It is a shame that the “Great chieftain o’ the puddin’ race” should be regarded (by some) with such a mixture of horror and humour. The vision of sheep’s stomachs and other intestines seems to put some people off, but it has long been a traditional way of using up parts of the animal which otherwise might go to waste. Made properly, it is a tasty, wholesome dish, with every chef creating his or her own recipe to get the flavour and texture (dry or moist) that suits them. Personally, I like a haggis which is spicy from pepper and herbs, with a lingering flavour on the palate after it has been consumed.
One cookery book I came across suggested that the best way to get haggis was to buy it in the butcher’s shop! Certainly, these days haggis can even be ordered online. Finding a butcher who can supply sheep’s heart, lungs and liver may not be easy although nowadays beef bung (intestine) is used instead of sheep’s stomach. Since this is used also to make European sausage, they are out there for other nationalities as well.
- 1 linen cheese
- cloth or a plain linen dish towel
- 2 lb. dry oatmeal
- 1 lb. chopped mutton fat, rendered, or suet, which is the cleanest fat on the animal’s body.
- 1 to 1 1/2 lb. lamb or venison liver, boiled and minced
- 2 tbsps soy sauce (if not use a gravy alternative)
- 2 c. stock
- 1 large chopped onion
- 1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
- 1/2 tsp. allspice
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1/2 tsp. pepper
- Toast oatmeal slowly until crisp.
- Mix all ingredients together; add stock.
- Fill cloth to just over half full, press out air, sew up securely.
- Have ready a large pot of boiling water.
- Boil slowly for 4 to 5 hours.
- Serve with Clapshot (recipe below)