Celebrate Burns Night

Celebrate Burns Night

Posted 25th Jan 2017

Annually celebrated on or around January 25, Burns Night commemorates the life of Robert Burns, and his contribution to Scottish culture

During his career, Robert Burns became widely regarded as the national poet of Scotland, with one of his most famous creations, Auld Lang Syne, remaining a popular New Years song. 

Burns Night started in the aftermath of the poet's death (21 July 1796), as his friends gathered to commemorate him on the fifth anniversary of his death, July 21 1801. This was then moved to what they thought had been his birthday - 29 January 1802. However, in 1803, parish records in Ayr revealed his date of birth was actually 25 January 1759. Since then, Burns Night suppers have traditionally been held on or around 25 January.

Burns suppers typically involve haggis, a Scottish dish, which Burns commemorates in Address to a Haggis, and Scotch whisky, while Burn's poetry will also be recited. Here are a couple of recipes to make your feast a bit more enjoyable...

Traditional Scottish Stovies

You will need

2 large onions, sliced
2 tbsp beef dripping from your roast (can use lard or olive oil if you don’t have dripping)
1 kg potatoes, peeled and sliced thickly
200ml leftover gravy, meat juices or rich reduced beef stock* (ideally a combination, all supplied by your leftover roast dinner)
500g leftover cooked meat, cut into 2-3 cm chunks
Salt and black pepper
Oatcakes, pickled beetroot and milk, to serve


1. In a large, heavy bottomed pan with a lid, gently fry the onions in the fat until soft.

2. Layer over the raw potatoes and pour in the rich, beefy gravy-style liquid.

3. Add in the meat, making sure you include all the sticky, savoury scrapings from the roasting pan!

4. Add enough cold water to come to a few centimetres below the level of the potatoes, and season well.

5. Cover and bring to the boil, then turn down to a gentle simmer.

6. Cook for about half an hour, stirring occasionally.

7. The potatoes should be starting to fall apart into mash; it’s ready when you have a really hearty and comforting mix of half mash, half soft chunks.

8. Check the seasoning (it needs plenty) and serve hot.

9. For a real taste of Aberdeenshire, serve your stovies with sliced cold pickled beetroot, warmed Scottish oatcakes and a glass of very cold milk. Delicious!

‘Speyside’ Chicken Supremes

You will need

4 Free-range Corn-fed Chicken Supremes
1 Haggis Pudding, 250g
Salt and pepper
1 tbsp sunflower oil

For the whisky cream sauce:

1 bay leaf
200ml rich chicken stock
8 tbsp double cream
4 tsp wholegrain mustard
4 tbsp Scotch Whisky
1 pinch salt
Generous grind of black pepper


1. Preheat oven to 180°C/Fan 160°/Gas 4

2. Take Haggis Pudding out of its skin and slice into 4 quarters

3. Butterfly each fillet from the side and stuff with a quarter of the haggis, folding the chicken back into its original shape

4. Heat the oil in a frying pan on the hob, season each stuffed supreme and sear for 3 minutes on each side, searing the skin side first and turning gently

5. Transfer the supremes to a baking tray and cook in the oven for 15-18 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through

6. In the meantime, deglaze the frying pan with the chicken stock and the bay leaf, simmering for 10 minutes, or until reduced by half

7. Remove cooked supremes from oven and allow to rest somewhere warm for 5 minutes

8. Remove bay leaf and stir in the rest of the sauce ingredients. Gently simmer to reduce to a creamy pouring consistency

9. Serve up the stuffed supremes with the sauce, carrots and mash, and a wee dram of whisky.

Recipes courtesy of Donald Russell

Related articles
Posted 27th Jul 2018

Ensuring your puppy gets enough brain food

Ensuring your puppy gets enough brain food

Posted 27th Jul 2018

The wonderful gooseberry

The wonderful gooseberry

Posted 27th Jul 2018

Staying in the Norfolk Broads

Staying in the Norfolk Broads

Posted 23rd Jul 2018

A look at Dudley Canal Tunnel

A look at Dudley Canal Tunnel

July issue on sale 7th June

Subscribe to our newsletter