Haggis is one of those national dishes that is both beloved and reviled by natives, and sometimes horrifies people who hear it described for the first time. It even horrifies some native Scots -- it goes best with vats of Scotch (preferably single-malt).
Haggis is not unlike a Scottish version of scrapple or boudin, with oats instead of cornmeal or rice, or perhaps more like a Cajun dish called paunce, which is stuffed pork stomach.
You might have a hard time finding a haggis here in the States (it's difficult to get them imported too; I understand that the USDA has declared them "unfit for human consumption."). There are butchers in NJ who make them, and you can order tinned haggis on-line. If you're motivated, now you can make haggis yourself!
You will need:
- 1 sheep's lung (illegal in the U.S.; may be omitted if not available)
- 1 sheep's stomach
- 1 sheep heart
- 1 sheep liver
- 1/2 lb fresh suet (kidney leaf fat is preferred)
- 3/4 cup oatmeal (the ground type, NOT the Quaker Oats type!)
- 3 onions, finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne
- 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
- 3/4 cup beef or mutton stock
Wash lungs and stomach well, rub with salt and rinse. Remove membranes and excess fat. Soak in cold salted water for several hours (usually overnight). Turn stomach inside out for stuffing.
Cover heart and liver with cold water.
Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer for 30 minutes.
Chop heart and coarsely grate liver.
Toast oatmeal in a skillet on top of the stove, stirring frequently, until golden.
Combine all ingredients and mix well.
Loosely pack mixture into stomach, about two-thirds full.
** Remember, oatmeal expands in cooking. Do you want to clean exploded haggis off of everything in your kitchen?
Press any air out of stomach and truss securely.
Put into boiling water to cover.
Simmer for 3 hours, uncovered, adding more water as needed to maintain water level.
Prick stomach several times with a sharp needle when it begins to swell; this keeps the bag from bursting.
Place on a hot platter, removing trussing strings.
Serve with a spoon.
It's traditional that haggis be served with "neeps, tatties and nips" -- mashed turnips, mashed potatoes, nips of whiskey.