Homesick Scots and curious Sassenachs who can’t get north of the border for Burns Night on Wednesday, January 25, can head to Boisdale Of Canary Wharf for a whisky-fuelled party.
More than 250 hand-rolled haggii are being prepared for the Burns Night Celebration and Pipers Gallore , which will kick off three days of festivities on January 24 at 7pm. The tartan-trimmed restaurant in Cabot Place will be serving a traditional three-course dinner complete with speeches, clapping, bagpipes, respect for the haggis and recitations of Robert Burns’ poetry.
Boisdale executive chef Andy Rose said: “It’s a very important part of Boisdale’s calendar and I like to keep it traditional.
“It is all about the haggis, our top selling dish throughout the year. We sold five tonnes across our restaurants in 2016, up from four the previous year. Offal is very trendy right now.
“We get ours from the Blackface Meat Company, a small firm which does proper haggis without any additives. A good haggis should be spiced and really peppery with a moistness and good texture from the oats.”
Boisdale’s feasts will see guests start with a plate of Dunkeld oak smoked salmon or potted Highlands game. A piper will then accompany a 5kg haggis on a silver platter as it is paraded around the room before the traditional Address To A Haggis by Robert Burns is recited, praising the dish’s “honest, sonsie (chubby) face” and a knife plunged in.
Staff get to eat the show haggis while the 250 guests dine on individual versions.
The 45-year-old, who splits his time between Canary Wharf and his home in Northamptonshire, said: “We get it sent in bulk and then beat it and shape it and put it in the crepe net and roast it, which gives a better taste than boiling.”
It will be served with neeps and tatties and followed by a main course of Aberdeenshire beef with foraged mushroom sauce or Cornish cod with Hebridean crab and a herb crust.
“At the end of last year we really focussed on our Scottish shellfish offering and doubled the amount we are bringing down fresh from Scotland each day,” said Andy.
“Now we have langoustines, lobsters, crabs and oysters and it’s something I’m really proud of.
“We are always looking to try new dishes and make ourselves better.”
The meal will end with a choice of baked Madagascar vanilla cheesecake or Valhrona dark chocolate fondant.
Tickets for the Burns Night Celebrations, which comes with pairing Glenfiddich whiskey, cost £59.50-£69.50.
The menu will also be served on January 25-27 for £40 per person.
If you missed out on tickets to Boisdale’s then Andy has shared his recipe for Potted Highland Game so you can still join in the festivities.
Potted Highland Game
1 blue mountain hare, jointed – you could use rabbit
1 pheasant, jointed
200g of venison shoulder, diced
200g slab smoked bacon, cut into large pieces
1 pig’s trotter, halved
1 onion, peeled and quartered
2 sticks celery, roughly chopped
2 carrots, peeled and roughly chopped
5 thyme sprigs
5 juniper berries crushed
2 bay leaves
A knob of butter
200ml white wine
Warm a tablespoon or two of the oil in a large frying pan, then over medium-high heat brown the meat on all sides a few pieces at a time then remove from the pan. Do the same with the bacon.
Using a casserole dish, melt the butter over a medium heat, once it starts to bubble add the vegetables, thyme and bay leaves. Turn them with a spoon until slightly softened, but not coloured.
Now add the meat to the dish together with the pig’s trotter, white wine, juniper and enough water to cover.
Bring to a simmer, cover with tin foil and place in the oven at 180C and cook until tender for about two-three hours.
Strain off the liquor into a cooking pot, discarding the herbs, vegetables and trotter.
Reduce to about 500ml, skimming off as much of the fat off as you can.
Pick the meat off the bones and shred it with your fingers into a bowl. Finely chop the bacon, add it to the bowl. Pour over the reduced cooking liquor, season well with salt and black pepper.
Place the meat into pots or ramekins and pop in the fridge until set.
Serve at room temperature with toast, pickles and chutney.
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