Burns Night Supper

January 20, 2012

Unlike St. Patrick's Day (its over-hyped, beat-to-death second cousin once removed) Burns Night is a holiday that could use a little PR boost. A quick intro for the uninitiatied -- every year on poet Robert Burns' birthday (January 25th) lovers of all things poetic and Scottish come together to share a meal and toast (many times over, and make it a single-malt, please) the man himself. At least a few of his colorful poems are read aloud, preferably in a deep, rollicking Scottish brogue.

While haggis is the most traditional star of the show, we aren't always up for tracking down a sheep's stomach last minute, and as we assume you aren't either (bully for you if you are, though!). In light of that, we've lined up some crowd-and-cook-friendly ideas for your own Burns supper, inspired by Scotland's enviable bounty of salmon and shellfish. Salty nibbles of Smoked Salmon Mousse on hearty rye toasts kick things off, a lovely foil for your favorite firey whisky. Silky Bay Scallop Chowder warms and comforts, while Salmon Kedgeree brings a much-needed jolt of fresh cilantro and ginger spice. Merrill's gorgeous Black Tea Jelly ends the night on a refreshing and delicately tannic note.

Whether you're tired of winter and find yourself longing for the warm celebratory hum of the holidays, or simply want to see all of your friends in kilts, we think that hosting a Burns night is a marvelous winter tradition worth taking on. 

Shop the Story

Smoked Salmon Mousse on Rye Toasts by merrill



Bay Scallop Chowder by amanda



Leftover Salmon Kedgeree  by deensiebat



Black Tea Jelly by merrill

tea jelly

And if you're feeling particularly generous, it wouldn't be a bad idea to send guests home with a little treat for the morning after. Something oat-filled and hearty enough to pick them up from their whisky haze and make them feel burly enough to go off stomping through the Highlands! 

Mom's Flapjacks by Londonfoodieny


See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • thirschfeld
  • Beautiful, Memorable Food
    Beautiful, Memorable Food
  • Midge
  • pierino
  • gluttonforlife
Miranda Rake

Written by: Miranda Rake

Miranda is a writer and editor in Portland, OR. She has a sweet, curious toddler, and is passionate about all of the usual things like farmers markets, Phoebe Waller-Bridge, and swimming in the sea. She hates leaf blowers and writing in the third person. Until recently, she owned and operated a small jam company, as is typical for a Portland-based millennial like herself.


thirschfeld January 21, 2012
Maybe oxheart braised in red wine a some skirlie stovies. It is sorta that time of year.
pierino January 21, 2012
Oxheart Tom? Bring it man!!
Beautiful, M. January 21, 2012
So much fun! May I also suggest Welsh Rarebit. I've got a funny story involving rarebit and Robert Burns:
Midge January 20, 2012
Merrill's lovely jelly looks so much more appetizing than the cranchacan (tastes like it sounds) I attempted for last year's Burns night.
pierino January 20, 2012
Honestly, I miss the haggis. I really do.
gluttonforlife January 20, 2012
Scotch eggs!
cdilaura January 20, 2012
My take on Inside-Out Scotch Eggs: Ground Lamb + Harissa + Panko
gluttonforlife January 20, 2012
I saw! Looks like it was an amazing evening!
Miranda R. January 20, 2012
Oh Scotch eggs! A brilliant addition!
arielleclementine January 20, 2012
what a fun idea! thanks for the menu!
cdilaura January 20, 2012
I hosted a boozy robert burns bash last year serving all bite-sized takes on Scottish fare (including Merrill's chevre devils and millionaire's shortbread). Full menu (with drink pairings) and the recipe for my Mini Wild Mushroom Shepherd’s Pie made with 12-year scotch (the crowd fav) below if you need more inspiration.