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Traditional Scottish Recipes - Clapshot, Stink Soup And Shortbread

Patty collects recipes and gadgets from the past and is particularly interested in early American history and all Indigenous Peoples.


Old World Cuisine in the North Atlantic

Scotland has provided a wealth of culinary dishes in a number of versions. Many are interesting and delicious, while some, like haggis, are not understood nor enjoyed by the world at large.

Some of the most delicious dishes from this country are the simplest, They date back to the time before the Scottish Potato Famine. People did not have a lot, but they made good food with what they did have. I hope you enjoy these recipes.

Haggis, Oatcakes, and Clapshot

Haggis, Oatcakes, and Clapshot

Food Nicknames

Clapshot is also called "Tatties and Neeps" In Scotland and Ireland, because it contains potatoes and turnips.

Clapshot: Potatoes and Turnips

This is a traditional dish served with oatcakes and meat, if there was any.

Serves 4 - 6


  • 1 Pound boiled potatoes, jackets removed
  • 1 Pound boiled turnips, cleaned and boiled
  • Tbsp chopped chives
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 Oz butter


  • After boiling the vegetables, drain them, and mash them together.
  • Season and add butter, continue to beat until mixed well and serve.

Some cooks beat in bacon drippings and/or cooked onions for additional flavor.

You can make shortbread as individual cookies as well - and they'll cook faster.

You can make shortbread as individual cookies as well - and they'll cook faster.

Four-Ingredient Scottish Shortbread

This shortbread is baked all in one piece, perforated into marked sections beforehand with the tines of a fork, but simply broken into pieces when served at the table on a platter, family style.


  • 2 Cups all purpose flour.
  • 1 Heaping Tbsp. cornstarch
  • 1/2 Pound Butter or substitute like Promise brand
  • 1/2 Cup white sugar or Sugar Twin. -- Honey won't do in this recipe, because it will make the cookie moist instead of firm, but you might like that, so do what you will and enjoy.


  • Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
  • Place the flour and salt together into a large mixing bowl and mix well or simply sift together over the bowl. Sifting will bring a lighter texture and feel to the shortbread cookie, so you can choose to mix or sift.
  • In a second bowl, cream the butter and sugar together until lemon-yellow in color.
  • Mix the dry ingredients into the creamed butter and sugar.
  • Knead the dough about 60 seconds with buttered fingers.
  • Cooking spray a baking sheet or use a butter wrapper to grease the baking area.
  • Roll the dough onto a circle on the baking sheet. Prick perforations into the dough to resemble slim slices of pie, but don't pierce the dough all the way to the pan.
  • Bake 25-30 minutes until very light golden brown. Check after 15 minutes to make sure the dough is not baking too fast or brown.
  • Remove the baking sheet from oven straight to a cooking rack and you can sprinkle a little sugar over the top of the cookie if you like. After about 2-3 minutes, remove the cookie from the pan back to the cooling rack by itself to completely cool and set.
  • When cool, transfer cookie to a platter and serve at table for desert or snacks by breaking the shortbread into pieces as needed.

Shortbread is good to eat with fresh or canned fruits and tea or coffee - or a glass of cold milk or buttermilk. Some cooks serve it with chocolate ice cream or any of a variety of puddings or with hot chocolate.

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Shortbread looks very elegant in its fancy wrappings in the supermarket or gourmet food store, but it's really quite simple, easy to make, and down-to-earth as a treat for anyone to enjoy. With only four ingredients, it's a dream desert and a tribute to the Scots' tradition of economy, even if it is one borne of poverty and circumstance. Shortbread is good eats.

Guy Fieri of The Food Network's Diners, Drive Ins and Dives seeks out down-to-earth diners and family owned cafes across America for people that want a simply yet filling, tasty meal at the right price. He might enjoy finding a Scottish diner that serves shortbread like this. Here is a list of Scottish restaurants and inns that I have found and I hope you're in the neighborhood of one and can stop by. Let us know what you had and how you liked it.


Stink Soup (Cullen Skink)

Some Scots call this dish Cullen Skink, which is Scottish Gaelic for something akin to "essence" or aroma. Small children may call it "stink."

Makes 6 bowls or 8-10 mugs of soup.


  • 1 Pound smoked haddock (I've also seen this soup made with cod, salmon, or tuna.)
  • 4 Cups cold water (I use spring water)
  • 1 Yellow onion, peeled and chopped
  • 1 Cup 2% milk
  • 2.5 Cups mashed potaotes
  • 1/4 tsp ground mace
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Garnish (do not add to the pot)

  • 1 Heaping Tbsp Butter and 1/4 Cup chopped parsley


  • In a large saucepan, place the fish and the water over medium high heat. Bring to the boil and immediately set the heat to low.
  • Simmer with a lid half covering the pot for 10 minutes.
  • Remove the fish to a bowl and set the liquid aside to cool.
  • Remove bones from the fish and flake it.
  • Place the fish pieces back into the pot, add onions, cover and simmer over low heat 20 minutes.
  • In a smaller pot, heat milk just to the boil and remove from heat. Pour the milk into the fish pot and simmer 4 minutes longer.
  • Add remaining ingredients except garnishes and heat though. Taste and re-season; pour into a serving turreen; place butter and parsley on the top center and serve.

After the Battle of Culloden in 1746, the crofters left remaining in the West Highlands of Scotland grew a few potatoes on tenant-farm plots to keep for their famiies, while most of the other crops that fit onto their plots were shipped out for sales that profited the wealthy landowners. The poor farmers ate potatoes for roughly 80% of their food intake, with a little soup like the one given above for the better part of a century.

From 1746 - 1880 at least, hunger worsened for these Highlanders. The Highland area landowners, former clan chiefs, began to drive the poor Highlanders to the sea, proclaiming that they were improving the land for raising sheep and curing the problem of "overpopulation" in the Highlands.

In 1844, a potato blight killed 80% of the crofters' potato crop, perhaps worse than in Ireland, meaning that the starving crofters could eat only about 16% of the time - 3 meals a week, perhaps portioned out into tiny rations to last several days. The forced push to the sea became a wave of immigration to America and we were fortunate enough to gain the culture and cuisine of Scotland.

Scottish Drummers in Edinburgh

Craig Ferguson and The Winked Tinkers on Citizenship


This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2010 Patty Inglish MS

Comments and Additions

caretakerray on April 09, 2010:

Patty Inglish, MS:

Some Scottish food is delicious. I especially like their use of oats (I beleive they were one of the first to do so).

thanx for an enlighting culinary hub. :)


Sandra Mireles from Texas on April 09, 2010:

Thank you for this wonderful article and the recipe for Scottish Shortbread. Great hub!

billyaustindillon on April 09, 2010:

That 'Stink Soup' is something else - had many years ago and still it sticks with me.

Pamela Oglesby from Sunny Florida on April 09, 2010:

Great hub with recipes and I enjoyed the music. This hub made Scotland come alive as it was put together so well.

Hello, hello, from London, UK on April 09, 2010:

That was disgusting. Were the landowners also Scottish? Thank you for these lovely recipees. I have written them down

Gemska from Scotland, UK on April 08, 2010:

Oh I love Clapshot and trust me to read this when I'm hungry!

Stink soup though, it's name is very fitting. ;)

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