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Dec 10, 2010 09:54 AM

making haggis at home. . .

Lets cut to the chase: I've had haggis before and I liked it. Its sausage and whats not to like about sausage whether its cooked in a pig intestine or a sheeps stomach or a clean sock? Who cares! Its all good.

Moving right along, this year we ended up buying a whole lamb ---organic grassfed, etc--- . Because its a whole lamb starting with the baaaaa, we have offal as well as the shanks, legs etc. In fact, my esteemed husband is over at the slaughter's learning how to butcher our lamb even as I type!

When considering how to have our lamb chopped up, it crossed my mind, with such access to a very fresh sheep stomach, if not homemade haggis now, then when?

So I'm making haggis.

Right now I have the Alton Brown recipe off the Food Network site

Note that this recipe will enable me to use up another 1/2 pound of the suet leftover from the Christmas pudding and the mince. Still I'm game to use a different recipe if anyone has a thought or suggestion.

Also a question: Can you freeze haggis? And for how long?

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  1. Haggis certainly freezes, although I only do so if I see them cheap at the supermarket. Even then I've never kept them long-term but presume they'll be OK for as long as any sausage type product.

    1. okay then, the haggis is in the pot simmering away.

      Any thoughts on a sauce to go with?

      Not holding out too much hope given the lack of response to the initial thread but what the heck.....

      5 Replies
      1. re: jenn

        The only time I serve haggis is on Robbie Burns Night, his birthday, January 25, with the usual menu of cock-a-leekie soup, I added a roast beef the last time, it's not traditional, neeps and tatties, (potatoes and mashed rutagbaga) some seasonal green veg, usually Brussels sprouts, a cheese tray and whisky trifle for dessert, with lots of toasting and drinking of more Scotch whisky, great fun. The haggis gets doused with whisky and lit, then paraded into the dining room while the "Address on a Haggis" poem is recited, or that's what we did, addressed the haggis. There's no real sauce served on it or for it, it's just very good and savory. They do freeze very well.

        I made haggis once, now I buy it in the can.

        1. re: jenn

          We dont usually have a sauce with haggis (and have never been served one in a restaurant either). But, assuming you're going down the well trodden route of mashed potato and mashed swede as accompaniments, I think this one would work OK and seems to have a feel for traditional Scottish ingredients:

          1. re: jenn

            The ubiquitous Scottish haggis producer MacSween has some serving/recipe ideas on their website - many are just kinda silly (haggis tacos/pizza) but these canapes looked nice:

            1. re: jenn

              The 'sauce' is the whisky, single malt Scotch of course, that you drink with your haggis, neeps and tatties.

              And let us know how the haggis turns out, theres not many in Scotland that make their own 'chieftain o' the puddin- race'.

              1. re: jenn

                Hey Jenn, hope your haggis came out ok! I've served haggis before with either a (store bought I'm afraid!) gravy or a whiskey/cream sauce. Gravy is my fav, especially to go with the neeps and tatties.

              2. Haggis Report:
                The short version: Hours of chopping but in the end, the family inhaled the haggis and gave it two thumbs up.
                The longer version:
                1} Now I know why people buy tripe cleaned. It took hours of work over two days to clean the silly stomach but in the end, it looked a damn sight more appetizing.
                2} Not one to make any recipe without a tweak or two, when I boiled my lungs et al, I tossed in some garlic, a few alspice and some black pepper corns. I also added some meaty bits left over from the lamb.
                3. I couldn't find [or remember where I put] the meat grinder so I chopped lungs and liver and kidneys and heart for HOURS until I finally cried "ENOUGH!"
                4] Having been unable to find the meat grinder, I dumped all the meat in the blender and pulsed away. I added way more ground black pepper than the recipe called for. Thank you middle pup for smashing all the peppercorns against your will.
                5] Stitching a sheeps stomach is harder than you might thing.
                6] Boiling Haggis makes the house smell a lot like boiled tennis shoes. . . dirty tennis shoes I might add.
                7] My husband is SUCH a good sport. He didn't even blink when I said he had to come out to the kitchen to recite the Burns poem about the haggis to the haggis while my MIL and I stood by saluting said haggis with teeny tiny glasses of scotch. No we did not toss our scotch on the haggis--we drank our scotch.
                8] Dijon cream scotch sauce really is damned fine on haggis.
                9] mashed swedes and potatoes are GOOD.
                10] Lamb fry makes a fine appetiser for haggis. When your pups ask you what they are eatting, just say "lamb." If they ask what particular part of the lamb they are eatting, tell them its the lamby part of the lamb.
                11] Baked haggis is not half bad.

                There you have it, the haggis report. I confess, I am far more likely to do cassoulet again before I make another haggis. It was a lot of work and not much in the way of leftovers. Still, I'm glad I tried it once.

                7 Replies
                1. re: jenn

                  You rule! Thanks for the report.

                  1. re: jenn

                    Way to make a Haggis, Jenn! You're a braver woman than me, but I bet the results were worth it. :)

                    1. re: jenn

                      Any pictures you could share? I'd love to see the results of your work!

                      1. re: monopod

                        We should have taken pictures---I'd love one of my mother-in-law pinching her nose to valiantly drink the scotch---but we are very lame and forgot until we gashed the haggis with a knife. We might have had better luck with photos if my husband hadn't been off butchering the lamb and making sausage. . . .

                        One never knows, like with childbirth, by next year the angst of making the haggis will likely have evaporated from my brain and when we buy our next sheep, I'll be happily deciding to do it all over again.

                        One more thing: When I got tired of chopping liver, well actually just plain thinking about chopping liver, I set aside part of the lamb liver to fry up and feed to the pups. I found a recipe especially designed for lamb liver that involved soaking it in milk and then frying with onions, thyme and what have. Recipe was not nearly as successful as the haggis--pups found lamb liver "tasteless" [thats a quote] and boring. FYI, pups adore pate all kinds. I am thinking I may not have sufficiently salted it or maybe the milk soak blandifies it?

                        1. re: jenn

                          I've been enjoying this thread. I'm glad it worked out for you, and the parts that were a bit tough you handled like a trooper with a good sense of humor. I think everyone should make haggis, or at least taste it, once in a lifetme. Your comment about the smell of simmering haggis ("dirty tennis shoes") is a common remark I've heard from Scottish people as well. Although far from traditional, the Dijon Scotch cream sauce sounds like a very good choice for haggis. Swedes and potatoes mashed together are very good. Sounds like you had a basic fun evening.

                          Lamb liver and kidneys are inherently bland, more than than calves' stuff and certainly more so than beef liver, or even chicken liver. Sheep liver I've never had straight, it goes in the haggis mostly. So the liver or kidneys need aggressive seasoning and some nice well flavored sauce.

                          1. re: jenn

                            I made haggis for the first time last year and couldn't find a sheeps stomach so used an oven roasting bag. It worked well and the haggis was great. I had already started asking aroung some of the butchers for a sheep's stomach for this year but maybe I'll pass given all the prep work required

                            1. re: gordonj

                              hmmm, given the long cooking, I would be a bit concerned about the plastic in the oven bag and what might leach into the haggis. I might be more inclined to use a muslin wrapper as one can do with a Christmas pudding. . . . Or perhaps some cleaned tripe or what have you? I found that the stomach cleaned much easier after I soaked it over night in vinegar water.