Haggis: Burns Night 2002, 2003

Irene Gray and Chris Shenton


Loosely based on the Scottish Women's Rural Institute Cookery Book, 9th Edition (1970s?). The original asked for 2 Lamb's Lungs but lungs are not available in the US due to archaic tuberculosis concerns. It asked for 1 heart, 1 liver, and 1/3 of the cooked lung, and half the amount of oatmeal we used; it also has a higher proportion of onion and less seasoning. We didn't have a traditional sheep's stomach to put the haggis mixture in, so we stuffed them into sausage casings to make individual haggii; the taste was very close to traditional haggii from Scotland. Makes about 40 individual 7-cm long by 3-cm diameter links.


Qty Measure Ingredient
1 Lamb's Liver
3 Lamb's Hearts
2 Liter Water
200 g Rendered Beef Fat (originally Suet), coarsely chopped [7 oz] (for 2003 we used smokey fat rendered from smoked beef brisket)
600 g Oats, US: steel cut, UK: pin head, not breakfast oatmeal [22 oz]
1 large Onion, finely chopped
3 15 ml Black Pepper, freshly ground [3 Tbs]
3 15 ml Kosher Salt [3 Tbs]
1 5 ml Nutmeg, ground [1 tsp]
2 5 ml Allspice berries, ground [2 tsp]
1 5 ml Cayenne Pepper [1 tsp]
4 meters Sausage Casings, hog (3 cm diameter when filled with water)


Simmer the Liver and Hearts in covered pot for 2 hours with about 2 Liter water, covering the meat by about 5 cm. (Liver was very dry, but the heart wasn't -- perhaps could have cooked for less time).

Remove meats, cool slightly, retaining stock liquid; cut off any gristle from Hearts.

Grind Hearts and Liver through meat grinder on 1/4" (0.5 cm) followed by 1/8" (0.25 cm) die; we sent some of the Fat through the grinder with the meats, and followed with 1/4 onion to push out any remaining meats.

Reduce the retained stock to 1 liter to intensify the flavor, skimming any scum that develops.

Meanwhile, lightly toast oats on a cookie sheet (Scots: Swiss Roll tin); don't burn!

Combine oats, meats, stock, spices in a large bowl; it will be a soupy consistency until oats absorb liquid. Refrigerate overnight, oatmeal will absorb some of the liquid and be easier to stuff.

Stuff sausage casings loosely -- the oatmeal will expand and needs room. You can instead wrap large balls (e.g., 1/3 or 1/2 recipe) in cling film (plastic wrap, e.g., Saran) for later steaming in the film. You can refrigerate or freeze at this point.

Steam for 1 1/2 hours. Prick casings if they seem likely to burst.

Serve with "tatties and neeps": potatoes, turnips, separately boiled until soft and each chapped (mashed) with butter and black pepper. Don't forget the single-malt whisky and book of Burns poetry and a silly accent. :-)

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