Haggis from Scotland

Where does the word come from

Nobody knows. The Oxford English Dictionary suggests that the is no evidence to show that it might come from the French word hachis "hash", but is unable to find any other derivation.

Haggis is considered Scottish today, but truth to tell, was very popular in English cookery until the 18th century

What is Haggis

A dish consisting of the heart, lungs, and liver of a sheep, calf, etc. (or sometimes of the tripe and chitterlings), minced with suet and oatmeal, seasoned with salt, pepper, onions, etc., and boiled like a large sausage.

How do actually make Haggis

Not all of us are privileged enough to make Haggis. If you live in the USA your government has decreed many of the ingredients unsuitable for human consumption, and cannot be purchased in the shops!

First the ingredients

  • 1 sheep's stomach bag plus the pluck (lights, liver and heart)
  • 1 lb Lean Lamb
  • 6 oz Oatmeal
  • 8 oz Shredded Suet
  • 2 large Onions, chopped
  • about 1/4 pint beef stock

Now to make it. 

  • Soak the stomach bag in salted water overnight.
  • Place the pluck (lights, liver and heart) in a saucepan with the windpipe hanging over the edge. Cover with water and boil for up to 2 hours hours. Impurities will pass out through the windpipe and so you need to put a basin under it to catch any drips. Drain well and cool. Remove the windpipe and any  gristle or skin..
  • Mince the liver and heart with the lamb. (Add some of the lights before mincing if you wish.)
  • Toast the oatmeal gently until crisp and pale golden brown.
  • Combine the suet and onion with minced mixture. Season well and add enough stock to moisten well. Pack it all into the stomach bag, filling it just over half-full as the stuffing will swell during cooking.
  • Tie the bag tightly with string. Prick the haggis all over with a  needle to stop it bursting as it swells
  • Put an upturned plate in the base of a saucepan of boiling water, stand the haggis on this and bring to the boil, and let it boil slowly for about 4 hours. 
  • Makes enough for 6 to 8 helpings of delicious haggis.

Robert Burns and the Haggis

These days poets do not write odes to hamburgers, but Burns had his address to the Haggis, and hence the 25th January, Burns Night is the high point of haggis in Scotland

Robert Burns said in his Address to the Haggis:

Fair fa' yer honest, sonsie face,
Great chieftain o' the pudden race!

There you have it, enjoy your Haggis

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