Sit down Dick Clark, I’m talking about Robert Burns. The 18th century Scottish poet, who gave us such classics as “Address to a Haggis” and “A Red, Red Rose,” penned “Auld Lang Syne.” Sure, none of us know the words, but that doesn’t stop us from mumbling through it every year.
Now, I imagine ol’ Rabbie Burns wasn’t much of a grilling guy, but he probably would’ve approved of my take on the Scottish staples lamb, neeps and tatties (turnips and potatoes). Rather than mashing both vegetables -- the traditional method -- I grill the turnips with scallions. The sweet, smoky flavor of the turnips is the perfect contrast to the buttery mashed potatoes and savory lamb. In keeping with the Scottish theme, I used herbs and seasonings that could be found in Burns' Scotland.
And what better way to chase away the Champagne hangover than a couple fingers of single malt Scotch (hair of the Scotty dog)? I'm a Macallan fan, myself, but with five distinct Scotch regions and dozens of distilleries to choose from, there are plenty of whiskies out there to like.
Grilled Lamb with Neeps and Tatties
(Makes four servings)
8 potatoes, (Yukon gold or other mashing potato) quartered
3 turnips, quartered
4 green onions
1 head of garlic, minced
2 tbs. thyme
1 stick of butter
1/4 cup of cream
Salt and cracked black pepper to taste
Before heading out for your New Year’s Eve celebrations, season the lamb with the salt, pepper, thyme and garlic. When you’re up and about the next day, pull the lamb out of the fridge and light the charcoal (if you have a gas grill, hold off lighting it until you’re ready to cook).
Add the turnips and potatoes to dueling pots of boiling salted water. Cook the turnips for about 10 minutes and the potatoes for about 20 minutes, or until both are tender. Pull the pots off the heat and drain the turnips and potatoes separately.
While the potatoes are still hot, add them back to the pot and mash with a wooden spoon or potato masher. Add the butter, salt, pepper and cream. Continue mashing in the pot until the ingredients are fully incorporated. For smoother potatoes, finish the potatoes off in a food processor. When finished, cover with aluminum foil and set them in a warm oven.
When the grill is ready, scrape the garlic off the lamb leg (as best you can) and place it over the hottest spot for three to four minutes until a crust forms. Turn the lamb and cook for another three minutes. Move the lamb to a cooler spot of the grill and cook with the cover on for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, uncover the grill, and coat the green onions and boiled turnips with vegetable oil and season with salt and black pepper. Place the vegetables on the grill next to the lamb, turning as necessary to prevent too much charring. When the turnips and onions are ready, the lamb should be ready to come off (if you like your lamb rare, pull it off after 30 minutes).
While the lamb leg rests for seven minutes, dice the onions and turnips and toss together.
When the lamb is ready, carve it up and pass it out with the neeps and turnips.
Happy New Year!