Monday, October 27, 2008

Haggis

Traditional recipes call for the sheep's pluck and lights (stomach, liver, heart and lungs). If I ever found myself in a place where I could get all these things and people were clamoring for a haggis I'd love to try to make it that way.

Haggis is like meatloaf or shepherd's pie or corned beef hash. Ground up meat with lots of savory spices. What separates haggis though is that it's prepared with oatmeal and it's steamed or boiled. That and it's also made with offal (see paragraph one). Any recipe that uses what might otherwise go to waste is a pretty good thing in my book.

I've made it. Sort of. If you stick to the spirit of the recipe (offal, oatmeal and boiled/steamed) and don't get hung up on using sheep's pluck and lights. Over the course of six months or so I had cooked three ducks, each time, freezing the heart, liver and neck (don't remember if there were gizzards too...) I thawed (almost wrote unthawed) these and then boiled, chopped fine and combined them in a bowl with roasted oatmeal, spices (primarily Allspice) and a bit of whisky. Knowing that a sheep's pluck would be hard to come by and be way too big for the minuscule amount of meat I was working with I decided I'd go with casings. Stuffing them was messy - I'm using a pastry bag next time... I ended up with these sausage looking thingies which I proclaimed to be duck haggis. Next time I'll probably go with a beef bung for the casing and serve it more like a hash than a sausage. Haggis isn't the prettiest dish going but I'm not too worried about presentation since it'll probably end up being a haggis for one (though I'm hoping for two).

Slainte!

7 comments:

Greg said...

I like to think that I am brave, speaking in a culinary sense, but I haven't yet tried haggis. Your version sounds interesting. Good luck on making it a dish for two!

E. said...

Sounds like a halloween tale for sheep. Spooky...

Greg said...

Do you have a cousin or other relative who's a folk singer and lives out this way? There's someone with your last name providing great musical interludes to our local NPR.

Hope you're enjoying the holiday season...

Homer said...

No singing cousin I know of but there is a Bill Frisell who I've heard on NPR before. Seen him play a few times - awesome! I recommend "Good Dog, Happy Man" or "Nashville" if you're more into a country sound.

Melissa said...

um Haggis for *gulp* two?

Byron said...

H: Preshiate. Not sure if I ever really understood haggis. I am more enlightened by your informative entry on this strange delicacy.

The pluck of the Scottish sounds like it would be - if not light filling - offal-ly good for you. Peace on Earth and Haggis for all.

Homer said...

I'll be making haggis for the next Burns night.