Fair enough, but given that Wednesday isn't always the best night to have people over, especially given that haggis takes a good 5+ hours to make, often Burns Suppers aren't always held on Burns Day. I threw mine last Saturday.
That said, you're right: it was my assumption that the Night would be thrown this weekend, but it may just as well be on Wednesday or even next weekend.
Magnificently! The tweaks I made from last year (poaching instead of boiling, extra spicing, using court-bouillion with poaches, etc.) made the haggis much milder and more savoury than it was previously. One of the guests who was initially horrified that there were lungs in what she was eating was happily surprised by the dish, saying that it tasted like "oaty chopped liver".
Beautiful stuff, haggis. And easy, too!
This Italo-American is making meatloaf with various and sundry ground meats, including oatmeal of course, and calling it Haggis. I did find a Nigel Slater recipe for neeps and tatties so it's isn't a total loss. Oh, and smoked salmon pate and home made oatcakes also from Nigel for starters
Do you do a traditional Itinerary with bagpipes, readings and song?
Made my first one last year, and I'm going on my second on Saturday for my own Burns Supper.
Haggis is really a rule-of-thumb kind of recipe, since most recipes call for "guts" and not "a half-kilo of guts". You've really got to play it by ear. That said, here's my basic recipe from last year
Lamb heart, liver, kidneys and lungs (discard windpipe)
2 onions, minced
1 lb oatmeal (I used steel-cut)
1+ cup stock
2ish pounds fat
spices and salt (I used allspice, black pepper, nutmeg, cinnamon, sumac and clove but there's lots of combos).
Wash & cut assorted guts into reasonably-sized pieces. Poach for 1-2 hours;
Toast oatmeal, lightly;
Grind/finely chop guts;
Fold in minced onion, oats and ground fat. Season. Moisten with stock (consistency-ish of chopped liver);
Stuff into "receptacle" (I couldn't find a traditional stomach, but the butcher I went to had these "wind sock"-like canvas thing, which was perfect; ask around), making sure to leave ample room at the top for expansion;
Firmly wrap in plastic, poking lots of holes through so that the air can escape;
Poach for 2-3 hours;
Address, then serve with Scotch.
Last year, I went easy on the spices, which in retrospect, was a mistake. First off, the recipe produces a good 8+ pounds of haggis, so everything else being equal, the meat can take it. Second, the organ meat, which, in fairness will be mellowed by the oats and onion, can stand up to the spicing.
This year, I'm going to be smarter about it and throw in some mirepoix/court bouillon when I poach, maybe fry up the onions, whatever, but that's the basic recipe as I can remember it.
It's a daunting process, but remember: this is peasant food at its most basic, not gourmet high-end cuisine. Scots ate this because at times, it was all there was. It's a rugged dish that can stand up to a first time stab-in-the-dark.
Good luck with it, and let me know how it goes!
Here is the proper way to address the Haggis:
Ode to a Haggis by Robert Burns
ODE TO A HAGGIS
Fair fa’ your honest, sonsie face,
Great Chieftan o’ the Puddin-race!
Aboon them a’ ye tak your place,
Painch, tripe, or thairm:
Weel are ye wordy of a grace
As lang’s my arm
The groaning trencher there ye fill,
Your hurdies like a distant hill,
You pin wad help to mend a mill
In time o’need
While thro’ your pores the dews distil
Like amber bead
His knife see Rustic-labour dight,
An’ cut you up wi’ ready slight,
Trenching your gushing entrails bright
Like onie ditch;
And then, O what a glorious sight,
Then, horn for horn they stretch an’ strive,
Deil tak the hindmost, on they drive,
Till a’ their weel-swall’d kytes belyve
Are bent like drums;
Then auld Guidman, maist like to rive
Is there that owre his French ragout,
Or olio that wad staw a sow,
Or fricassee wad mak her spew
Wi’ perfect sconner,
Looks down wi’ sneering, scornfu’ view
On sic a dinner?
Poor devil! see him owre his trash,
As feckless as a wither’d rash
His spindle-shank a guid whip-lash,
His nieve a nit;
Thro’ bluidy flood or field to dash,
O how unfit!
But mark the Rustic, haggis-fed,
The trembling earth resounds his tread,
Clap in his walie nieve a blade,
He’ll mak it whissle;
An’ legs, an’ arms an’ heads will sned,
Like taps o’ thrissle
Ye pow’rs wha mak mankind your care,
An’ dish them out their bill o’fare,
Auld Scotland wants nae skinking ware
That jaups in luggies;
But, if ye wish her gratefu’ pray’r,
Gie her a Haggis!
As you can see in the YouTube clip, you read the poem and then cut open the Haggis (at the appropriate point in the poem. Piping in the Haggis is always a brilliant touch.
I love Haggis...I will come join you and wear my kilt as well.
When I was living in Scotland my coworkers tried to convince me that a haggis was actually an animal and that bagpipes were made from dead bodies of haggises. According to the story, haggises had one long leg and several short ones because they lived on hills. They were very quick and the only way hunters could catch them was to chase them onto flat land, where they could not run with their mismatched legs. Haggis the food was simply a baked haggis with the legs removed.
I told them that this was all news to me because in Canada we lived in igloos and didn't have TV.
Then they tried to feed me a slice of haggis from a plastic tube. It was served on a bun, with a greasy fried egg.
Just don't buy haggis in a tube and you should be fine.