So hold on a second here! We’ve still got a couple of days til we get to Burns Night. For all of you folks who missed my last posting (it’s still up so you could just take a peek now…) Sunday January 25th is the birthday of Robert Burns, the National Poet of Scotland. On that night folks throughout the world will remember him and celebrate with a Burns Night Supper. I just gave you a great Scottish dessert recipe (Dundee Cake with Hot Whisky Marmalade…take a look…you know you want to…) and I just couldn’t resist throwing another recipe into the mix this year – Steak Auld Reekie over Crispy Tatties & Neeps. I’m just imagining the big question mark a lot of you must have hovering over your faces right now. Anything “old reekie” doesn’t sound very appetizing huh? And what the heck is “tatties & neeps” right?!! So let me explain. Reek is the Scots word for smoke, not for something horribly stinky as you might have imagined. Auld Reekie was the nickname given to Edinburgh back in the day when it was full of smoke from all of the open coal fires burning in the city. Steak Auld Reekie is not then some putrified filet, but it is rather a classic Victorian dish of fried steaks with a cream and smoked cheese sauce. Get it….smoked cheese gives the dish that lovely smoky taste which is reminiscent of smoky old Edinburgh from back in the day. And of course it has a bit of Scotch whisky thrown in for good measure.
Now Tatties & Neeps are simply Potatoes and Turnips (also known as Swede or Rutabaga). Haggis with Tatties & Neeps are the quintessential dishes served at a traditional Burns Night Supper. The Tatties & Neeps in that case are prepared similar to chunky, roughly mashed potatoes. Since I was not going to be serving Haggis (I actually like it…) but Steak Auld Reekie I decided to do a variation on the traditional Tatties & Neeps. I grated the potatoes and swede, formed them into a panko crusted pancake and fried them to a crispy golden brown. Now I made the pancakes fairly large, 5″ – 6″, so that I could serve the steaks and sauce on top of them. However, you could make smaller sized patties if you wanted to serve them as a side dish, perhaps with a little dollop of sour cream and Coleman’s mustard.
I will warn you, the whole process of making the Crispy Tatties & Neeps was messy. It is really challenging to work with those raw pancakes and I also found it difficult to just leave them be once I had gotten them into the frying pan. I wanted to keep poking at them and checking the bottom. Don’t do it! They need 5 minutes undisturbed! Fooling with them simply makes them fall to pieces and you’ll end up with a pan of hash browns, which I guess isn’t really a bad thing at all, but likely not what you’re going for here. Of course it’s always nice to have an escape route should kitchen disaster strike…”Yeah…we’re having Steak Auld Reekie and Tatties & Neeps Hash!” So this Sunday don’t forget Scotland’s favourite son. I’ll leave you with a little snippet of a toast written to Rabbie Burns by Stewart Archibald of Ballater, Scotland:
His name still ranks amongst the best fae the bonnie Scottish shores, His words they still work wonders and open mony doors, So as we gather here the nicht lets toast the Ayrshire man, Fa maks us friens thru troubled times in far flung foreign lands. Pit doon yir fags, get on yir feet and raise yir gless up high, Let’s toast and hope his name lives on, till a’ the seas rin dry.
Steak Auld Reekie with Crispy Tatties & Neeps
Steak Auld Reekie from: Rampant Scotland: Traditional Scottish Recipes
Fried Tattie & Neeps inspired by: Epicurious
Steak Auld Reekie
- Four 8 oz (250 g) fillets of Aberdeen Angus Steak
- 4 Tablespoons Scotch Whisky
- 13 fluid ounces (350g) heavy cream
- 4 oz. (125 grams) grated smoked cheese
- 1 oz. (25 g) butter
- Salt and pepper to taste
Grill or pan fry the steaks to your preference and keep warm. Pour whisky into a pan (the same one if you are pan frying a sauce pan if you are grilling) and flambé. Add cream and grated cheese and bring to the simmering point. Gently simmer, stirring occasionally until the sauce has been reduced by half. Season with salt and pepper and mix in the butter. When ready to serve, place steaks on top of Crispy Tatties & Neeps panackes and pour sauce over the steaks.
Crispy Tatties & Neeps
- 1 large russet potato, washed and peeled
- 1 yellow turnip or rutabaga
- 1/2 cup finely chopped onion
- 3 tablespoons chopped chives
- 2 large eggs, beaten
- 1 cup Panko
- olive oil for frying
- sour cream and spicy mustard
Grate potato and turnip. This can be done by hand or with a food processor. (Lazy me choses the processor every time). In medium bowl combine grated potato and turnip with onions, chives and egg. Mix together.
Heat oil in a skillet. Form tennis ball sized portions of the potato/turnip mixture, using an ice cream scoop and then compact it a bit more with you hands. Transfer potato turnip ball to one hand and with the other grab some of the panko. Place the potato/turnip ball on top of the held panko. With your recently freed hand grab more panko and press down over the top of the potato/turnip ball. Gently place it in frying pan. Push down on ball with a spatula to flatten into a 5″ – 6″ pancake. Now here is what might be the hard part for some of you folks. Don’t touch it for about 5 minutes. Once the 5 minutes has passed and it is golden brown on bottom, turn pancake over and cook for about 5 minutes. Transfer to ovenproof platter and place in oven to keep warm. Repeat with remaining portions.
Steak Auld Reekie with Crispy Tatties & Neeps brought to you by: Runcible Eats (www.leaandjay.com)