Leek and Tattie Soup

Leek and Tattie Soup

January: National Soup Month

We warm up in the wintertime with a traditional Scottish soup. Leeks and tatties (potatoes) are cheap and chunky to make a filling first course. Though this soup is simple, it is served at even the finest Burns Suppers. This is when the Scots get together on January 25 to celebrate the birthday and life of their national poet Robert Burns (1759-1796). Traditional Scottish food is served, such as soup, haggis, oatcakes, whisky and dessert. Guests enjoy poetry readings, bagpipe music and Highland dancing.

We like leek and tattie soup straight from the stock pot when we cook it at home. But sometimes we add milk and cream and puree everything in the blender to make a fancy French version of this soup called Vichyssoise. Savor the soup made with leeks and tatties during National Soup Month or on Burns Night on January 25.

Recipe

(Adapted from “Scottish Heritage Food and Cooking” by Carol Wilson and Christopher Trotter)

Ingredients

  • 1 small onion
  • 2 leeks
  • 3 large potatoes
  • ¼ cup butter, divided use
  • 4 cups chicken or vegetable stock
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions

Chop the onions. Wash and slice the leeks, discarding the thread-like ends on the white part. Wash, peel and chop the potatoes.

Leek and Tattie Soup

In a large pot, slowly melt 2 tablespoons of butter. Saute the onions and the leeks until soft (about 5 minutes) but do not brown. Stir in the potatoes and mix with the onions and leeks. Cook for about 2 minutes. Pour in the chicken or vegetable stock. Salt and pepper to taste. Cover the pot and simmer on medium heat for 30 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter. Ladle into soup bowls and serve hot.

Leek and Tattie Soup

Notes 

  • Happy New Year and Hogmanay to our blog readers! Robert Burns wrote the traditional new year’s anthem “Auld Lang Syne”.
  • Thanks to our neighbors across the street, Glenn and Anna Maria B., who are pioneer settlement re-enactors, for letting us borrow their rustic clad iron soup kettle as a prop for the final food photo.
  • Search our blog for more Scottish and other soup recipes.

Black Bun

Black Bun

December 31: Hogmanay

Highlander grew up eating fruit cake, mince meat tarts and shortbread during the holiday season. Following Scottish tradition, he also snacks on slices of black bun during Hogmanay (Scottish word for “last day of the year”). The dessert gets its name from the dark and dense rich filling of raisins and currants. Moreover, ground black pepper is one of the dark spices included in the ingredients.

A popular tradition on Hogmanay, which is celebrated all night on new year’s eve until the wee hours of new year’s day, is “first-footing.” If a tall, dark-haired male is the first visitor to enter one’s home after midnight, he is considered the bringer of good luck in the coming year. The first-footer also brings presents, such as a coin, bread, salt, coal, whisky and, of course, black bun. These lucky gifts represent fortune, bounty, warmth and good cheer.

Celebrate the new year with a sweet Scottish black bun. Happy Hogmanay to all of our HI Cookery blog readers!

Recipe

(Adapted from “Scottish Heritage Food and Cooking” by Carol Wilson and Christopher Trotter)

For the “bun” pastry

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ cup (1 stick) butter, slightly softened and cut into cubes
  • cold water

Directions

Generously grease an 8-inch loaf pan. Set aside. In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour and baking powder. Add the cubes of butter. Mix with fingers until it resembles coarse crumbs. Moisten with enough water until a dough is formed. Roll into a ball.

Black Bun

On a floured surface, roll out the dough thinly, making sure it is large enough to line the pan with a little overhang. Trim excess dough and roll out another piece large enough to cover the top of the pan. Set aside and make the filling.

Black Bun

For the “black” filling

  • 4 cups raisins
  • 3 cups currants
  • 1 ½ cups plain flour
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup almonds, chopped, sliced or slivered
  • 1 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1 teaspoon ground allspice
  • ½ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 eggs, beaten (1 for the filling, 1 for the glaze)
  • 1-2 tablespoons brandy
  • 5 tablespoons milk

Directions

In a large bowl, combine the raisins with the currants. Mix in the flour and brown sugar.

Black Bun

Stir in the almonds. In a small bowl, combine the cream of tartar, allspice, ginger, cinnamon and black pepper. Mix the spices into the filling. Moisten with one beaten egg, brandy and milk.

Black Bun

Spoon the filling into the pastry, pressing down to pack it all in. Moisten the edges with a little water and cover with the remaining pastry. Trim with a knife as necessary. Press the edges to seal well.

Black Bun

Prick the top with the tines of a fork. Brush with egg glaze. Bake in a preheated oven at 225 degrees F for 3 hours. Remove from the oven and cool completely. Remove from the pan and wrap in foil. Store in an airtight container until Hogmanay.

Black Bun

When ready to serve, place onto a cutting board and slice to reveal the black filling.

Black Bun

Notes

  • Black Bun is traditionally made several weeks in advance and stored in an airtight container to allow the flavors to develop and mature. Then it is served on New Year’s Eve and Day.
  • See our shortbread recipes (traditional, chocolate and lemon) on January 6 (National Shortbread Day).