“Neeps and tatties” are Scottish names for rutabagas and potatoes cooked the traditional Scottish way. They serve as the traditional accompaniment to haggis and for good reason – the three dishes go wonderfully well together. The tatties are mashed potatoes, and we recommend using red potatoes, along with lots of sweet butter. (Serving haggis, neeps, and tatties is not the right occasion to get low-fat crazy. Besides, you should give yourself permission to indulge yourself every once in a while!) Neeps Scottish “neeps” are rutabagas (B. n. napobrassica). The name comes from the Swedish “rotabagge”, which is why this vegetable is also called a “Swede” or “Swedish turnip” in England. Absolutely do not use American turnips as a substitute, as the taste simply will not work as well. To prepare the neeps, peel a fresh rutabaga and cut into 1″ cubes. Boil, drain, and whip them into a frenzy with some salt, pepper, and ,of course, butter. If you have trouble finding rutabaga of any description in your supermarket, we have some excellent canned rutabaga available at the Caledonian Kitchen.
At many Bed and Breakfast establishments in Scotland, haggis is served for breakfast as a part of the wonderful “Full Scottish Breakfast”. You can usually find eggs, porridge, bacon, haggis, black pudding, kippers, tomatoes, scones, pastries, toast, as well as all the great jams and marmalades Scotland is famous for in that tremendous breakfast. Additionally, Haggis goes beautifully with scrambled eggs or over toast points on a more continental style of breakfast
On the Isle of Skye, we have stayed at the Ardvasar Hotel, a 250-year-old former coaching inn on the Sleat Peninsula that offers reasonably priced accommodations, good hospitality, and great food. While there we were introduced to a wonderful sauce as an accompaniment to haggis. Whether or not the sauce is traditional, it is decadently delicious, and we suggest that you try it, as it is really quite simple to make. It consists of heavy whipping cream blended with a small amount of Scotch (enough to suit your own taste), preferably a good single malt. The heavier Islay malts are good for this because you don’t have to use as much. This is not a waste of good Scotch!
Haggis, neeps, and tatties were NOT the food of nobility. They were prepared and eaten in humble crofts in Scotland. They are the food of the common man, but they also represent the crown jewels of the culinary Folk Art of Scotland. Among the finishing touches to this extraordinary meal would be an oat bread or any other whole grain brown bread. Add a good pint of brown ale such as McEwan’s and you’ll have a meal our Scottish ancestors would have relished. A bit of tea and homemade Shortbread in front of a fire would be the perfect finish, as well as the prelude to a round of good single malt.