Skirlie Wirlie

Ulster Scots favorites

An old Scottish favorite with a new spicy twist

Sipping a cup of tea with my mom and Auntie Anne they mentioned how their mum (my grandmother) used to often cook Skirlie Wirlie for lunch. My attention was immediately tweaked first by the funny name and then by their description of a savory combination of oats and onions. It’s not a side dish my own mother cooked for us growing up but somehow I was transported back to my grandmothers kitchen. I could imagine her creating a simple meal with freshly dug Irish potatoes and Skirlie Wirlie and providing a nutritious and delicious lunch on a very small budget.

Skirlie is a Scottish side dish or stuffing for fowl and game. The name Skirlie comes from the oats being ‘skirled’ in the skillet. I created this dish for my family with peppery Chorizo sausage and leeks and it paired rather well with the lamb and an interesting crispy crumble with the buttermilk mashed potatoes.

Leek and Chorizo Skirlie Wirlie

• (For Skirlie)
• 1 Tbsp vegetable oil
• 4 oz Chorizo sausage (casing removed and diced)
• 1 large leek (hard leafy green stalks/root removed, washed and chopped)
• 1 cup of steel cut oatmeal
• Salt and freshly ground pepper

How to make it
To make Skirlie heat vegetable oil in a large skillet. Add the Chorizo and cook for 2-3 minutes. Add the chopped leeks and cook for 2 minutes to soften. Stir in the oats to lightly toast in pan for 3-4 minutes, continually stirring with a wooden spoon. Season with salt and pepper.

A ‘wee’ taste of Ulster Scot food heritage!


Judith the Irish foodie