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Spud Sunday: Time For Tatties

Cullen skink and cock-a-leekie, forfar bridies and clootie dumplings.

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.

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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.

You’ll need:

  • 400g potatoes (about 2 medium-sized, preferably floury)
  • 400g yellow turnip (swede / rutabaga)
  • 1 small onion (about 100g), finely chopped
  • salt
  • 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

The Steps:

  • 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.

The Variations:

  • 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.

The Results:

  • Serves 4-6 as a side dish


  1. gastroanthropologist

    I had my first true Burns Night celebration last year (with haggis!) and neeps ‘n tatties. I must admit it was more neepy than tattie and I didn’t really dig the mash. But this, with some mustard and equal parts of neep and tatty, looks and sounds great!

  2. Catherine

    Mmm I love clapshot. I usually just add cream & chopped chives to mines, but I like your addition of mustard, mmm!

  3. Daily Spud

    gastroanthropologist: neeps can be a challenging vegetable – interestingly enough, one of the nicest turnip mashes that I ate last year was made by a well know chef here; when I asked him what he had done to make it so good, the answer (apart from using a lot of butter) was that he had added some spuds – it tones down the sweetness a little I think I prefer the texture too

    Catherine: cream is indeed a fine addition and I do find that little touch of mustard just hits the spot

  4. Carol Mahoney

    Here in Wisconsin, turnips and rutabagas are different root veggies, both in the mustard family, but nips are white and baggies are yellow. So, I’m a little confused as to which I should use in this recipe. But it looks good and I will try it with the white turnip I have on hand. My family will get a kick out of the name.

  5. Daily Spud

    Hi Carol – what I call turnips here in the recipe are, I’m pretty sure, what you would call rutabagas (or baggies, which I think is an even better name!). What you call turnips are, I reckon, what I’d call white turnip and have more of a mustardy kick. I’m sure you could still make this using white turnip – it won’t be as sweet but I imagine it’ll still be tasty.

  6. Carol, Simply...Gluten-free

    Believe it or not I have never tasted a turnip or rutabaga – my husband has some sort of early childhood trama associated with rutabagas. However this dish sounds fantastic especially with the addition of mustard. Think I will have to give this a try – I just won’t tell the hubby what’s in them :)

  7. Daily Spud

    Mum’s the word Carol, your secret will be safe with me!

  8. Jenni

    Yes, please. Heavy on the tatties, WAAAY light on the neeps. As a matter of fact, perhaps, I might just whisper “neeps” over the pot! lol

    My Beloved has been developing a Very Bad Scottish Accent over the years. He is right proud of how bad it is. He says things like “sporran” a lot. Anyway, my best friend told him that it is possible that our “okay” comes from “Och, aye.” And now he says it all the time. I despair. ;)

    Happy Burns Night to you and yours, DS!

  9. motoare electrice

    Thank you for this great-looking recipe. I’m sure it also tastes good, but I’ll have to try to be sure. I can’t wait to try it.

  10. Daily Spud

    Jenni: The proportions are, of course, entirely up to you and I’m always happy to weight things in favour of spuds :) As for the Beloved, I’m not sure there’s anything I can do to help there :D

    motoare electrice: do try it, ’tis indeed the only way to be sure!

  11. Sophie

    MMMMMMMMM,..what a lovely dish & well flavoured too, my friend!

    I love that yellow deep colour!!

  12. Daily Spud

    Thank you Sophie – ’tis simple but tasty stuff :)

  13. Chef E

    Time for this again! Yum, oh and btw, I finally had a potato pizza! Someone told me about a place that had them…I am in love…if I come back…make it a potato that lands in that eatery!

  14. Daily Spud

    Yes, time for this again Chef E :) And I can’t blame ya for loving potato pizza – now you have me craving some!

  15. Tangled Noodle

    Well, now, the Scots are no Irish when it comes to a way with words. Most of those dish names sound like a trip to the doctor is warranted immediately. However, I won’t quibble with the shot of clapshot – it looks and sounds marvelous! 8-)

  16. Daily Spud

    Ah yes, TN, clapshot does sound like something that might warrant a trip to the doctor alright! Luckily, it’s far more benign than that :)

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