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Re: Haggis

Poster: James and/or Nancy Gilly <KatieMorag@worldnet.att.net>

At 01:58 18-12-96 +0000, was written:
>Poster: Rcardiff@aol.com
>All you scots out there!
>     HELP!!
>Brok has got himself a sheep...no this is not a marital problem. They guy who
>lives behind us has a farmette and raises some animals, and is selling us a
>sheep at a great price. Brok is going to butcher the thing, but in typical
>Brok fashion, he doesn't want to waste a bite. Therefore we are in search of
>a good Haggis recipe. (I know, the idea of a GOOD Haggis may be an oxymoron
>to some). 
>Anyway, any recipes or leads to recipes would be greatly appreciated. I hate
>to think of what he will come up with if he has to wing it!
>     Thanks,
>               Miriam--who is thinking about skipping town for this one.

Mmmm - wonderful stuff!  If I provide a recipe, do I get to come sample the
finished product? 8)


Qualities of a good haggis
The flavour is a matter of taste, with some liking it spicy and 'hot' with
plenty of pepper, while others prefer a milder flavour with more herbs than
spices.  Relative proportions of meat to oatmeal, suet and onions also
depend on individual preferences as does the type of offal used.  Some
butchers will use ox liver because their customers prefer the flavour, while
others stick to the traditional sheep's - there are all kinds of
permutations which make haggis eating something of an adventure.
   More a question of quality, the meat should have no tough gristly bits
sometimes found in a badly-made haggis and the texture should be moist and
firm, rather than dry and crumbly.

Traditional method
   1 sheep's bag and pluck
   4 oz / 125 g suet, finely chopped (1 c)
   4 medium onions, finely chopped
   1/2 lb / 250 g pinhead oatmeal (2 c)
   2-4 tablespoons salt
   1 level teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
   1 level teaspoon dried mixed herbs (2 for fresh)
Preparing the pluck and bag
   Wash the bag in cold water, scrape and clean well.  Leave overnight in
cold water.  Wash the pluck and put it in a pan of boiling water.  Let the
windpipe lie over the side of the pot and have a small jar underneath to
catch the drips.  Simmer gently until all are tender - this depends on the
age of animal but is usually between one and two hours.  Place the cooked
pluck in a large basin, cover with the liquid in which it was boiled and
leave overnight.
Making the Haggis
(The next day)
   Toast the oatmeal in the oven till thoroughly dried-out but not browned.
Cut off the windpipe, trim away all skin and black parts.  Chop or mince the
heart and lungs, grate the liver.  Add the oatmeal, salt, pepper, herbs and
about 1 pt / 1/2 L (2-1/2 c) of the liquid the pluck was boiled in.  Mix
well, fill the bag rather more than half full of the mixture.  Press out the
air, sew up and prick with a long needle.  Place in boiling water, simmer
for three hours, pricking again when it swells.  The bag may be cut into
several pieces to make smaller haggis in which case cook for only 1-1/2 - 2
   Serve hot with 'tatties' - Creamed Potatoes flavoured with nutmeg (see p.
181); 'neeps' - Mashed Turnip flavoured with allspice (see p. 194) and a
good blended whisky.

(*Scottish Cookery*, pp 148-149, by Catherine Brown.  Copyright 1989,
Catherine Brown.  Richard Drew Publishing Ltd, Glasgow, reprinted 1990.)


The "bag" is the sheep's stomach, of course; the "pluck" is "the part of the
animal which has been 'plucked' out of the belly and includes the liver,
heart and lungs which are all joined together with the windpipe at one end."
(p 147)

She gives an extra two and a half pages of notes on the serving and history
of haggis, commenting that haggis recipes date back to at least the
fifteenth century.

Slainte -

Alasdair mac Iain of Elderslie          Argent, a chevron cotised azure
Dun na Leomhainn Bhig                   surmounted by a sword and in chief
Barony of Marinus                       two mullets sable

James and/or Nancy Gilly

Reunite Gondwanaland!

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