Neeps and tatties: traditional fare of Scotland

Every Jan. 25 many Scots and non-Scots who are fans of the great poet Robert Burns celebrate the anniversary of his birth with a dish or a meal of foods of Scotland.

Traditional fare for this kind of meal would be haggis, neeps, and tatties, which most everyone has who visits Scotland, as I did a few years ago.

Haggis is the famous mixture made with oats, suet, hearts, and kidneys, which is cooked in a sheep's stomach. Neeps and tatties are mashed turnips and potatoes.

This week, in a small tribute to the poet, we suggest the following dish of turnips, not cooked the Scottish way, but nevertheless a utilization of a sometimes neglected winter vegetable. Braised Turnips 1 1/2 pounds small white turnips Chicken or beef stock 3 tablespoons butter Salt and pepper 1 tablespoon lemon juice 1 tablespoon chopped parsley

Trim and peel turnips, leaving them whole if small. Cut larger ones into halves or quarters. They may also be trimmed into olive shapes.

Blanch them by bringing to boil in enough salted water to cover and boil steadily seven minutes. Drain and arrange in one layer in casserole with cover.

Add chicken or beef broth to almost cover, but not completely. Add butter and seasoning. Bring liquid to a boil, cover tightly, and cook on top of the stove at the barest simmer, about 20 minutes, until tender but not falling apart.

Transfer with slotted spoon to hot serving dish. Boil down whatever liquid remains almost to a glaze and pour over turnips. Season with lemon juice and sprinkle with finely chopped parsley.

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