Haggis, round one

“Fair fa’ your honest, sonsie face, Great chieftain o’ the Puddin-race!”  -Ode Tae a Haggis, Robert Burns, 1786


Modern Haggis

Our Thoughts:

In honor of Burns Night (January 25), we’re making Haggis. A traditional Scottish staple,

Just as a disclaimer, we are absolutely planning to prepare our own haggis. However, as it’s tricky to track down all the ingredients, especially in the states, we’re postponing that recipe for just a bit while we search for the elusive wild haggis.

Now, before any haggis lovers go on the defensive, let us just state that of course real haggis is better than canned.

However, we’re crazy about haggis, in just about whatever form it comes.  The canned version is one of our camping trip staples, because it is so easy to prepare. A bit of haggis, spread over toast with some melted cheddar on top? Incredible. Mushrooms stuffed with haggis? The ideal appetizer. Biscuits and haggis gravy? A better breakfast has never been enjoyed.

And if you find the list of ingredients off-putting, just think about the last hot dog you enjoyed; it’s no worse than that!

Modern Haggis

We like the canned version for it’s ease of transportation and storage.  The frozen pack is nice if you will be serving haggis to your guests (and don’t want to make it yourself!), but for general purposes, especially in the US where fresh haggis is nigh unto impossible to obtain, canned is the way to go.

To Serve Haggis: We spread the haggis out on a baking sheet or roasting pan, making sure it is evenly distributed.  Roast in an oven at about 350 degrees for around 20 minutes.  At this point, all the haggis should be hot, but some will have gotten a little crispy.  These are the very best parts! Serve with turnips and potatoes (neeps and tatties).

Haggis Toast: Heat the haggis in a large skillet, making sure to keep it moving so it all heats equally. Spread a thin layer on a piece of toast, add a layer of sharp cheddar cheese, and broil until the cheese is melted. NOM.

Biscuits and Haggis Gravy: in a large skillet, melt just over 1 Tbs. of bacon fat or butter. To this, add 1 Tbs. of flour to make a roux. Blend the butter and flour and let cook until it’s a golden brown. Add in 1 cup of milk, stirring all the while to keep lumps from forming. When you have a nice smooth gravy, add the haggis and stir until the whole mixture is hot. Serve over biscuits!

22 thoughts on “Haggis, round one”

  1. Stephanie says:

    I have to admit that I’ve not seen anyone make it from scratch, even in Scotland. It’s something to buy pre-made.
    And then I’m lazy and I go to a pub to get it.

    1. Rachel says:

      Jamie Oliver did it recently, during his Great Britain show on 4, but he likes to do his 20+ ingredient recipes. I just go to the butcher :-P

  2. Linda says:

    I’ve always ordered the cans from Amazon and a 3 pack was $24. Now a 2 pack is $24. By the time you pay for shipping you’re looking at $15/can. As much as we love it there was no way I was going to pay that. Our local “British foods” store doesn’t sell it in any form. None of our grocery stores sell it. We’ve had the real thing in Scotland for breakfast, lunch and dinner and we absolutely love it. I’m going to miss it very much if the price doesn’t come down. :(

  3. Ledasmom says:

    There is a story, the truth of which I do not vouch for, of a version of the address to the haggis that had been translated into German and then back into English, giving the result “Mighty fuhrer of the sausage people”.

    1. Needs Mead says:

      This is awesome. Especially given that we have a German inn-mate! :)

  4. Tracy says:

    “And if you find the list of ingredients off-putting, just think about the last hot dog you enjoyed; it’s no worse than that!”

    If I thought that much about hot dogs, I wouldn’t be able to eat them.

    1. Needs Mead says:

      EXACTLY! Which is why you should try some haggis. :)

      1. Tracy says:

        I doubt I could find it in my usual haunts here, but I’ll be in London in a few months… what are the chances I’ll find it on the menu at a local establishment?

        1. Needs Mead says:

          I give it good odds! Obviously it would be easier in Scotland, but it’s bound to be easier than in the states! Good luck, and let us know if you find some… :)

          1. Elizabeth Harris says:

            Try Boisdale of Bishopsgate, a Scottish restaurant in London for haggis and many other Scottish delights

  5. Paschendale says:

    I’d certainly like to try it at least once. I saw it made on a Travel Channel show once and I guess it is all in what you are used to. However, I can’t see paying what the above posts say it costs for canned and I have never seen it in any stores around here, so I guess I’ll just have to put that on my list of things to try if the opportunity every arises and I run across it somewhere.

  6. Christopher 'Set' Cotillard says:

    Inspired by your post I too enjoyed a plate of Haggis, Tatties and Neeps. I ended up with The Caledonian Kitchen’s Highland Beef Haggis.

    It was my first ever sampling of Haggis and I enjoyed it thoroughly. It tasted alot like Faggots (I grew up in England before moving to the states), but without the gravy.

  7. Rachel Huang (@RC2Huang) says:

    Unfortunately, haggis is almost impossible to find in the USA due to the old ban on imported products from the UK containing sheep’s lung (not helped by the BSE issue in the 1980s). I once had the interesting experience of sampling a hog roast in a bun…with haggis stuffing. Delicious and almost overpowering.

  8. SM89 says:

    Ideally you should serve it with tatties (potatoes) and neeps (turnips) with a little butter. Serve with either Whiskey or Irn Bru XD true experience.

  9. Kat says:

    Hey, we have that dish here in Brazil, it is called “buchada”. It follows the exact same recipe as tradicional haggis but it is made of goat, not sheep. In can be found in many parts of the country and it always made using fresh ingredients, never canned or smoked. It is a bit too strong tasting for me, maybe the sheep version is more on the mild side? But I can´t help thinking the “buchada” (think i´ll call it goat haggis), is just the perfect thing for the Dothraki ^^. Love the recipes I´ve tried so far too.

  10. harbqll says:

    I managed to locate the haggis recipe we used at War a few years ago:

    • 1 lb beef heart , cut into 2-inch strips
    • 1 lb beef liver
    • 1/2 lb lamb stew meat, cut into 1-inch pieces
    • 1 1/2 cups peeled and finely chopped yellow onion
    • 4 tbsp Scotch whisky (Glenfiddich Solera Reserve 15 year single malt, obviously)
    • 2 cups McCann’s steel-cut oats (toasted first on a cookie sheet at 375F for 10 minutes)
    • 2 tsp salt
    • 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
    • 1 tsp thyme
    • 1/2 tsp rosemary
    • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
    Casings
    • 3 beef caps (http://www.casings.com/html/home-english.html)
    • 1 cup cider vinegar and 1/2 tbsp salt, in 2 quarts cold water
    Directions:
    Place the beef heart in a large pot and cover with water. Simmer (with the lid on) for about an hour to 90 minutes. Add the beef liver and lamb stew meat and let it go another half hour. Remove from heat, extract the meat and set aside. Save around 1 cup of the stock.
    While all that is going on, rinse out your beef caps in cold water, then turn them inside out and soak them in your salt & vinegar mixture for around 30 minutes. Then drain and rinse them well, inside and out.
    Grind up the meats using a coarse grinder plate. (Kitchen-aid rocks!) Mix in the onion, oatmeal, scotch, spices, and enough of your reserved stock to make it workable. Divide the resultant mixture three ways, and fill your beef caps. Tie off the ends with string; some will be open at both ends, others are close-ended. Place your finished haggis in the fridge until mealtime.
    When you’re ready to serve, prick them all over to vent for steam. I used corn-on-the-cob holders. Then drop them in a steamer for an hour to 90 minutes
    Serve with Neeps and Tattys, and a beef or lamb gravy.

    1. duckchick says:

      Nice!! I may have to make this!

    2. Tracy says:

      That sounds quite edible!

  11. Julia Jensen says:

    If you’re lucky enough to have gone to Jungle Jim’s near Cincinnati (http://www.junglejims.com), and visited “England” (the section where I get all my tea and toffee while an animatronic Robin Hood & Pals look down from on high), you’ll find cans of Haggis. And also Vegetarian Haggis.

  12. A_Boleyn says:

    If I ever saw it on a menu, I wouldn’t mind giving it a try but as to making it myself or even buying a canned version, not that Amazon.com ships food out of the US, that’s not going to happen. :)

  13. Pearse says:

    Anyone in Boston been to The Haven? Scottish joint in JP. Really nice beers and atmosphere but haven’t tried the food yet.

    1. Needs Mead says:

      I wasn’t all that impressed with the haggis when I went (bland), but the rest of the food was quite good!

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