What is Haggis

Many people in the Scottish culture enjoy haggis, but surprisingly both the Greeks and the Romans ate a variation of the dish before the Scott’s. This dish by many has often been look upon as a poor man’s meal because it is made primarily from the unwanted parts of the animal. It was a cheap meal and with a side of mash potatoes was very filling.In today’s culinary world it has become somewhat of a delicacy. Many people seek the unusual and uncommon food and they become delicacy served in small portion, garnished with speical touches to make them seem more than they are. So just what exactly is haggis?

Haggis is made by stuffing a sheep or cow stomach with a combination of offal and oatmeal, along with generous spices. It is boiled until thoroughly cooked, this process usually takes a few hours to ensure that it is cooked completely through properly. It is often times served with a side of mash potatoes and a good wine.

The offal in the haggis consist of the heart, kidneys, lungs and liver that are finely minced and mixed with suet, which is hard fat from the cow or sheep. Minced onions are added and seasonings such as, nutmeg, cayenne and black pepper and salt. The oatmeal that is incorporated into the offal acts as a filler to keep the dish from becoming too heavy. Once the stuffing process is completed, the stomach is sewn shut to keep all the stuffing ingredients inside. You will want to poke several holes into the stomach to allow the steam to be released as it cooks; otherwise the stomach could very well explode. That may sound like an unlikely event, but the stomach is so completely closed that no steam will escape if the holes are not make in several locations along the stomach.

You will find haggis served with the Burns supper, this is in recognition of Scotland’s national poet, Robert Burns and his poem Address to a Haggis.

You will find haggis in most all supermarkets throughout Scotland and some parts of England as well. Today there is a cheaper version that does not use stomach for the packaging, but instead uses an artificial casing, much in the way that sausage in no longer cased in intestines.

You can always count of a good Scotch whisky to be the traditional accompaniment for haggis especially at Burns supper.

It is a bit unusual and maybe hard for many Americans to stomach, but it may be well worth the effort to locate a supplier and give Haggis a try.