Thursday, January 24, 2013

Haggis: A Traditional Scottish Dish

Haggis, the national dish of Scotland, is a savoury pudding containing sheep's pluck (heart, liver and lungs); minced with onion, oatmeal, suet, spices, and salt, mixed with stock, and traditionally encased in the animal's stomach and boiled for approximately three hours, and left to get cold. When required for use it is simmered again for about an hour. Most modern commercial haggis is prepared in a sausage casing rather than an actual stomach.

Haggis is a traditional Scottish dish, considered the national dish of Scotland as a result of Robert Burns' poem Address to a Haggis of 1787. Haggis is traditionally served with "neeps and tatties" (Scots: turnip and potato), boiled and mashed separately, and a dram (a glass of Scotch whisky), especially as the main course of a Burns supper.

While Haggis is a traditional Scottish dish, it has no historic confirmation of having originated in Scotland. There is a lack of historical evidence that could conclusively attribute its origins to any one place. The first known written recipe for a dish of the name (as 'hagese'), made with offal and herbs, is in the verse cookbook Liber Cure Cocorum dating from around 1430 in Lancashire, North West England

In the absence of hard facts as to haggis' origins, popular folklore has provided some theories. One is that the dish originates from the days of the old Scottish cattle drovers. When the men left the highlands to drive their cattle to market in Edinburgh, the women would prepare rations for them to eat during the long journey down through the glens. They used the ingredients that were most readily available in their homes and conveniently packaged them in a sheep's stomach allowing for easy transportation during the journey. Other speculations have been based on Scottish slaughtering practices. When a Chieftain or Laird required an animal to be slaughtered for meat (whether sheep or cattle) the workmen were allowed to keep the offal as their share.

January 25. Robert Burns (1759–1796) Burns supper, Robert Burns Day, Burns Night (Scotland and Scottish community). Burns suppers may be formal or informal. Both typically include haggis (a traditional Scottish dish celebrated by Burns in Address to a Haggis), Scotch whiskey and the recitation of Burns' poetry. Formal dinners are hosted by organizations such as Burns clubs, the Freemasons or St Andrews Societies.

[Image Credit: This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license. Photographer: zoonabar]


Major Ingredients:

1 pound beef (450g) heart, cut into 2-inch-wide strips.
1 pound beef (450g) liver.
1/2 pound (225g) lamb stew meat, cut in 1-inch cubes.
1 1/2 cups peeled and finely chopped yellow onion.
4 tablespoons Scots whisky.
1 tablespoon of Egg nog
2 cups oatmeal, toasted on a cookie sheet in a 375F (200°C) oven for 10 minutes).


2 teaspoons salt.
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper.
1 teaspoon dried thyme, whole.
1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary.
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg.
3 beef CAPS (Talk to a sausage shop about these).
1 cup distilled white vinegar.
1/2 tablespoon salt for soaking.


Place the beef heart in a 4-quart (about 3-3.5 litres) covered pot and just cover with cold water. Simmer, covered, for 1 hour and 10 minutes.
Add the beef liver and lamb stew meat, and cover and simmer for 20 minutes. Remove the contents of the pot and cool. Reserve 1 cup of the liquid. Grind everything coarsely.

In a large bowl mix all of the ingredients, except for the beef caps, vinegar, and salt for soaking. Mix well and set aside. Rinse the beef caps in cold water. Turn them inside out and soak them in 2 quarts of cold water with the salt and vinegar for 1/2 hour. Drain them and rinse very well, inside and out.

Divide the meat mixture into three parts. Fill the beef caps with the meat mixture and tie the ends off with string. Two will have to be tied on just one end, but the third piece will be tied on both ends. Prick the Haggis all over with corn holders or a sharp fork. Place in a steamer and steam for 1 hour and 20 minutes.
Serve the Haggis, sliced, with beef or lamb gravy.

Text Credits: Wikipedia || Cookbook

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