How does haggis taste
Contents: History of Haggis | Worth knowing | Recipe | Where to buy | literature
Probably Scotland's best known specialty is haggis. Even if the ingredients and preparation sounds a bit daunting to many: Don't miss out on enjoying good haggis - it tastes a lot better than it sounds ;-).
Haggis consists primarily of sheep offal and takes several hours to prepare. Heart, lungs, liver and kidney fat are processed with onions and oatmeal, stuffed into the sheep's stomach and cooked. Traditionally, the proportion of oatmeal is usually very high and everything is spicy. Haggis is served whole (it is only cut open at the table) together with turnips and potatoes (neeps and tatties) as a coarse pulp.
History of Haggis
Meat used to be much more valuable than it is today and there were no refrigerators or other storage options that are so common today. Therefore, after slaughtering, as much meat as possible was used. Cooking the giblets in the stomach, like the preparation of haggis, was simply a viable way of preserving the meat at the time. This then developed into the specialty that can now be ordered in almost every restaurant in Scotland.
Likewise, it seems to have been a good ready-made meal when the drovers of the Scottish Highlands made their long journey down the valley to the Edinburgh market.
In 1747 Robert Burns wrote the poem Address to Haggis, which is still recited by Burns at the annual commemoration of yours, before (in the third stanza) the haggis is cut open with a sword.
Interesting facts about haggis
Haggis jokes are often made outside of Scotland, especially in England. Conversely, the Scots are kidding the English and other non-Scots by telling them that Haggis comes from the Haggis animal (similar to the German Wolpertinger). The bagpipes supposedly produce the pairing sounds of the haggis and are therefore used for hunting.
- First of all, of course, the sheep's stomach must be thoroughly cleaned. To do this, turn it inside out, scrape off the stomach lining with a knife and remove the last remains of the stomach acid by washing it vigorously with cold water. Wash the other offal thoroughly as well.
- The innards of the heart, lungs and liver are cooked in a meat broth. Caution: in the case of the lungs, the trachea must hang out of the saucepan and be able to drain. After cooking, cut into small pieces, season with salt and pepper, add the finely chopped onions, the kidney fat, the oatmeal and the nutmeg and put everything well mixed into the stomach (turned upside down). Caution: Do not fill your stomach completely, just half fill it, because the oatmeal is still expanding!
- Then tie the stomach with twine and prick all around with the fork (otherwise the stomach will burst when cooking). Cooking takes about 3 hours in boiling water. Then the stomach is done.
Typical: Neeps and Tatties
600 g potatoes, 600 g turnips, 4 teaspoons milk, 4 teaspoons butter, nutmeg, salt and pepper.
Boil potatoes whole in salted water for about 20 minutes. Pour off the cooking water, put the potatoes aside and melt the butter in the still warm saucepan. Add milk. Add the potatoes and mash them. Season with nutmeg, salt and pepper. The whole thing should take on a creamy consistency.
Cook the turnips in salted water for 20 minutes as well. Melt the butter again, add the milk and heat it up and mash the cooked turnips in it.
Where to buy haggis
It may sound unusual, but canned haggis is tasty. Buying haggis is definitely an alternative, especially because you often cannot get fresh sheep innards and the preparation takes many hours to cook. You can also get haggis from Scottish producers in Europe.
Haggis in a can, 392g
For lovers: 6-pack haggis in a can
More Haggis products at amazon
Books on haggis
The Macsween Haggis Bible
The Bible on Haggis. Diverse recipes and a lot of information about the history and the various myths and jokes about haggis. The book is richly illustrated. A must for every Scotland fan.
112 pages, in English.
The author is a food blogger and has a haggis butcher shop in Edinburgh.
Haggis Recipes: Traditional Top 10 haggis Dishes
Only a small booklet, but also very inexpensive (only about € 1, -). For those who just want 10 haggis recipes.
23 pages, in English.
Haggis: the Recipe Book: 30 Ways with Haggis
Recipe book with 30 different ways to prepare haggis. Also a cheap book (approx. € 6, -).
32 pages, in English.
FAQ Haggis (Scotland)
Haggis are sheep or lamb offal (heart, lungs, liver, ...), which are cut into very small pieces (similar to coarse minced meat), filled with oatmeal, onions and spices in a sheep's stomach and cooked.
“Neeps and Tatties” are typically served with haggis. These are potatoes and turnips that have been boiled and mashed with milk.
No. The "animal" Haggis in England is a fantasy animal similar to the German Wolpertinger. Scots, however, like to kid the English and other nationalities by telling them that the haggis dish is made with meat from haggis animals.
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