A Burns Night Supper (with a twist): lamb, pearl barley and haggis hot-pot
Author: Stewart Turner
This is my take on a Burns Night supper dish: a hearty lamb and pearl barley stew that’s finished with some haggis faggots and caramelised neeps. I thought it would be nice to do a real classic with no faffing around: it’s just cooked in the pot, then you can put it on the table for everyone to help themselves. I use lamb middle-neck fillets. which have a fantastic flavour and just the right amount of fat to keep the meat moist for long cooking. I remember my Mum used to cook this cut for us when we were kids in a Lancashire hotpot, and it’s just perfect for this.
6 middle neck of lamb fillets each sliced into four or five chunks depending on the size
2 onions, peeled,
3 carrots, peeled, roughly chopped
3 sticks of celery
4 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced
2 sprigs of rosemary, picked and chopped
4 sprigs fresh thyme, picked and chopped
2 tbsp tomato purée
100g pearl barley
350ml red wine
500ml chicken stock
Salt and freshly ground pepper
6 haggis faggots – see below
For the neeps
1kg turnip – peeled and grated
2tbsp chopped chives
Preheat the oven to 150C. Season the lamb with salt and freshly ground pepper. Heat a large ovenproof casserole until hot, add a good splash of oil and the lamb, then cook over a high heat for 2-3 minutes until golden-brown. Add the chopped vegetables, garlic and herbs; continue to cook for 2-3 minutes, or until golden-brown.
Stir in the tomato puree and cook for another minute then add the pearl barley and stir in well, pour in the red wine and allow to reduce by half, then add the chicken stock and bring to the boil. Cover the pan with a tight-fitting lid, and then transfer to the oven, cook for about an hour
While the stew’s in the oven, cook the turnips. Heat a splash of olive in a pan and lightly fry the grated turnips, then slowly add the butter. The mix will look a bit wet but as the moisture cooks off the butter will start to caramelise the turnip. Stir occasionally (or it will burn) and cook until you have a lovely golden mix, drain in a sieve to remove excess butter and finish with chopped chives
Remove the stew from the oven and place the faggots (see below) on top pushing them down into the stew return to the oven with the lid on for 15 minutes.
Remove the lid and baste the faggots with some of the cooking liquor continue to cook for a further 15 minutes until the faggots are nice and glazed. Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly, and then serve with some caramelised turnips, and as it’s Burns Night, a dram or two of whisky.
For the haggis faggots
1 savoy cabbage
200g haggis (Macsweens’ is the daddy)
100g lamb mince
60g lamb kidney, chopped
1 shallot, finely chopped
2 prunes, chopped
Remove the outer leaves from the cabbage, keeping them in whole pieces, and blanch in salted boiling water until just cooked. Refresh in ice-cold water and dry on some kitchen paper. Cut out the core and cut around a saucer so that you have a circle of cabbage about 15cm in diameter. Sweat the shallot in a little olive oil until soft but not coloured
In a bowl, crumble the haggis and mix with the lamb mince, kidney, shallot and prunes. Then form into small balls (around 60g). Place these in the centre of a cabbage leave and roll in cling-film twisting the base to create a nice tight ball. Leave in the fridge until needed.
What to drink with it Of course, with haggis and lamb, whisky would work well with all that spice (we’ve got some great ones to try). A classic Claret would be great with its fine pepperiness, and for me lamb and Claret are hard to better. A lot of Rhone reds and Old World Syrah have a white-pepper element that would work well.