The first-ever Burns Night was held by Robert Burns’ friends a few years after his death, in the early 18th century. They simply had a drink to an absent friend, a great poet and Scotland’s favourite son, so I doubt they realised they had started a tradition that, 200 years later, would have spread all over the world.
It’s still one of the best nights of the year to get friends together and enjoy some traditional British food and a wee dram o’ something special. So here’s our selection of brilliant Burns Night recipes to make hosting your first one a breeze, or your next one even better than last year.
If you’re au fait with offal, you shouldn’t look any further than Jamie’s amazing Haggis shepherd’s pie, which crams the meat, neeps (swede) and tatties into one warming dish. It’s an easy way into Scotland’s most feared food, and if a soft introduction is what you’re after, try Jamie Magazine’s haggis croquettes too – they’re not healthy, but they’re absolutely loaded with flavour.
Burns Night is also one of the last opportunities of the season to enjoy certain game recipes, so if you know a good butcher try this gorgeous pan-roasted venison, which still has a tatties vibe with potato and celeriac, or a more family-friendly dish in Jamie’s incredible 12-hour rabbit Bolognese. If there’s a veggie in the house, don’t worry – try this hearty Lincolnshire Poacher pie or super-seasonal cauliflower cheese bake. Both make a lovely wintery meal that I think Burns would have appreciated.
So, that’s everyone well fed, but no Burns Night is complete without a toast to Scotland finest bard – preferably with a fine single malt. And if you somehow still fancy pudding, round off the night with a cracking Cranachan Sundae, with whisky cream of course.