When our neighbours invited us to their annual Robbie Burns Day / Chinese New Year celebration this weekend and challenged me to bring a traditional Scottish dish a là Vegan, I had lofty hopes of creating some fun-derful Chinese/Scottish/Vegan fusion cuisine, something the likes this world has never seen. But it turns out the world HAS seen stuff like this! In fact, many communities celebrate this fusion, shouting “Gung Haggis Fat Choy!” from the rooftops whilst knoshing on entrail stuffed won tons. Go figure!
So, I decided to stick to the original request and harken back to my Scottish roots to create a very “bonney” meal of food. But Macintosh toffee is not vegan, so I had to venture beyond my current realm of knowledge.
Googling “Scottish Food” seemed like a scary prospect for sweet, little vegan me, but I was pleasantly surprised! I found tons of naturally vegan, veggie stuffed dishes and a quite a few vegan haggis recipes to boot–even a commercially produced variety that seems like the safer choice for Scottish tinged omnies everywhere! In fact, I got so wrapped up reading about Scottish food, that I nearly ran out of time to make my Scottish dish! So, with but a wee hour to concoct my potluckable fare, I was suddenly struck with an epiphany: I would package up all my new found knowledge about the foods of my ancestral land and shove them into dish that I knew from past experience is potluck gold.
Thus was born “Skirlie Tattie Squares.” Skirlie Tatties are a traditional Scottish dish of crispy-fried oatmeal topped mashed potatoes. Potatoes with a crunchy topping made me think of Isa Chandra Moskowitz’s yummy recipe for Spinach Potato Squares in Vegan Brunch, so I decided to mash up some tatties (potatoes, silly!) with a bunch of Scottish-ish ingredients I read about and Scottificate the heck out of those squares.
Since I didn’t have any steel cut or extra fine (pinhead, hee! hee!) oatmeal on hand, an absolute must for authentic Skirlie, I don’t know if I should be using the name, but I promise I’ll try it with oatmeal next time, so don’t get all “Braveheart” on my bottom. Seriously, I don’t know how the Cree in me would react.
(also, I was in a big hurry and did not get a lot of flattering pics, so please just look inside your heart and envision something beautiful as you read….Good job!)
Skirlie Tattie Squares
- 5 medium-large yellow potatoes, diced, skins on
- 2 1/2 cups vegetable stock
- 2 large leeks, white parts only, sliced
- 1 small sweet onion , sliced
- 2-3 cups savoy cabbage, chopped (about 1/4-1/2 of a large cabbage)
- 2 tsp dried thyme, or 2 tbs fresh, minced
- 1-2 tsp sea salt, to taste
- black pepper, to taste
- 2 slices whole wheat bread, toasted
- 2 tbs nutritional yeast
1. In a large pot, boil potatoes in veggie stock until very soft, about 10-12 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, Preheat oven to 400ºF. In a large skillet, saute onions and leeks over medium-high heat in a little olive oil cooking spray for about 4 minutes, until onions begin to soften.
3. Deglaze skillet using a few tbs of vegetable stock or white wine. Add cabbage in two batches, adding more liquid if necessary. Sauté for 1-2 minutes, then reduce heat and cover. Cook for about 4 minutes.
4. Back in tater country, once tatties are nice and soft, remove from heat and drain only enough stock that you still have plenty for mashin’. Now mash!
5. Add leeks and cabbage to mashed potatoes. Stir in thyme, nooch (nutirional yeast, silly!), salt and pepper. Taste and adjust seasoning as necessary.
6. Whir 1 1/2 pieces of toast in your food processor or coffee grinder to produce a mighty fine crumb. Stir crumbs into potato mixture and spread the whole she-bang into a 9″X13″ glass baking pan, sprayed generously with olive oil spritzeroo.
7. Whir your last, measly toasty piece in your pulverizer of choice and sprinkle crumbs over tatties. Give the dish a dusteroo of nooch and more salt and pepper and spritz crumbs with olive oil. Bake for 30 minutes, allow to cool for at least 10-15 minutes before cutting into squares and serving.
Yar! No, that’s pirate. Nevermind.