How to make your own Haggis for Burns Night23 January 2019
Wee, sleekit, cow’ring, tim’rous patty... if you’ve ever wondered how to make the most authentic haggis and how it came to be, you’ve come to the right place just in time for Burns Night! Banish all preconceptions about the questionable Scottish delicacy and give your tastebuds something new to consider - and you’ll be surprised at how unremarkable this innards-based delight is to eat.
Once upon a time…
Though the origins of haggis are disputed, the earliest record of the dish can be found in Homer’s Odessey and it’s suggested that the recipe came to Scotland via Scandinavia, possibly even before Scotland was a single nation some 1100 years ago. A highly practical meal for hunters in the days of yore, haggis is made using the offal, or entrails, of an animal, bulked out with oatmeal and onions and cooked inside the stomach which doubled up as a ready-made cooking bag. Nowadays, synthetic casings are used in place of the stomach which happily makes no difference to the flavour.
The meat of the matter
It’s entirely up to you which animal you choose for your haggis (check out Great British Meat Co for a great selection) but the most common is sheep, or you can sub in vegan alternatives like lentils.
1 sheep's stomach or ox secum, cleaned and thoroughly, scalded, turned inside out and soaked overnight in cold salted water
heart and lungs of one lamb
450g/1lb beef or lamb trimmings, fat and lean
2 onions, finely chopped
1 tbsp salt
1 tsp ground black pepper
1 tsp ground dried coriander
1 tsp mace
1 tsp nutmeg
water, enough to cook the haggis
stock from lungs and trimmings
Follow BBC Good Food to find out how to prep your haggis.
Cook up a storm
1. Gently simmer in water for 50 mins per 500g.
2. Bake in a lidded casserole dish with a splash of water at 190C/170C fan/gas 5 for 1 hr.
Or, to microwave, cook on medium for 9 mins, turning once.
3. Once the haggis is very hot, cut a cross in the middle and spoon out the filling
Serve with: a strong ale or whisky from The Whisky Exchange and of course neeps and tatties (sweet potatoes and potatoes) mashed with butter.
A Grand Entrance
Lastly, as you bring in the haggis to serve to your (long-suffering) guests, give your masterpiece the introduction it deserves by reciting a few lines of Robert Burns’ ‘Address to a Haggis’ as Scots have done down the centuries.
Deep breath and: “Aboon them a' ye tak your place, Painch, tripe, or thairm…” - or you could just stick to a good old ‘ta dah’ instead.
Waste not want not
Leftover haggis doubles up as fantastic stuffing for a roast or to fill peppers and mushrooms and with its strong peppery flavour is excellent in a shepherds pie. Bon appetit!