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The best Scottish potted hough -- two Scottish recipes and more

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The recipe of the best potted hough ever, if you know what I mean!

Potted hough comes from the Scottish "hough", a word that means shin, that is the part of the leg between the knee and the ankle bones. Potted hough means therefore shin in a pot.

For this specific Scottish dish, the shin is from a beef and it is used for this delicious meat in aspic that not many people, other than the Scotts themselves know of as not many people had a Scottish boyfriend to cook it.

In old Scottish, the dish is also referred to as potted heid, or cheese heid.

The reasons for that are not known nowadays. It must be one of those Scottish things that not even the Scottish understand.

Scottish slang -- with translation for those who don't know Scottish - Scottish slang -- the mother tongue of the Scottish

Scottish – Come hither tae yer mither cause yer fayther disney want ye.

English – Please child, come to your mother as your father is really not interested at all!

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Potted hough for the loved one

the way to show love is through good cooking

The advantage of moving in with a man, as opposed to get married first is that the person moving in is regarded as a guest for a while.

If that person is clever, the while can last forever. It is only that if the person is a woman, she has to decide about wanting to change the man and things or just let them as they were before moving in, when everything was fine.

Some women are strangely oblivious of their own good. They want to start cooking and washing right away, before even knowing why. The man will resent this first as an invasion of his territory but at the end he will accept the new system out of love. Then very soon he will get used to it and try as much you would like, he will never revert to his old ways of being the Master of the house, kitchen included.

A Scottish cook book -- I guess it has a potted hough recipe too!

The clever bird eats the potted hough

early in the morning, later for lunch and in the evening too

When I moved in with Bill, I did not try to change his habits right away. It was not much to be done in Gaborone on a weekend but golf so Saturdays were Bill's golfing days. He used to feel guilty about leaving me alone and wanting to be extra nice in the evenings there was always something special he cooked for me.

But no matter how hard he tried, there was nothing that I was more pleased with than the potted hough. He introduced me to this Scottish specialty one day when he run out of other ideas, he said, and never understood why do I like potted hough so much.

Well, first of all because of the taste, than the texture, than the fact that it is one clean natural dish with no chemicals added or chemically changed by some complex processing.

When the hearts melt but the potted hough stands firm

Scottish songs

Scottish people like their music -- here are some funny Scottish songs



First thing first, the meat

The shinbone with the meat must be cut into slices

Potted hough is made out of beef shin, cut slices through the bones. Bill used to ask the butcher to cut the round pieces into roughly 1 cm thick, but most of the times that is how beef shin were pre packed on the shelves of Pick And Pay at the Kgale View Shopping Center.



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Starting the process of cooking is the first step to the potted hough

Water is a scarce resource in Africa but it is a must for the potted hough

The pieces of shin are placed into a pot, no salt added yet, with water to cover comfortably over.



This Stage of the Cooking Is Easy

no action needed but leave the pot alone to simmer

When the content of the pot starts boiling, the fatty foam is spooned off in the first five minutes, as to leave the broth clear and nice. The meet is cooked on a slow heat for long time, up to six hours till the meat can be taken apart just by probing into the pot with a fork.



An extra bonus, the bone marrow on a toast

Does it sound strange to the modern human?

Then the bones must be taken off the pot, into a mound on a steaming plate.

The bones than can be emptied from their marrow which must be eaten on a piece of toasted bread, salted slightly, there and then, next to the stove, before dinner, in fact before or after anything. If the marrow gets cold, it is all spoilt. You who are reading this, if you don't know how bone marrow on a toast is, and if you are still one lively natural human being and not yet cast in plastic, try it as soon as you can get the shin, I am sure you will like it. For me, it is the time of my childhood, when a bone had to be shared by the whole family. Everyone had a little piece of toasted bread with a taste of bone marrow on it. Yummi!!

Bill never wanted any of it, he said he did not know about that dish.


Closing in the potted hough to the finish

Well, after the bones are out of the pot, the hough is almost done. By now, there is not much broth left, it all boiled down to just cover the meat. The meat appears as of little short strands, like shredded, as it is taken off the bones. The bones are clean of meat, nice bones. The little pieces of fat are taken apart from the neat meat.

The remaining broth is cleaned of most of the fat floating on the surface. This can be done simply with a spoon. Then, the broth must be poured over the strands of beef in the bowls. The bowls are left overnight to set into a firm form of aspic.



Bowls of potted hough just waiting to be set for the loved one

then the loved one can eat and be happy for the day

The content of the pot, the potted hough, is dished into bowls and let to harden as an aspic. Even in the heat of Botswana, the potted hough got into the form of an aspic over night without fail every time Bill cooked it.

The next day, it was the potted hough for breakfast, for lunch and for dinner and nobody was happier than me, maybe only Bill who felt much appreciated and a proud Scotsman proving the superiority of the Scotts as men, the Scotts as boyfriends and the Scotts as chefs. It all came together in a bowl of potted hough.

I did not have the dish in a long while; my current husband is a German, so I switched my favorite dish to the Pork Knuckle in sour Kraut - but this will be another lens.

It turns out Bill had his own recipe for happiness

Twisting a bit the recipe, to make it simpler

An amazing fact surfaces now: I did a bit of research for this lens and I found out that Bill was not exactly truthful to me about the potted hough. He was not using the original recipe but made it up to be simpler.

At second thought though, this should not come as a surprise to me as he did not tell me about himself being still married to another lady either, and that was for the five full years that we have been living together.

Well, it looks like there are two kinds of recipes for the potted hough, The Scottish recipe and Bill's recipe.

So, I tried the original one now, the one that every Scottish recipe site is promoting. I also tried recipes published on various sites that recommend the use of leeks and carrots to the hough./p

I have to admit that Bill's potted hough beats the genuine Scottis recipe. Bill's potted hough is better by far. The use of vegetables makes the broth opaque and the taste is getting close to any vegetable soup you know. The meat getting minced will change the texture and taste into a rather bland cold paste. The potted hough, the way Bill used to make would still win the contest of potted houghs in Botswana, if it would be ever organized. Hm, maybe it can be a project for the future?



The bones can be given to the dog; she/he will be happy too

Creating happiness all round

an extra extra bonus: the bones for the dog!

Cook Time

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: six hours simmering on its own

Serves: good people sharing


  • 3 -31/2 pound of beef shin
  • sliced through the bone
  • water to cover the meat in the pot
  • salt and pepper to taste


  1. place meat into pot. Cover with water. Let it simmer for six hours or so. When meat comes off bones easy, add salt and pepper to taste, take pot off the stove. Place solid content on a plate. Use fork to take off meat of the bones in shreds. Place meat shreds into bowls. Take fatty spots off the broth's surface. Pour broth over meat into bowls. Let potted hough set over night.

Cook Time

Prep Time: half an hour

Total Time: six hours to simmer

Serves: guests and family

The original Scottish recipe for potted hough

  • 3 -31/2 pounds beef shin
  • a leek
  • a carrot
  • an onion
  • (cayenne) pepper to taste
  • water to cover
  • salt to taste


  1. Simmer the meat for six hours or so. When cooked to tender, place shin off the pot. Remove meat from shinbone. Mince meat and place it back into the pot. Salt pepper to taste. Boil for another 20 minutes. Pour content of pot into bowls. Let potted hough set into firm form.

Potted Hough from St Andrews - St Andrew's Day recipes

St Andrew's Day recipes (37)

Looking for traditional Scottish recipes? We have haggis recipes, Cullen skink, cranachan, oatcakes, Selkirk Bannock, clootie dumpling, mince and tatties, Scotch broth, cock-a-leekie soup and more.

Famous Scottish quotes and sayings -- Scottish wisdom and humor - -- Scottish wisdom and humor -- you know when you see it it's Scottish!

Scottish humor is very funny for a non Scottish person. When Scottish people come together -- they like to say the jokes that they already know. If everyone knows the joke then it's at its best. When one does not know the joke that one is explained with patience until that one knows it too But I never witnessed such a situation -- all the Scotsmen I knew knew all the Scottish jokes they were telling to each other at the golf club. .Scottish women are not interested in the Scottsmen's jokes.

Scottish recipes posted on food blogs -- more Scottish recipes online - Scottish cooking experience online

Do you need a recipe for a Scottish dish? There are Scottish food blogs you can check for them.

St Andrew -- the beautiful city with a rich history symbolic of Scotland - The old burgh of St. Andrews of Sctoland

November 30th is an important Saint Andrew's Day celebration in Scotland. The patronage of the saint whose name means 'manly' also covers fishmongers, gout, singers, sore throats, spinsters, maidens, old maids and women wishing to become mothers.

St. Andrews top places to see -- the golf course but not only -- top restaurants and hotels - Traveling to Scotland? Find reviews of Saint Andrews hotels and re

St. Andrews is the pride of every Scot. It has a rich history of culture and traditions -- it is a symbol for Scotland of the Scots coming out as best. In St Andrews id the third oldest University in the whole English speaking world -- and that stands for a great chunk of it. Besides top quality hotels and restaurants to accommodate travelers, there is the ST. Andrews cathedral too, to stand witness of the times when the Scots have been an important player in the world history. St Andrews is also known worldwide as the "home of golf". This is in part because the Royal and Ancient Golf Club, founded in 1754 and being up to our days considered one of the best golf courses in the world. Read about the places to visit and get familiar with the hotels and restaurants around St.Andrews -- if you will ever visit -- you can feel at home.

Do you like Scottish people? - Are they all playing golf?

Lorelei Cohen from Canada on April 05, 2012:

We always referred to this dish as headcheese as it was made from the head or feet of a pig. My father is Scottish and my mother of Ukrainain - Russian descent. It amazes me always the many traditional recipe dishes that we carry with our families.

crstnblue on March 22, 2012:

Goooood lens!

Potted hough for the loved one!? Ok, now have to follow this recipe to get one or another! : ))

anonymous on February 02, 2012:

Just had to return with some angel dust to sprinkle over your Scottish Hough!

LouisaDembul on January 17, 2012:

I have a few Scottish friends and they are really nice! No golf, though. They usually make an effort to speak so we can all understand what they are saying!

jadehorseshoe on January 14, 2012:


Lorelei Cohen from Canada on December 15, 2011:

I was going to make it over to your webpages yesterday to wish you a very happy holiday season but I got delayed and did not make it. Now you have beat me to this by visiting my pages And being of Scottish background I do indeed like Scottish people although I must admit that I have never had potted hough...or heard of it before visiting here. The very best of seasonal wishes to you and your family.

Lisa Auch from Scotland on November 10, 2011:

....Well from a Scottish 'Gal thankyou for sharing our dellicious recipe! Blessed

Mark Falco from Reno, Nevada on October 19, 2011:

I had the pleasure of trying Haggis when in Edinburgh a few years back but I've never heard of potted hough before. It looks a little too time consuming for my particular set of kitchen skills but next time I visit Scotland I'll be on the look out for it. Thanks for the education.

Gordon N Hamilton from Wishaw, Lanarkshire, United Kingdom on September 02, 2011:

Well, mismatch, as a Scot, I suppose I had better say yes... :)

I loved your recipe ideas for potted haugh. I remember my Gran used to make it when I was a child but I couldn't even guess how many years it must be since I've eaten it. A lot of butcher's shops here in Scotland still sell it but you have convinced me to have a go at making it.

I love it spread on hot buttered toast with freshly ground black pepper. I can actually taste it as I'm typing!

Thanks for the memories and the inspiration.

viscri8 (author) on July 09, 2011:

@anonymous: The wise man chooses the best of what there is. Well said what you wrote, I would say.

viscri8 (author) on July 09, 2011:

@anonymous: Thanks.I hope you will enjoy one day the potted hough.

viscri8 (author) on July 09, 2011:

@juditpaton: wisdom is a virtue.

anonymous on July 09, 2011:

I like the Scotch from the Scottish. The hough is well served to whet my appetite. Well served I would say.

anonymous on May 21, 2011:

You nailed it, I have never had a Scottish boyfriend to make Scottish potted hough, this tantalized my taste buds just reading, so it must be outstandingly delicious. Yes, I like Scottish people!

anonymous on May 10, 2011:

I take the 5th amendment.

Iudit Gherghiteanu from Ozun on May 10, 2011:

I take the 5th amendment.

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