Many of my ancestors hailed from Scotland. As a member of the Lindsay clan, I have had the opportunities to try
many traditional Scottish recipes including haggis. Most people assume haggis is a Scottish dish; however haggis-like dishes have been traced back to the Romans and are mentioned in “Homer’s Odyssey.” Other variations have been found in Scandinavian culture and among other regions. But, it is the Scots who made haggis famous. Haggis usually consists of cheap cuts of meat, suet, sheep liver, intestines, and oatmeal. In the United States, similar dishes have evolved including Scrapple, hashes, and meatloaf.
One of the largest challenges making traditional haggis is locating the sheep’s stomach, a key ingredient in preparing haggis. I have found that sheep’s stomachs are very easy to come by via butchers who cater to the Amish customers or who provide other old world ingredients. A sheep’s stomach is quite large. If you feel as though a lot of people may not enjoy this dish, I would recommend cutting the stomach in half and reducing the recipe to limit any wasted food.
The sheep’s stomach must be thoroughly cleaned prior to using. I’ve had luck turning the stomach inside out and cleaning the villi with cold salt water. Once the grass stains have been removed, the stomach (pluck) can be turned back right side out before stuffing. If you are faint of heart or have difficulties obtaining a sheep’s pluck, have no fear as a cheesecloth will make a great substitute; the only difference in using cheesecloth is that the haggis is baked and not boiled.
In my own experience, I have found many who are willing to write this dish off of their culinary bucket list. If you do not know someone who is so bold, you can use the second recipe – a vegetarian friendly haggis. Although the vegetarian recipe is quite tasty, it does not taste anything like the traditional haggis; I hope you have the courage to try both recipes.
1 sheep’s stomach
2 lb. dry oatmeal
1 lb. suet (Lard will work in this recipe, but suet is better and can be purchased at larger grocery stores)
1 lb. lamb’s liver
2 1/2 cups lamb or beef stock
1 large chopped onion
1/2 tsp. black pepper and salt
Mince the onion and liver and fry them up together in oil. Lightly brown the oats in the same pan as the liver and onions. Mix the rest of the ingredients together. Fill the sheep’s pluck with the mixture pressing it down to remove all the air, and sew up securely. Prick the haggis in several places so that it does not burst. Place haggis in boiling water and boil slowly for 4-5 hours. Serves approximately 12.
Note: When we made this dish, we only used a partial stomach. Some families include other organ meats including heart, lungs, and kidneys and would treat them the same as the liver.
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 small carrot, finely chopped
5 fresh mushrooms, finely chopped
1 cup vegetable broth
1/3 cup dry red lentils
2 tbsp canned kidney beans – drained, rinsed, and mashed
3 tbsp ground peanuts
2 tbsp ground hazelnuts
1 tbsp Wostershire sauce
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 1/2 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp dried rosemary
1 pinch ground cayenne pepper
1 egg, beaten
1 1/3 cups steel cut oats
Heat the vegetable oil in a saucepan over medium heat, and sauté the onion 5 minutes, until tender. Mix in carrot and mushrooms, and continue cooking 5 minutes. Stir in broth, lentils, kidney beans, peanuts, hazelnuts, wostershire sauce, and lemon juice. Season with thyme, rosemary, cayenne pepper, and mixed spice. Stir in oats and slowly add the beaten egg. Place mixture into a cheescloth that has been laying in a bowl and wrap. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Lightly grease a 5×9 inch baking pan. Transfer the mixture to the prepared baking pan. Bake 30 minutes, until firm.