Across the pond and north a bit, January 25th is a big deal.
It is Burn’s Night.
It is a night, in deference to a favored Scottish poet, Robert Burns.
Revelry is compulsory.
And so is haggis.
Words are read, songs are sung and haggis is served.
On this side of the world, prepared haggis is difficult to find.
So, this year I set out to make my own version.
Although true to the spirit, its authenticity can be called to question.
It is not for the weak of stomach nor those with a flair for the dramatic.
My version is haggis-lite; using more readily available ingredients and served in a less traditional fashion.
To learn more about Burn’s Night Supper click here
to prepare sheep heart
1 sheep heart (about 1 lb)
3 pearl onions
6 whole cloves
1 large or 2 small bay leaves
a 1/2″ piece of lemon peel–pith removed
Thouroughly clean the sheep heart under cool running water. Soak in milk (to cover) for about 4 hours or overnight. Remove from milk and rinse once again. Place in stockpot. Stud the pearl onions with whole cloves and place along with peppercorns, bay leaf and lemon peel in the stock pot. Add enough cool water to cover. Simmer over low heat for 3-4 hours or until the heart is very tender. Remove and let cool, then finely chop the heart. Reserve broth
for the haggis
1/2 cup suet
1 cup onion–finely chopped
1 cup carrot–finely chopped
1/3 cup shallot–finely minced
1 clove garlic–finely minced
1/4 cup scotch
1 cup (approx) broth from heart
1 tsp thyme
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp white pepper
pinch freshly grated nutmeg
1 cup oats–toasted and ground in mortar and pestle or blender
1 cup suet
Heat 1/2 cup suet over medium heat in large skillet. Add onion, carrot, shallot and garlic. Cook slowly until the vegetables are very soft. Stir in the chopped heart and let cook about 3 minutes. add thyme, salt, pepper and nutmeg. pour in the scotch and allow to reduce down (be careful it may flame up) Add 1 cup of broth and stir until all the bits are scraped up from the bottom. Remove from heat and allow to cool for 10-15 minutes. Add oats and suet and form into 3 cylinders about 2″ in diameter. Wrap each cylinder in plastic wrap securely and refrigerate overnight (or freeze for later use).
it is traditional to stuff into a sheep’s stomach and boil directly, however unable to obtain a sheep’s stomach, i opted for the more pedestrian approach. you can certainly “mock” the stomach by making a very large ball with the mixture. you may also stuff into sausage casing if you have on hand
to prepare haggis to serve
keep the haggis wrapped in the plastic wrap, while wrapping in a layer of foil. you may also put in a ziploc bag. place in a pot of boiling water and allow to cook for 30-45 minutes (if using cylindrical method….one large portion will take about 3 hours).
remove from water, unwrap and serve while hot. you may also refrigerate until cool, then slice and fry in a bit of oil for a nice treat.