On the 11th Day of Christmas... Neeps and Tatties

On the 11th Day of Christmas my true love gave to me... 11 Pipers Piping! Scottish bagpipes are my theme for this day.

11 pipers piping (Scottish neeps and tatties)

Ten pups a'pouncing (puppy pies)

Nine Pavlovas dancing (Christmas wreath Pavlova)

Eight maids a'milking a golden cow (turmeric milk)

Seven swans a'swimming (in homemade eggnog)

Six chicks a'laying (Japanese omelettes)

Five golden onion rings (in curry spiced batter and Sriracha dipping sauce)

Four calling bird's beak chilis (Tom Kha Gai)

Three game hens (roasted with honey-mead-apricot glaze)

Two chocolate turtles

And a winter green salad on a roasted pear tree!

Neeps and tatties are the Scottish nomenclature for turnips and potatoes. Except turnips in Scotland aren't our turnips in the US. Here we should call this dish "ruties and tatties" because what's really called for are rutabagas. Turnips here in the US are in the radish family—hot and spicy. Rutabagas are sweet and earthy—a perfect compliment to mashed potatoes. So... if you live in the US and want to make neeps and tatties, do not buy turnips or you will be sorry... unless of course you love mashed radishes. Buy rutabagas and you're on your way to mashed potato heaven.

You can make neeps and tatties by themselves—a serving of neeps and a serving of tatties side by side—or you can mash them both together. I'm not particularly fond of mashed potatoes on their own, so this recipe mashes them together. It's delicious. But I'm Scottish so maybe there's something to that.

Neeps and tatties are traditionally served alongside haggis, the national food of Scotland, which is an organ meat pudding made from sheep's heart, liver and lungs. (Not required... You will not be killed if you opt for a pot roast, ham or duck instead.)


Equal parts (or weights) rutabagas and potatoes, chopped into 1-inch cubes

Butter to taste, melted

Cream or milk to taste

Salt and pepper to taste

Place the rutabagas into a pot and fill with water. Bring to a boil, and cook for 15 minutes. Add the potatoes and cook an additional 15 minutes, or until fork tender. Strain and allow to drain for a couple minutes or so.

Mash the neeps and tatties with your mashing gadget of choice (potato masher, ricer, paddle attachment on your mixer, etc) slowly adding melted butter and cream as you go. Mash in the salt and pepper.

Serve warm with a dollop of butter, or put it under the broiler to brown the top.