HAGGIS by forrests


									The thriftiness of using every part of an animal certainly appeals to chefs today who are fans of offal, and tail to snout cooking. And though it is time consuming to cook it is not impossible. The traditional Scottish haggis which is steeped in mystery and myths is really just a dish consisting of the heart, lungs, and liver of a sheep, calf, etc. minced with suet and oatmeal, seasoned with salt, pepper, onions, etc., and boiled like a large sausage. Of course now haggis comes in a vegetarian form as well. According to VisitScotland.com, haggis makers Macsweens reckon that haggis was first introduced as the raw ingredients had to be presented in a more acceptable form – i.e. ‘Necessity is the mother of invention’. Thousands of years ago, when a beast was slain, the carcass would be

partly eaten, then had to be dried or salted to preserve it. The edible offals had to be used, so why not chop them up, mix with cereal and cook in the ready-made vessel – the stomach. There you had the first haggis…or medieval boil-in-the-bag meal. Not far at all from the medieval days of a boil-inthe-bag meal is the haggis you can enjoy today. Butchers and chefs who love to cook it don’t really stray too far from the original recipes but they do enjoy cooking it on modern appliances. Below are Chef Buchanan’s instructions for do it yourself haggis that is sure to surprise and delight your guests and customers.

Photo Courtesy of Scottish Viewpoint

By Francine Cohen
There’s pudding, and then there’s pudding. For many of us who grew up in the States, when someone asks if you want pudding you may think back to snack packs tucked into lunch boxes, and watching the skin form on the big bowl of chocolate My-T-Fine as it cools in the refrigerator. But ask a Scotsman about his favorite pudding and surely butterscotch will NOT be the answer. He’ll probably fondly recount the last time he ate haggis. And you’ll probably look at him without a clue as to what he’s talking about. And it’s not because you can’t understand his charming brogue. It’s because for most of us, haggis isn’t in our food vocabulary. Or, if it is in there, it is in there under the list of things we’ve never eaten, much less attempted to make or serve. Go to Scotland though and you’ll see it served all sorts of delicious and tempting ways. 44

INGREDIENTS Heart and lungs of one lamb up to a hogget (1yr old sheep) 450g/1lb beef or lamb trimmings, fat and lean 2 onions, very finely chopped 225g/8oz oatmeal - pinhead 1 tbsp salt 1 tsp freshly ground white pepper 1 tsp freshly ground coriander seeds 1 tsp mace (at a push you could use freshly ground allspice instead) 1 tsp nutmeg Water, enough to cook the haggis Stock from lungs and trimmings

Ways so creative you can’t possibly pass up just a little taste. At Howies in Aberdeen you can order haggis as a first course; on the menu there it is listed as croquettes of haggis in oatmeal with red onion marmalade and sweet chili. It gets served as a canapé at fancy cocktail parties. And Fiona Buchanan, the chef who owns Heart Buchanan in Glasgow, recommends various other options as she notes that haggis burgers (a 50/50 mix of beef and haggis) and haggis pakoras are diner favorites. She remarks, “Haggis is really just a type of big delicious sausage (puddin). The Scots eat, and have always eaten, haggis as a matter of course – kids too! Lots prefer haggis and chips to the old classic fish and chips. Like all offal dishes it demonstrates well how a nation can thrive in more meager times with a touch of thrift.”

All butchers have their own recipe and title of best haggis maker is fiercely fought. The secret is mostly in the spice mixture used to flavor the meat and oatmeal – what you’re looking for in a perfect haggis is a reasonably amount of fragrant/peppery spice and moistness. To make venison haggis just use deer heart and lungs instead. It is particularly good with cinnamon apple mash and smoked bacon in autumn time. Ingredients 1 sheep’s stomach or ox secum, cleaned and thoroughly, scalded, turned inside out and soaked overnight in cold salted water – you can get these pretty easily from any good butcher in Scotland or online. Large natural salami skins cont’d on 46 are made with the same stuff.




Fair fa’ your honest, sonsie face, Great chieftain o the puddin’-race! Aboon them a’ ye tak your place, Painch, tripe, or thairm: Weel are ye wordy of a grace As lang’s my arm.

1. Wash the lungs, heart and liver (if using). Place in large pan of cold water with the meat trimmings and bring to the boil. Cook for about 2 hours. 2. When cooked, strain off the stock and set the stock aside. 3. Mince the lungs, heart and trimmings. 4. Put the minced mixture in a bowl and add the finely chopped onions, oatmeal and seasoning. Mix well and add enough stock to moisten the mixture. It should have a soft crumbly consistency. 5. Spoon the mixture into the sheep’s stomach, so it’s just over half full. Sew up the stomach with strong thread and prick a couple of times so it doesn’t explode while cooking. 6. Put the haggis in a pan of boiling water (enough to cover it) and cook for 3 hours without a lid. Keep adding more water to keep it covered. 7. To serve, cut open the haggis and spoon out the filling. Serve with buttery mashed neeps (turnip) and mashed tatties (mashed potatoes – nicest with splash of cream & wholegrain mustard).

The groaning trencher there ye fill, Your hurdies like a distant hill, Your pin wad help to mend a mill In time o need, While thro your pores the dews distil Like amber bead. His knife see rustic Labour dight, An cut you up wi ready slight, Trenching your gushing entrails bright, Like onie ditch; And then, O what a glorious sight, Warm-reekin, rich! Then, horn for horn, they stretch an strive: Deil tak the hindmost, on they drive, Till a’ their weel-swall’d kytes belyve Are bent like drums; The auld Guidman, maist like to rive, ‘Bethankit’ hums. Is there that owre his French ragout, Or olio that wad staw a sow, Or fricassee wad mak her spew Wi perfect sconner, Look s down wi sneering, scornfu view On sic a dinner? Poor devil! see him owre his trash, As feckless as a wither’d rash, His spindle shank a guid whip-lash, His nieve a nit: Thro bloody flood or field to dash, O how unfit! But mark the Rustic, haggis-fed, The trembling earth resounds his tread, Clap in his walie nieve a blade, He’ll make it whissle; An legs an arms, an heads will sned, Like taps o thrissle. Ye Pow’rs, wha mak mankind your care, And dish them out their bill o fare, Auld Scotland wants nae skinking ware That jaups in luggies: But, if ye wish her gratefu prayer, Gie her a Haggis!

* When cooking the offal the traditional method is to let the windpipe hang out of the pot to let out any impurities. We do it but not all do – especially if they’re making large quantities. It isn’t really necessary if it all gets a goodish scrub to start. ** In winter, when sheep have colds, washing/scrubbing the windpipe of phlegm is the job given to the chef who comes in most hung-over.





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