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Great Chieftain O’ the Pudding Race

Eat, drink and be merry. That certainly sums up all the Burns suppers I’ve enjoyed in the past. Celebrating the life of Robert Burns, it’s great traditional  Scottish entertainment with toasts, poetry, and  singing, and if you’re lucky a  few jolly jigs and reels.
Apart from the great man Rabbie, the centre piece of the celebration is the haggis, and do we Scots revere any other food like this?


Fair fa’ yer honest, sonsie face,
Great Chieftain o’ the puddin’ race!’

Gone are the days of a traditional, plain haggis neeps and tatties dinner. Food to celebrate Burns night has been elevated to new levels with even the much loved haggis, traditionally made from the cheapest of ingredients, being transformed into fine dining.

Having friends around for a burns supper was always a great night in our house although this year I’ll be celebrating the night at Chef Jacqueline O’Donnell’s ‘Sisters Jordanhill Restaurant’ in Glasgow. I know the food will be fantastic, good hearty Scottish food along with lots of great Scottish entertainment and the obligatory few wee drams. What else would you expect?

If you’re having a night at home to celebrate, Chef Jacqueline has come up with a couple of recipes that really give the haggis a makeover with a few extra Scottish flavours.

Dingwall Haggis Bon Bons with
Crisp Potato Fritter, Creamed Turnip
and Malt Whisky Grain Mustard Sauce.

Haggis Bon Bons

1 kg quality haggis
2 large potatoes
1 swede
50ml double cream
1 tbsp Arran wholegrain mustard
500 ml chicken stock
25ml malt whisky
1 egg beaten
100g fresh breadcrumbs
100g plain flour

Serves: 6
Preparation Method
Recommend using an electric fryer for potatoes and haggis.

Cut the haggis into small pieces and roll into balls. Once this has
been done roll them in a little flour, followed by the beaten egg
and then the breadcrumbs (this is best all done in advance).
Bake the potatoes until just about cooked through, allow to cool
then peel and cut into chunky rectangles.

Cook the swede in cold water, then bring to the boil until soft.
Place cooked swede in a food processor or blender with a splash
of double cream, and then season to taste.

To cook the potatoes, make the batter by whisking the flour and
water together until smooth. Dip the potatoes in to coat them
in the batter and then put them straight into an electric fryer
(Temp 170c). Cook until golden brown and crisp.
Bring chicken stock to the boil and reduce down by 2/
3 then add the mustard followed by the whisky. Allow to cool slightly.

Adjust electric fryer to 160°c, gently lower the Bon mix into the
fryer and cook for 3-4 minutes until a light golden brown.
To serve, spoon turnip purée onto plate, place potato fritter on
top and arrange three Haggis Bon Bons with the fritter.

Drizzle some Whisky Grain Mustard Sauce over the top, and
add a little extra on the side.

Vegetarian Haggis with Whisky Glazed
Turnip Pearls, Straw potatoes and
Chive and Malt Cream Sauce


vegetarian haggis

Individual vegetarian haggis x 6
1 whole swede
25ml blended whisky
25g soft brown sugar
25g butter
2 large potatoes
(peeled and cut into matchsticks
steep in cold water)
200ml double cream
25ml malt whisky
1 small handful of
chives chopped finely

Serves: 6
Preparation Method
Recommend using an electric fryer
Cut swede into quarters and bring to the boil until cooked.
Using a melon baller, press into the turnip and scoop out into
ball / pearl shapes.
Add the whisky, butter and sugar into a shallow pan and reduce
until syrupy then add the turnip pearls and cook for a few minutes
until pearls are nicely glazed and golden.
Poach individual haggis for 15 minutes in light simmering water.
Peel and cut the potatoes into matchsticks and rinse in cold
water. Drain and pat dry, then gently fry at 170°c until golden
(be careful as they cook quickly).
Bring the double cream and malt whisky to the boil and reduce
slightly. The mixture should be sticky enough to coat the back
of a spoon.
To serve, place a spoonful of the Straw potatoes onto plate and
place the haggis in the centre.
Place the turnip pearls around the haggis and drizzle the Chive
and Malt Cream Sauce over the dish.

More recipes and tips on how to celebrate Burns Night, can be found at

Jacqueline O’Donnell is Chef/Patron of The Sisters Restaurants in Glasgow. Both restaurants offer good hearty Scottish cuisine or as Jacqueline says, ‘dishes that your Gran might have put on the table’. See

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A words on Scotland’s Favourite Dish – The Haggis

Although I’m not cooking this Burn’s night, the haggis is in the fridge and it will be served as the traditional haggis, neeps & tatties. Once cooked, it will be blessed with a wee dram and a whisky sauce will be offered on the side. There’s a few excellent brands of haggis to chose from, but my favourite is Ramsay of Carluke. Produced to the Ramsay family’s secret and original recipe it has been the choice in our family for many years.

Ramsays Haggis

Thanks to Andrew Ramsay for Haggis photographs and for producing such a wonderful tasting haggis.

Recipe photographs courtesy of Smarts Scotland for recipe photographs.


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