Och aye, a Scottish menu, even if you should understand nary a syllable, is nevertheless a pleasure to the ears. And I expect you’ll find Scottish menus aplenty this week, both in Scotland and elsewhere, as Burns Night, the annual celebration of Scotland’s national bard, rolls around this coming Tuesday.
Whilst haggis is the centrepiece of a Burns Night supper, you’re likely to find me diving fork-first into bashed neeps and champit tatties, the mashed turnips and potatoes that traditionally sit alongside. The turnip and potatoes are usually cooked separately, though the dish below, bearing another champion Scottish name, clapshot, combines them into one. Enjoy and here’s tae ye.
This is a fairly traditional rendition of Orkney clapshot, with the addition of a little mustard and lemon juice. To save inevitable confusion, let me clarify that what I call a turnip is what’s commonly called a swede in England, a turnip (or neep) in Scotland and a rutabaga in the US. It’s yellow-fleshed and sweet.
Meanwhile, if you’d like to try something really different with your neeps and tatties, you could do worse than take a peek at what I did neeps-and-tattie-wise last year.
- 400g potatoes (about 2 medium-sized, preferably floury)
- 400g yellow turnip (swede / rutabaga)
- 1 small onion (about 100g), finely chopped
- 25g butter
- 2 tblsp chopped chives
- freshly ground black pepper
- 0.5 tsp dijon mustard
- squeeze of lemon juice
You’ll also need:
- A masher is useful, though a fork will do for mashing either
- Scrub and peel the potatoes and chop into roughly even-sized 2cm-ish chunks.
- Scrub and peel the turnip and chop into chunks around the same size as the potatoes.
- Add the potatoes, turnip and chopped onion to a saucepan, cover with boiling water and add about 1.5 tsp salt. Bring to the boil and then cover, lower the heat and simmer gently until the vegetables are just fork tender – about 15 to 20 minutes. Drain off the water, then either let them sit, covered by a tea-towel, for about 5 minutes or place the pan over a low heat and stir gently for a minute or so while they dry out.
- Cut the butter into 4 or 5 pieces and stir into the potatoes and turnip while still hot. Add the mustard and mash everything together well using either a masher or a fork.
- Stir in the chives and season to taste with salt, black pepper and a squeeze or two of lemon juice.
- Serve up with haggis as part of your Burn’s Night feasting or just try it as a slightly sweeter alternative to your regular mashed spuds.
- You could add some cream or milk to the mash if you like. You could also mix in some grated cheddar cheese and use it to top a meaty or veggie pie.
- Serves 4-6 as a side dish