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How to make your own Haggis for Burns Night
Food & Drink

How to make your own Haggis for Burns Night

23 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.

Ingredients

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

225g/8oz oatmeal

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

So you’ve sourced your ingredients and you’re raring to go - now it’s time to cook your haggis! You’ll need something to bake it in, like a Le Creuset casserole dish from The White Company.

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!

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