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Haggis – not just for Burns Night

Haggis is a tasty treat that we hope many of you will be enjoying on or around Burns Night on 25 January. But it’s a really versatile dish that you can enjoy any time of year.

Haggis, neeps and tatties ( image used Creative Commons license)So what is it? It’s a mixture of lamb, oats, onions and spices. When it’s wrapped in a casing, it’s a bit like a sausage. Every haggis maker will have their own recipe and some are fiercely guarded secrets.

Haggis goes back thousands of years, and variations under different names can be found in cultures all over the globe. It goes back to when hunters came back from a kill and used the parts of the animal that needed to eaten first, mixing fresh offal with cereal and herbs and cooking it in what they had to hand (the animal’s stomach).

It’s associated with Scotland through writer Robert Burns who wrote the verse ‘Address to a Haggis’. After he died, his friends held a Burns Supper in his honour and the tradition continues.

It is very easy to cook. A 500g haggis will take an hour.

  • Carefully put your haggis into a large pan of boiling water
  • Turn down the heat to a simmer, be careful not to burst him
  • Simmer for an hour whilst you prepare the neeps and tatties (swede and mashed potatoes)

If you don’t fancy a traditional Burns Night supper you could try a few of these ideas for the haggis which always go down well with my hungry hordes:

  • Cooked and cold sliced and fried with chutney and crusty bread
  • Cold slices fried as a breakfast with bacon and eggs
  • Left over haggis stirred into savoury rice
  • Haggis wrapped in puff pastry (eat it like a pasty)
  • Fried haggis slices with bubble and squeak
  • Smartened up with a red pepper and balsamic sauce with vegetable spaghetti

There are lots of ideas to choose from, but haggis makes a wonderful warming meal, however you chose to eat it.

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