These 6 Must-Try Scottish Christmas Recipes Will See You Through Starter, Main and Dessert…
Let’s be honest. The best part about Christmas is the food! We have a sweet tooth at Clootie HQ, but Christmas is a time to raid Scotland’s savoury larder. With so many options to enjoy at this time of year you won’t go hungry. Of course, we won’t say no to any sweet treats that come our way either…
My favourite is easy – the bread sauce!
Can you imagine a sprout or slice of turkey without it?
In my opinion the best Christmas food is homely, homemade fare. Homemade is often healthier and more nutritious (even if it comes with added cream at Christmas!).
What’s so special about Scottish food at Christmas? Well, we have everything covered. From moreish nibbles, smoked salmon starters, venison wellington, and traditional turkey to the queen of Christmas puddings – the clootie dumpling.
Read on to find out how you can turn your Christmas dinner table into a Scottish feast.
Christmas Dinner With A Scottish Twist
We’ve hand-picked our favourite recipes from the Clootie McToot blog and the Scottish corners of the internet to bring you truly scrumptious scran this Christmas.
(If you didn’t know, scran is a Scottish word for food! Usually of the tasty, filling variety).
Try making one (or all!) of these Scottish Christmas recipes this festive season and let me know how you get on.
To be honest, there were so many options it was hard to whittle down this list to just 6 Scottish recipes. But you must leave room for turkey sandwiches on Boxing Day, right?
Our menu for a fabulous Scottish Christmas Feast:
Scotch Egg Bon Bons – a quirky side dish or appetiser
Cock-a-leekie Soup – a winter warmer of a starter
Turkey with Haggis Stuffing – a Scottish twist on the traditional main
Clootie Dumpling – Granny’s favourite dessert
Shortbread – the perfect companion to after-dinner coffee
Scottish Cheese Board – using leftover dumpling!
Everyone knows and loves haggis bon bons – a popular breaded appetiser in Scotland. But mini Scotch Eggs are equally delicious. Quail eggs are enveloped in seasoned sausage meat to make bite-sized bon bons your guests will gobble up.
If you’re looking for something more substantial, try our Scotch Eggs with a difference recipe. I think this recipe is perfect for Boxing Day grazing as you can use leftover clootie dumpling from Christmas Day in the mixture.
Remember that you can easily reduce the fat content by baking both recipes instead of frying.
Cock-a-leekie is Scotland’s national soup. It’s a flavoursome broth of leeks, chicken and rice. What many people don’t know is that another key ingredient to cock-a-leekie is prunes! They add a beautiful sweetness to the chicken and leek.
Try our Clootie McToot family recipe, beloved by café customers and friends & family alike!
It’s the perfect winter warmer to get your Christmas dinner party started.
The Main Event
Turkey might seem more American than Scottish, but it’s what’s inside that counts. Namely, haggis stuffing! We love this Simon Howie recipe for Pork & Haggis Stuffing.
Rich, peppery haggis adds pizzaz to the turkey and will leave guests demanding second helpings. Serve with all the trimmings and lashings of bread sauce.
Clootie dumpling gets its name from the ‘cloot’ or cloth its boiled in (‘cloot’ is Scots for ‘cloth’). The cloot is usually made from a light material, such as muslin. To be truly traditional, you could make like your Scottish ancestors and use a pillowcase (at Clootie McToot we opt for a freshly boiled ‘cloot’!).
Traditionally, a clootie dumpling is made with suet, sprinkled with spice, and studded with plump dried fruit. Where possible we source local ingredients from Scotland’s bountiful larder, and use seasonal produce. This means some of our dumplings are only available at specific times of the year, such as our Rhubarb and Ginger Clootie Dumpling.
We even have a Gluten Free Clootie Dumpling for GF guests!
The dumpling mixture is then placed in the ‘cloot’ which has been sprinkled with flour. The flour helps the dumpling form the classic clootie skin after it’s been boiled. We like to give our clootie a ‘wee skelp’ for good luck before leaving it to boil for a few hours.
Balancing sweet and savoury, with its rich spices and heavy texture, it’s no wonder clooties became a staple dish at Christmas and Hogmanay, bringing some welcome warmth and sustenance to long, Scottish winters.
There’s a special secret ingredient to a traditional clootie dumpling. It’s an old Scottish tradition to hide silver coins, rings or charms inside the dumpling mixture. Maybe you have fond memories of finding a sixpence piece, or ‘tanner’ wrapped in greaseproof paper in your slice of clootie? Some charms foretold the future of the lucky (or unlucky!) person who found it. A bell, for example, signified marriage but if a man found a button, he was destined to remain a bachelor, and spinsterhood awaited any woman who found a thimble.
To Round Things Off…
Is shortbread a Christmas thing?
Traditionally in Scotland, shortbread was eaten at Christmas and Hogmanay although now it’s eaten all year round. You know we love tradition at Clootie McToot, which is why we’ve suggested Christmas shortbread as an accompaniment to after-dinner coffee.
Shortbread is something special—a crumbly, buttery, melt-in-the-mouth biscuit dusted with fine crystals of sugar and usually printed with quaint patterns in various shapes and sizes. It’s another Scottish classic where granny’s recipe is usually best!
If you’re worried about feeling too full you can always make smaller bite-sized ‘rounds’ of buttery goodness.
If savoury is more your style, what about a celebratory festive cheeseboard?
We love a good Scottish cheeseboard at Clootie HQ. Everyone can dig in and help themselves and you get to find out what everyone’s favourites are!
Picture the platter: Isle of Mull Cheddar sits proudly alongside Hebridean blue cheese and creamy crowdie. Seasonal fruit bejewels the board. An assortment of oatcakes, pickles and jams nestle amongst the cheese and fruit…
…and, what’s this? An unexpected guest! A slice of leftover clootie dumpling.
It might sound maverick but clootie dumpling makes a fab addition to any Scottish cheeseboard. The spiced fruit and heavy texture work well with soft cheese, quince jellies and sweet pickles. Try it for yourself and see!
Tis The Season To Be Jolly – With A Tipple Or Two!
Make the season merry with a cheeky cocktail before your Christmas dinner.
Try one (or two!) of our 9 Scottish inspired festive cocktails. Drambuie is a key ingredient to most Scottish cocktails, a decadent heather honey infused liqueur that’s perfect for this time of year.
The Flora MacDonald is sure to get folks on their feet! And we’ve even provided a special Irish Coffee for caffeine lovers.
Don’t Fancy Cooking?
December is a month to indulge in glorious food, but if the thought of cooking a banquet makes you shudder (clootie dumplings do take 3-4 hours to cook!) then we’ve got a solution.
This month Clootie HQ is open late on the 16th and 22nd of December so you can pick up clootie dumplings for Christmas pudding and any other sweet treats that take your fancy.
You can also put your feet up for an hour or so over a coffee. Our shop and café in Abernethy look like Santa’s grotto come December and is the perfect spot to indulge in some ‘me time’ this festive season.
Or you could brave the cold and visit us at Perth Farmer’s Market. It’s the last time our Christmas elves will be selling clootie dumplings at a market until 2022, so make sure you don’t miss out!
Merry Christmas And Happy Feasting From Clootie McToot
I hope you’ve enjoyed these suggestions on how to celebrate Christmas Scottish style. Please let me know if you try any of these traditional Scottish recipes this Christmas. There’s something special about how good food brings friends and family together, which in my mind is what the festive season is all about.
As this will be my last blog of 2021 I’d like to say “Merry Christmas and all the best for 2022” to all our Clootie Clan. Thank you for supporting our wee family-run business this year, we couldn’t do what we do without you. Have a wonderful Christmas and we’ll see you in 2022 for more traditional Scottish recipes and clootie dumplings!