutes. Drain well, season and mash each with 15g butter.

Meanwhile, make the whisky sauce. In a small pan cook the shallots in the remaining butter until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the whisky and allow to bubble until reduced by half. Now add the beef stock and reduce by half again. Add the cream and bubble for 2-3 minutes until reduced and tasty. Stir in the mustard and season to taste.

Place the 6 ring moulds on a baking tray. Add a spoonful of the mashed potato to halfway up each mould, then top with the mashed turnip or swede. Push down to compact.

Put a portion of baked haggis onto a warmed dinner plate. Using a spoon, carefully push the vegetables through the ring onto the haggis, trying to keep the stack intact. Repeat with the remaining portions. Serve with the whisky sauce and garnish with the roasted carrots and some thyme.



Serves 4

  • 500g (1lb 2oz) raspberries
  • 2tbsp sugar 
  • 8 trifle sponge fingers 
  • 4tbsp whisky 
  • 4tbsp orange juice 
  • 300ml (10fl oz) custard 
  • 200ml (7fl oz) whipping cream 
  • Scottish shortbread biscuits, to serve (optional) 

Reserve 12 raspberries. Heat the rest in a small pan with the sugar. Cook for a few minutes to a soft pulp, then cool slightly.

Put a spoonful of raspberries in the bottom of 4 dessert glasses or bowls. To each, add 2 sponge fingers, broken into two.

Combine the whisky and orange juice. Pour over the sponges, then top each with a layer of custard.

Whip the cream to soft peaks and spoon over the custard. Decorate with the reserved raspberries. Serve with shortbread biscuits, if using.



Serves 4-6

  • 500g (1lb 2oz) smoked haddock
  • 250ml (9fl oz) milk 
  • 50g (1¾oz) butter 
  • 2 banana shallots, peeled and finely chopped 
  • 1 large leek, trimmed and finely sliced 
  • 1 fennel bulb, cored and finely chopped 
  • 2 large waxy potatoes, peeled and cubed 
  • 200ml (7fl oz) white wine 250ml (9fl oz) double cream 
  • 750ml (1¾pt) fish or veg stock (made with 2 cubes) 
  • 1 bay leaf 
  • A handful of chives or parsley, finely chopped 
  • Freshly ground black pepper 
  • Crusty bread, to serve 

Put the haddock into a large, lidded pan. Cover with the milk and cook for 5-6 minutes, until the fish is just cooked through. Drain and flake the fish and remove to a plate. Pour the milk into a jug and set aside.

Heat the butter in the same pan and add the shallots, leek, fennel and potatoes. Sauté gently, stirring, for 6-8 minutes, until just softened. Add the wine and allow to bubble down until reduced by half. Pour in the cream, stock and reserved poaching milk. Add the bay leaf and cook, covered, for 8-10 minutes, until the potatoes are tender.

Stir in the haddock and warm through. Remove the bay leaf, ladle the soup into bowls and sprinkle with chives or parsley and freshly ground black pepper. Serve with crusty bread.

Bubbly drinks expert Olly Smith’s whisky suggestions


Master Of Malt The Burns Night Blend Aged 8 Years (40%) £39.95, masterofmalt.com With its fruitcake aromas, gingery freshness and hint of vanilla-tinged candied fruit, this whisky is amazing with haggis.


Ben Bracken Highland Single Malt Scotch Whisky (40%) £16.99, Lidl The best bargain whisky around, with toffee apple, nut and sultana complexity. Warming as a fireside with veggie haggis, and just as wondrous.


The Society’s Exhibition Islay Single Malt Scotch Whisky 8 Years Old (40%) £32, thewinesociety.com A haze of iodine, peat, sea spray and long-lasting spice, yet not too heavy. Spot on with the Cullen Skink.

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Tamdhu Quercus Alba Distinction Release 1 (48%) £62.95, thewhisky exchange.com A prize splash-out, this has punchy cinnamon, woody aromas, golden syrup brightness and a long-lasting finish


Glen Marnoch 12 Year Old Speyside Single Malt Whisky (40%) £21.99, Aldi A handsome bargain for this silky, light and elegant whisky. Hints of sugar-coated almonds and digestive biscuits go perfectly with the Scottish Trifle

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