3629 EPIC christmas feast of glory by imcountingufoz
3629 EPIC christmas feast of glory, a photo by imcountingufoz on Flickr.

It’s never to early to start planning, I say! Christmas has burst upon us in earnest now, with bright lights and jolly Santas and marketers eyeing your skinny wallet. Instead of succumbing to the newest pop-cuisine fads this holiday (Christmas cupcakes, anyone?), why not try your hand at a traditional Scottish Christmas menu? 

Of course, there are nearly as many Scottish Christmas dinners as there are Scots, but here are the basics:

Whew! And if you haven’t had enough food already, here’s the dessert:

Now you may be more apt to emulate those Scots who order Chinese takeout on December 25, but if you’re more culinary minded you might try your hand at one or two of these specialties. I’ve included links to recipes for all the items above, and here are a couple written out in full.

Cock-a-leekie Soup by Laurel Fan
Cock-a-leekie Soup, a photo by Laurel Fan on Flickr.

Cock-a-leekie Soup
Yes, it contains prunes and has a somewhat unappealing name, but a real Britophile will make it anyway 😉 This is from the awesome recipe depository at www.RampantScotland.com.

  • 1 boiling fowl, about 4lb, including legs and wings 
  • 1lb leeks (about 12) cleaned and cut into 1-inch pieces 
  • 4 pints stock or water 
  • 1oz long grained rice 
  • 4oz cooked, stoned prunes (insert bad joke here) 
  • One teaspoon brown sugar 
  • Salt and pepper 
  • Garni of bay leaf, parsley, thyme 
  • Some recipes also have 3 chopped rashers of streaky bacon
  1. Put the fowl and bacon in a large saucepan and cover with water. 
  2. Bring to the boil and remove any scum.
  3. Add three-quarters of the leeks, (green as well as white sections), herbs (tied together in a bundle), salt and pepper and return to the boil. 
  4. Simmer gently for 2-3 hours, adding more water if necessary.
  5. Remove the bird. Some thrifty chefs use the bird as another course, others cut the meat into small pieces and add them back to the soup (certainly it should have some pieces of chicken in it when served). 
  6. Add the rice and drained prunes and the remaining leeks and simmer for another 30 minutes. 
  7. Check for flavour and serve with a little chopped parsley.

Scottish Christmas Turkey
This recipe comes from–no kidding–www.britishturkey.co.uk. You can find them on Facebook and Twitter!


  • 4.6 – 5.6kg (10 – 12lb) turkey, plus giblets
  • 50g / 2oz butter, softened
  • streaky bacon rashers, rinded, (optional)
  • 1 tsp grated orange rind
  • Stuffing:
  • 25g / 1oz butter
  • 100g / 4oz unsmoked back bacon, finely chopped
  • 225g / 8oz onion, finely chopped
  • 2 sticks celery, finely chopped
  • 175g / 6oz medium oatmeal, lightly toasted
  • 50g / 2oz wholemeal breadcrumbs
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 25g / 1oz suet
  • 1 tbsp chopped parsley
  • 1 tbsp freshly chopped sage
  • salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 450ml / ¾ pint well flavoured stock made from giblets
  • 2 tbsp cornflour
  • 2 tbsp orange juice
  • 2 – 3 tbsp whisky

  1. Make the stuffing by heating the butter in a pan, add the bacon, onion and celery and cook over a medium heat for 4 – 5 minutes.  Turn into a bowl and allow to cool.  Add the rest of the ingredients and mix together.  Wipe the inside of the turkey and stuff the neck end, folding the neck skin over and securing with a metal skewer.  Extra stuffing can be spooned into a small greased loaf tin, covered with foil and cooked for 40 minutes in the oven at the end of the cooking time for the turkey.
  2. Weigh the turkey and calculate the cooking time, allowing 20 minutes per kg plus 90 minutes.  Place the turkey in a roasting tin, brush with half the softened butter, season with salt and pepper and place the bacon rashers over the bird, if using, otherwise, loosely cover with foil.  Roast in the oven at 190°C/350°F/Gas Mark 5, basting from time to time.  Remove the bacon or foil 30 minutes before the end of cooking, mix the orange rind with the remaining butter and brush over the turkey.
  3. When the turkey is cooked, the juices that run out of the thigh when pierced with a skewer should be clear.
  4. Lift the turkey onto a serving plate and allow to stand for 15 minutes, while making the gravy.
  5. Skim the fat off the juices from the turkey, pour the juices into a saucepan and add the stock.  Simmer for 5 minutes.
  6. Blend the cornflour with the orange juice, stir into the pan and stir until boiling. Simmer for 5 minutes.  Add the whisky and season if needed and strain into a warmed gravy boat.  Serve the extra stuffing sliced with the carved turkey.

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Written by Abigail Young

I've had a passion for everything British my entire life, despite being raised as a small-town girl in the American Midwest, After years of dreaming, I got the chance to live and work in England for an entire year. Now I write about my favorite country, and hopefully inspire my fellow Britophiles to get over there and experience it for themselves.

This article has 3 comments

    • Abby Rogers Reply

      Thank you for commenting, Bose! The idea of leek and prune soup makes me really wonder…but I’ll bet it’s delicious 🙂

  1. BrightYangThing Reply

    The prunes in cock-a-leekie make if fab.
    But I never have soup as a starter for a heavy meal. Just too filling. Maybe not high cals but all that liquid. A slice or two of smoked salmon from Inverawe plus just some pepper and lemon to start. Then turkey/goose/duck, one stuffiing (breadcrumbs with lemon, thyme and garlic), chipolatas and bacon perhaps (though may have those as lunchtime filler), roast potatoes, roast maple parsnips, glazed carrots and sprouts with bacon/nuts. Madeira gravy and h/m cranberry sauce. Maybe bread sauce but not a favourite here. No pudding. This is at 5:00 pm after a treat of a late breakfast.

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