How to Cook Haggis and Some Recipes to Try
Haggis is a curious food in so many ways. It must surely be responsible for spawning more myths and creating more misunderstandings than any other food product on planet Earth. So what is it about haggis that makes it so mysterious and confusing? What actually is a haggis? How is haggis made? How is haggis cooked and how is it served?
This article will not only introduce you to the truths behind the haggis myths, it will suggest to you some ideas for serving haggis that you may never have contemplated before—even if you do happen to be Scottish!
How Much Do You Know About Haggis?
Before looking at the facts surrounding haggis and some tasty recipe suggestions, why not take the quick, fun quiz immediately below to see how much you already know about haggis?
Food Terms Used on this Article Interpreted/Explained
There are some foods referred to on this article where the popular name employed differs not only on opposite sides of the Atlantic but within the United Kingdom. The brief guide below may not be exhaustive and account for all potential regional variations but it will hopefully help to eliminate at least some possible confusion.
Wider United Kingdom
Mashed potatoes and Swede turnip with chives
Mashed potatoes and rutabaga with chives
Lorne sausage/sliced sausage/square sausage
Blood pudding/blood sausage
Haggis, Tatties and Neeps Pie With Sweetcorn and Mangetout
- 1 large baking potato, peeled and roughly chopped
- 1/4 medium Swede turnip/rutabaga, peeled and roughly chopped
- 1/4 pound haggis meat
- 1/2 pound pre-rolled puff pastry
- 1 teaspoon chopped chives
- 1 small egg, beaten
- 8 (or as required) baby sweetcorn ears
- 12 (or as required) mangetout/snow peas
- Salt and pepper
- Put the chopped potato and turnip in to a pot of lightly salted cold water. Bring to a simmer for ten minutes to parboil them only. Drain, return to the empty pot, cover and leave to cool for half an hour.
- Start your oven preheating to 200C/400F. Break the haggis in to bite sized pieces and carefully combine with the tatties and neeps. Lay in the base of a suitable pie dish and add two or three tablespoons of cold water, just to keep everything moist as it cooks. Scatter with the chopped chives and season with a little salt and pepper.
- Lay the pastry over the top of the dish and crimp. Trim the edges with a very sharp knife.
- Lay the pie on an oven tray and glaze with the beaten egg. Cut a "+" shaped steam vent in the centre. Cook for 35 to 40 minutes until the pastry is risen and golden.
- Take the pie from the oven and set aside to rest on a heatproof surface for ten minutes.
- Add the sweetcorn and mangetout to a pot of simmering, salted water. Blanche for 3 or 4 minutes and drain.
- Cut the pie pastry in half and lift to a holding plate. Using a slotted spoon, divide the filling between two serving plates. Lay a piece of pastry on top of each filling portion and finish plating with the sweetcorn and mangetout.
Should I Add Malt Whisky to Haggis?
There are few people in Scotland who will dispute how well a healthy dram of single malt whisky complements a serving of haggis. When it comes to whether whisky should actually be incorporated in the haggis, however - or in a sauce to accompany the haggis—you will encounter two very different schools of opinion.
Some people will serve haggis with a whisky based cream sauce, stir whisky through the haggis before it is served, or simply drizzle whisky over the haggis on the plate. On the other hand, single malt whisky connoisseurs may very well ridicule or scorn this procedure as a waste of good whisky.
The bottom line is that there can be no right or wrong answer but if you are attending a formal Burns' Supper or similar and are considering adding whisky to your haggis, it may be better to very subtly canvas opinion at the table before making a potentially offensive mistake.
The safe option? Serve your haggis with a glass of malt whisky and enjoy it as a separate accompaniment to your meal.
Cream of Haggis and Clapshot Soup Recipe
Prep time: 10 min
Cook time: 30 min
Ready in: 40 min
Yields: Four to six servings
- 2 large baking potatoes
- ½ medium Swede turnip/rutabaga
- 1 pint chicken stock
- Salt and pepper
- ½ lb haggis meat
- ½ pint double/heavy cream
- Chopped chives to garnish
- Oatcakes or bread to serve
- Peel and roughly chop the potatoes and turnip. Add them to a large soup pot with the chicken stock and season with salt and pepper. If necessary, add enough water just to ensure the pieces are all covered and no more.
- Put the pot on a high heat until the stock starts to simmer. Reduce the heat and simmer until the potato and turnip pieces are just softened.
- Lift the pot to a chopping board on a stable surface. Use a hand masher to mash the vegetable pieces. Do not blend the soup - you want a rustic mash, not a puree.
- Break the haggis in to small pieces and add it to the soup. Don't worry about even sizes as the haggis will break up naturally during cooking. Return the pot to the heat and bring back to a simmer.
- Pour in the cream, stir well and bring back to a gentle simmer for ten more minutes.
- Ladle the soup in to serving bowls and garnish with the chopped chives. Serve with the oatcakes or bread of choice.
Sliced Haggis Recipes
Sliced haggis such as that pictured above is not something you will ever encounter at a formal Burns' Supper - indeed, it is probably best not to even refer to this type of haggis at such an event if you want to retain any level of credibility! You will find it readily available, however, in Scottish supermarkets and some butchers' shops. It is most commonly eaten as part of a fry-up, either for breakfast or later in the day, and served with a number of other meal components.
The recipes below are for a few different suggested ways to serve sliced haggis.
All Day Scottish Breakfast
Haggis is something that you will occasionally find incorporated in a full Scottish breakfast but it couldn't really be considered a standard ingredient. This recipe is for an all day breakfast, designed to be eaten later in the day when appetites may be likely to be greater.
Prep time: 5 min
Cook time: 20 min
Ready in: 25 min
Yields: One large all day Scottish breakfast
- Pour some vegetable oil in to a large, non-stick frying pan and add the link (traditionally shaped) sausages only. Cook very gently on as low a heat as possible for ten minutes, turning frequently.
- Slightly increase the heat and add the Lorne sausage, haggis and black pudding to the pan to fry for three to four minutes each side.
- Add more oil to a second pan and add the tomato (cut sides down) and the mushrooms (open sides up). After a few minutes, add the bacon to fry until done.
- Remove the sausages, haggis and black pudding to a heated plate and cover them with foil to keep them warm. Turn up the heat under the pan they have just vacated and fry the tattie scones for a minute or so each side.
- Wipe a small non-stick pan with oil and bring it up to a fairly high heat. Break the egg in to a small bowl before carefully pouring it in to the centre of the pan. Reduce the heat after a few seconds, once the egg has just started to set and you can see it will hold its shape. Fry until the albumen can be seen to have set all the way around the yolk.
- Plate the main meat components along with the tattie scones, followed by the bacon, mushrooms and tomato. Lay the egg on last of all and drizzle with the HP sauce if required.
Where Can I Buy Fresh Haggis in the USA?
There are at present a number of international laws governing the shipment of meat based products from one country to another. Many of these laws do affect trade between the United Kingdom and the United States/Canada. This means that many Americans - particularly those of Scottish descent - who would love to try haggis may think they are restricted to buying it in cans...
Important: The author has no connection with or knowledge of the company detailed below other than what is included on the website. The link is included for your information, convenience and personal perusal only.
- Haggis - Made in America exclusively for Scottish Gourmet USA
We are pleased to present haggis, the classic Scottish dish, made for us exclusively here in America. We taught a French sausage maker to make haggis despite months of bureacratic forms and inspections from the USDA.
Haggis and Scottish Cheddar Cheese Toasted Sandwich
Prep time: 15 min
Cook time: 15 min
Ready in: 30 min
Yields: One toasted sandwich
- 1 slice of haggis
- 2oz Scottish cheddar cheese, coarsely grated
- 2 slices of bread
- ½ tomato, cut in to wedges to garnish
- Chopped parsley, to garnish
- Pan fry the haggis slice in a little oil for about three minutes each side until just cooked. Lift to a plate and cover. Leave for 10 minutes or so to cool.
- Put your sandwich toaster on to preheat. Lightly butter the two slices of bread on one side only.
- Lay the first slice of bread buttered side down on a toaster plate. Sit the haggis on top and scatter with the grated cheese.
- Place the second slice of bread on, buttered side up, and close the lid on your toaster.
- The time that the sandwich takes to cook will depend upon your sandwich toaster and how well you like it done. This sandwich was given five minutes.
- Lift the toasted sandwich to a chopping board with a spatula. Leave it for a few minutes to partly cool. This is really important with a cheese toasted sandwich as the molten cheese will be super hot.
- Trim the sandwich and cut in half. Plate with the tomato wedges and scatter with the freshly chopped parsley.
Haggis, Lorne Sausage and Tattie Scone Sandwich
A roll and sausage and tattie scone is a very popular breakfast or snack in Scotland. This is clearly a variation on that combination, incoporating a slice of haggis. Bread has also been used instead of a morning roll (bread roll) but a roll could be used if preferred.
Prep time: 2 min
Cook time: 7 or 8 min
Ready in: 10 min
Yields: One sandwich
- 1 Lorne/sliced sausage
- Vegetable oil for frying
- 1 slice of haggis
- 1 tattie scone
- 2 slices of bread
- Butter for bread (optional)
- Tomato ketchup (optional)
- Pour a little oil in to a non-stick frying pan and bring it up to a medium heat.
- Start the sausage and haggis slice frying. Depending upon thickness, they should take three or four minutes on each side.
- Add the tattie scone for the last couple of minutes to fry for a minute on each side.
- If desired, butter the two slices of bread.
- Lay the tattie scone on one slice of bread. Top with the sausage, followed by the haggis. Drizzle with ketchup if you so choose.
- Place the second slice of bread on top and cut in half to serve.