This Saturday is the night of the Burns supper. At this celebration of Scotland’s national poet, the centrepiece of the meal is the haggis. For some of us haggis is a source of fear and confusion, but this is the one night of the year when you must put aside any ill feelings towards this misunderstood meat pudding and raise your glass to the ‘great chieftain o’ the puddin’-race’.
Haggis is made by combining ‘pluck’ – the heart, liver and lungs of a sheep – onions, oatmeal, suet and spices. This medley of ingredients is traditionally boiled in the sheep’s stomach.
Enticing, right? It may sound grisly, but the combination of different cuts of meat give haggis a unique and delicious savoury flavour.
This Burns Night, buy a haggis at the supermarket and cook it yourself. My preferred method is to bake the haggis. Treat it like a baked potato: prick all over with a fork before wrapping in foil and baking for an hour at 200C.
While your haggis is in the oven, you can whip up some neeps and tatties. Boil potatoes and swedes separately, and then mash roughly. When your haggis is finished, remove from the oven, cut open with a sharp knife and spoon onto plates. The haggis might not look glamorous but the homely taste will be sure to convert even the most squeamish of guests.
Lastly, a glimmer of hope for all you vegetarians out there. Vegetarian haggis substitutes beans and lentils for the meaty bits of the pudding, so you need not go hungry this Burns Night!