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Traditional Scots Recipes – Main

Shepherd's Pie

In a land where sheep were a main food supply, it is not surprising that mutton and lamb form the basis of many Scottish dishes. Here is the traditional "Shepherd's Pie" - the variant based on beef is usually called "Cottage Pie".

1lb (450g) minced lamb
1½lb (700g) potatoes
1 large onion
2oz (50g) mushrooms
1 Bay leaf
2 Carrots
1oz (25g) plain flour
1 tbsp tomato puree
1oz (25g) butter
4 tbsp milk
½ pint (300ml) lamb or beef stock
2oz (50g) cheese

Dry fry the lamb with the chopped onion, bay leaf, sliced mushrooms and diced carrots for 8-10 minutes.

Add the flour and stir for a minute. Slowly blend in the stock and tomato puree.

Cook, stirring, until the mixture thickens and boils. Cover and simmer gently for 25 minutes. Remove the bay-leaf and place in a 1.7 litre (3 pint) ovenproof serving dish.

At the same time, cook the potatoes in boiling water for 20 minutes until tender. Drain well, mash with the butter

Lamb Stew

650g cubed lamb
25g pearl barley
1 onion - finely chopped
3 celery sticks - cut into chunks
225g carrots - cut into chunks
25g margarine
150ml cider
150ml stock
salt and pepper
Thyme - fresh or dried


Simmer the barley in a small pot for about 10 minutes then drain.
In a large pot melt the margarine and slowly cook the vegetables for 7 minutes. Add the lamb and stir.
Stir in the cider and stock, adding the seasoning and thyme and then the barley. Cover and cook for about an hour, stirring occasionally.
Serve with tatties, or add potatoes and extra stock to the recipe.

Pheasant Casserole

1 pheasant or 1.1kg pieces
50g seedless raisins
15g flour
450mls water
150mls cider or white wine
65g butter
2 sticks of celery
small carrot
1 onion
2 cooking apples and 1 dessert apple
300mls of stock (improves the flavour if used from the giblets)
pinch of mixed spice
150ml yoghurt or cream
salt and pepper

Soak the raisins in the cider/wine for 2 hours.
Make stock from the giblets of the pheasant by simmering for about an hour with the carrot, a quarter of the onion and a wee piece of the celery. Sieve before using.
Peel/core the apple and slice. Chop the onion and celery finely.
Truss/Joint the pheasant, dust with flour and the salt, pepper and spice.
Melt the butter, add the pheasant and slowly cook to brown the bird, then drain and set aside.
Gently fry the onion for a few minutes, then add the celery and cooking apples and fry for a further 5 minutes.
Stir in the remaining flour and cook for a minute.
Add the raisins, stock and cider and bring to the boil.
Turn this and the bird into a pan, place the lid and simmer for one and a half hours or until the bird is lovely and tender.
Lift the bird/pieces out and set aside.
If the sauce in the pan is still liquidy then leave the lid off and boil for a wee bit longer to thicken. Add the yoghurt or cream and gently reheat. Pour into a serving dish.
Peel and core the dessert apple and slice into fine rings. Gently fry them in the butter and use to garnish the pheasant

Stovies Recipe

Stovies is traditionally a left over dish from the Sunday Roast, using the potatoes, meat and dripping leftovers all thrown into one pot. The origins of stovies are said to come from a time when masters would give their servants the left over food from Sunday lunch. They would take this home or to their quarters and make a dish that could last them all week and was easy to cook.
Stovies can be cooked on the hob or in the oven (gives a nice browned crispy coating). There are various recipes depending on taste. The amount of stock depends on how moist you prefer the dish. Meat used includes chicken, beef and lamb. Some people use tinned corned beef.

Left-over beef, diced
4 large potatoes partially boiled and sliced
1 thinly sliced onion
1 tablespoon of dripping from the cooked beef, or lard if no dripping available
A small quantity of beef stock
Salt and pepper

Add a bit of lard to a pot and gently cook the onions until soft. Add the beef (chicken/lamb can be used if preferred). Add salt and pepper.
Cover with potato slices, then cover with the stock depending on how moist you prefer the meal.
Simmer on the hob for about an hour or cook in the oven at 190c for about 50 minutes.
Serve piping hot with oatcakes and beetroot.

Herring in Oatmeal

Combining two items which formed a staple of Scottish diet over many centuries, herring coated in oatmeal is a tasty, nourishing dish.

Allow 2 herrings per person
Coarse oatmeal
Salt and pepper
Dripping or cooking oil

Depending on how your fishmonger supplies the herring, you may have to remove the bones yourself - cut along the underside of the herring, lay it on a table, cut side down and hit across the backbone in a few places with a rolling pin or your hand. Remove the backbone and as many of the smaller bones as possible. Scrape the scales from the fish with a knife, remove heads and tails.
Sprinkle with salt and pepper and either toss them in a plastic bag with plenty of oatmeal or put the fish on a plate and coat them with oatmeal - you may have to press the oatmeal into the fish to ensure it is fully covered. Fry in meat dripping or cooking oil - put them in with the skin side upwards first. Fry until lightly brown, turn and cook the other side. It should take 5/7 minutes. Drain the fish on kitchen paper (paper towels).
Modern books suggest serving with lemon and parsley - old Scots would not have known such refinements!

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