Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Neeps 'n' Tatties with Drambuie Sauce for Robbie Burns Day

Last year, my Robbie Burns Day post about Scottish Oatmeal Shortbread was selected as one of the "Best of the Blogs" for January 25, 2011 by the prestigious Food News Journal - a huge thrill!  That's a hard act to follow, I have to admit.  But I think I may have done it today with this traditional dish - Neeps 'n' Tatties.

"Neeps" are turnips and "tatties" are potatoes.  Boil 'em, mash 'em ... good, simple, hearty fare for a bitter winter's day.  To translate, so to speak, what Robert Burns - the national poet of Scotland, born on January 25, 1759 - wrote in Up in the Early Morning, "Cold blows the wind from east to west."  Warmth and comfort are what we seek these days.

But why not dress up this basic dish with a bit of glam from Drambuie, "A secret elixir of herbs, spices and heather honey, crafted with aged Scotch whiskies"?  Why make a boring gravy with broth if I could celebrate my heritage - one-quarter Scottish, and my maternal grandmother was proud to be descended from the Rob Roy MacGregors - with a more flavorful addition?  The Drambuie's sweetness is a nice balance to the sharpness of the turnips; and potatoes, of course, are perfect with virtually any gravy.

Robbie Burns is usually honored on his birthday with Burns Suppers featuring the dreaded haggis - sheep innards (heart, liver, lungs) mixed with oats, onions, and spices and then cooked in a sheep's stomach.  Even if I could find all of the ingredients, I can assure you I have no interest in serving anything this authentic for the celebration!

But neeps 'n' tatties is not only fun to say, it's a delicious dish to eat since "I'm sure it's winter fairly."

Up in the Early Morning (1788)

Cauld blaws the wind frae east to west,
The drift is driving sairly;
Sae loud and shill's I hear the blast-
I'm sure it's winter fairly.

Up in the morning's no for me,
Up in the morning early;
When a' the hills are covered wi' snaw,
I'm sure it's winter fairly.

The birds sit chittering in the thorn,
A' day they fare but sparely;
And lang's the night frae e'en to morn-
I'm sure it's winter fairly.

Neeps 'n' Tatties with Drambuie Sauce

1 pound Yukon Gold potatoes, cut into 1" pieces
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup milk
pinches of kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Fill a medium saucepan with salted water and bring to a boil.  Add the potatoes; boil for 10-15 minutes, until tender.  D
rain the potatoes and mash with the butter, milk, salt and pepper.  Place onto a serving dish.

1 pound turnips, peeled, cut into 1" pieces
2 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons milk
pinches of kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Fill a medium saucepan with salted water and bring to a boil.  Add the turnips; boil for 5 minutes, until tender.  Drain the turnips and mash with the butter, milk, salt and pepper; place onto a serving dish.

2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour

pinch of kosher salt
1/3 cup Drambuie
3/4 cup milk

In a small saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat; whisk in the flour and salt, then cook for 1 minute.  Slowly add the Drambuie and the milk, whisking until smooth.  Cook for 5 minutes over low heat.

Serve the Drambuie sauce over the neeps 'n' tatties.

Serves 6-8 as a side dish.


Unknown said...

I love it. What a great tribute to Robbie Burns... He would be proud :)

Cranberry Morning said...

What a fun post, especially for me, who likes all things from the UK!! Great photo too. I can hear Robbie Burns with a great Scottish brogue. He sounds just like Gerard Butler! lol

Candace said...

My brother was famous for his mashed rutabagas and potatoes....aka....rutataters. They were amazing. Now if he had only added a Drambuie sauce! Loved this post, Mary! I've missed way too much lately.

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