Well it’s that time of year again when all the Scots around the world get slightly stronger accents, forget the weather and long for home.
My heart’s in the Highlands, my heart is not here,
My heart’s in the Highlands, a-chasing the deer;
A-chasing the wild deer, and following the roe,
My heart’s in the Highlands, wherever I go.
Yes it’s Burns night, so to all my compatriots across the globe, Slaintemhath.
Anyway….. The reason for this post is not just a rose coloured reminisce, but to give you all an easy ( and non stomach churning ) haggis recipe should you want to try this wonderful Scottish delicacy.
Traditionally a haggis is made with what is called a sheep’s ‘pluck’. Those of you with tender dispositions should look away now. The ‘pluck’ comprises of the heart, liver, kidney and lungs of the sheep. To make a haggis the pluck is minced up with onions, oatmeal and seasoning then stitched back into sheep’s washed out stomach lining, sewn up and steamed for around 5 hours.
Having once been party a traditional haggis cooking session I can assure you that this is not for the feint of heart or indeed stomach and I will NEVER be doing it again. ( I can still remember the smell vividly after 7 years.)
This recipe is a lot more palatable to the modern-day cook and won’t take half a day to cook either. In my opinion the results are just as delicious and will make enough haggis for around 6 people.
HillyWillys Homemade Haggis
*for a Vegetarian option in place of liver use
*150g of shredded mushrooms
*100g of mashed kidney beans
*250g vegetable suet
No Burns supper is complete without the accompanying bashed tatties and neeps so you will also need
2 large yellow turnips
A little Butter and cream to mash.
First gently fry off the liver in a pan with a little oil till brown and firm. Remove from the heat and allow to cool then grate into a large bowl.
Place the oats into a large dry pan and heat,stirring frequently, until toasted, then add to the liver.
Finely chop the onion and cook with 50 g of suet for about 5 minutes until the onion is soft and begins to turn translucent then add the rest of the suet to the pan and melt. When fully melted pour into the bowl and mix well.
Add your cayenne pepper, salt and black pepper and 500 ml of vegetable stock and stir the mixture.
Now take a large piece of foil and brush generously with oil. Place about half of your mixture in the centre of the foil and shape into a large sausage then bring the sides of the foil to the middle and gently twist the ends (it looks rather like an enormous Christmas cracker at this point) and fold the ends to the middle.
Now wrap again in foil and place in a large oven proof dish.
Repeat this step for the rest of your mixture.
Pour boiling water into the dish to about half way and place the dish in a hot oven (225 degrees) and cook for an hour and a half. Don’t forget to check the water levels in your dish throughout the cooking time and top up as needed.
After about an hour set your potatoes and turnips ( in seperate pans) to boil.
Once they are boiled mash the potatoes with a little cream and butter, and mash the turnip with just a little butter.
Remove the haggis from the oven and take from the dish. Carefully remove the foil and serve up with the bashed tatties and neeps and a little onion gravy.
Of course if you’re doing this properly you will address the haggis before eating with the words of Rabbie Burns himself.
Fair fa’ your honest, sonsie face,
Great chieftain o’ the pudding-race!
This is the much abbreviated version, (the full text can be found here), because I just can’t wait to start eating it
A Bientot and ( for today only ) Scots Wah hae!