What’s the best (some say, only) good thing about January? Haggis.
Burn’s Night is next Monday and we’ve been talking about haggis non stop for the last couple of weeks in anticipation. Miranda’s new book has a great haggis recipe, and our factory are busy beavering away to get them in store for you this week.
We know the common response to haggis can often be “ew, guts” but hear us out. Haggis is delicious. Made with sheep’s pluck (that’s heart, liver and lungs) combined with oats and spices – haggis really is just a hearty, delicious, spiced mince. Heart and lungs are just muscles, after all. Traditionally stuffed in a sheep’s stomach and baked – these days they are mostly synthetic, and we use greaseproof paper which works just as well.
The Muddy Boots Haggis
This year we’re making a bit of a “beginner’s haggis” for those looking for a locally made haggis. We’ve swapped out the heart & lungs part for lamb mince, but kept in the liver to give it that richness one expects from their haggii. Lamb mince has more fat in it than heart and lungs (which are virtually fat free) so the haggis comes out a bit juicier after baking too.
Each haggis comes packaged like our meatloaf – with greaseproof paper to wrap your haggis in before baking. It will come out of the oven with a nice crispy outside which gives it a delightful crunch.
We’ll have them in store for collection from Thursday – you can pre-order online to collect when you are ready.
Just add your neeps, tatties, a wee dram of whisky and your favourite Burn’s poem (or you can borrow mine)
Make your Own Haggis
This is such a delicious, good-value and nutritious meal. I love the full tradition with the offal and stomach casing, but they’re not always easy to source, so this has an alternative version to achieve an equally delicious flavour and texture.
75 g/2 ½ oz. lamb’s liver
100 g/3 ½ oz. each of lamb’s heart and lamb’s lights/lungs or 200 g/7 oz. lamb
mince/ ground lamb (see the book for hand-mincing/hand-cutting)
100 g/3 ½ oz. beef suet or vegetable shortening
a big pinch of allspice
a pinch of cayenne pepper
1 small red onion, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
a big pinch of freshly chopped parsley, plus extra to garnish
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
30 g/2 tablespoons tomato purée/paste
120 g/3⁄4 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
salt, to season
1 sheep’s stomach (alternatively, use baking parchment)
‘NEEPS AND TATTIES’
2 baking potatoes
a large knob/pat of butter
black pepper, to taste
Pre-heat the oven to 160°C (325°F) Gas 3.
Finely chop the liver, heart and lights/lungs, if using, or chop the liver and mix it into the lamb mince/ground lamb. Transfer to a mixing bowl and add the chopped suet/vegetable shortening, allspice, salt, cayenne pepper, onion, garlic, parsley, white wine vinegar, tomato purée/paste and oats.
Then either stuff into the stomach and seal the end with butcher’s string/twine or squeeze into a tight ball. Place into the centre of a square of baking parchment and twist or tie the ends to lock it in.
Wrap in a layer of foil and place into 1 cm/ inch of water in the bottom of an ovenproof pan. Set a lid on top and cook in the preheated oven for 2 hours. Remove the haggis from the casing, season with salt and slice it to serve.
‘Neeps and Tatties’
While your haggis is cooking, you can make your ‘neeps and tatties’, the accompaniments for this famous Scottish meal. Peel and chop the swede/rutabaga and potatoes into small dice. Boil separately (or together, if you prefer), drain and mash with the butter and freshly ground black pepper.
Haggis Hurling is a real sport, it’s really good deep fried with chips (if you ever find yourself in Glasgow at around 2am, I can recommend a good spot) and it also might not originally be Scottish. Woops.
I ate my first haggis whilst sitting next to the lead singer of my favourite Scottish band listening to 40 bagpipers pipe my face off in a town hall in Glasgow in 2005. I’ve never looked back.