Haggis in Scotland was once considered a poor-man’s dish made from leftovers, but is now a regular feature on tables across the country. For advice on how to cook haggis look no further.
First find a good, spicy haggis, either from your local butcher, deli, supermarket or nearest Scottish store if you live overseas. Contrary to what we tell overseas visitors, you cannot hunt one down at the top of Scottish mountain peaks, hills, glens, moors or shooting estates. There are many award-winning haggis makers with various ingredients from traditional beef and lamb to vegetarian, pork, smoked venison or even kosher.
Haggis travels well and therefore can be ordered over the internet to be delivered by post, although there are import restrictions in countries such as America and Canada. It will keep up to one month in the fridge and from six months to a year in the freezer. If the haggis is to be a main course, the average portion should be around 6-8 oz (150-200 g) per person and 4 oz (100 g) if served as a starter.
Turnips and potatoes are also essential accompaniments, available from farmers’ markets, delis, market gardens, vegetable stores, supermarkets or your own back garden.
Step-by-Step Cooking Instructions:
The haggis is already cooked and just needs some careful re-heating until it is piping hot. It may seem obvious, but it is essential to defrost before cooking if the haggis hasn’t been bought fresh.
1. Bring a pan of water to the boil.
2. Place the haggis in the pan and turn the heat down immediately. The water should only simmer, not boil as this may burst the case…resulting in a culinary disaster and a ‘murdert haggis’. Some haggis come in a ‘cook-in bag’ to avoid this problem – otherwise wrapping it in foil would help to protect the contents. The length of time it should be gently poached depends on the size of your haggis. As a guide, a 1kg haggis takes around 75 mins.
1. Remove outer plastic bag and wrap in aluminium foil.
2. Place in a casserole dish with a little water and cook in a pre-heated oven at 180 degrees C (Gas Mark 6) for around an hour, depending on the size of your haggis. To be on the safe side, test with a cooking thermometer to a minimum of 63 degrees Centigrade.
1. Remove outer bag and skin.
2. Cut into evenly-sized slices and heat on medium for around eight minutes – or as instructed on the haggis.
3. Halfway through cooking, mash with a fork to ensure an even temperature throughout.
1. Peel and quarter the turnip and boil for 25 mins or until soft.
2. Drain and mash with a little butter. Add a teaspoon of caster sugar and season to taste with salt and pepper.
1. Peel and quarter the potatoes and boil for 20 mins or until soft.
2. Drain and mash with a little butter and milk to get a smooth, creamy consistency. Season to taste with salt and pepper.