A Traditional Scottish Recipe for Haggis
It has been remarked, that every country is celebrated for some culinary preparation, and that all national dishes are good. The reason of this is sufficiently obvious: had they not been acceptable to the palate, they never could have either gained or maintained their supremacy. Accordingly, the Spanish olio, the Italian macaroni, the French ragout, the Turkish pillau, and, though last not least, in our good love, the Scotch haggis, differing essentially as they do, are, nevertheless, all equally good after their kind. We give precedence to the Great chieftain of the pudding race.
Margaret Dods, The Cook and Housewives Manual, 1829.
An adult sheep's pluck (Heart, liver and lungs)
A pound (0.5 kg) of beef suet
Four good-sized raw onions
12 small onions peeled and scalded twice in boiling water
1 pint of oatmeal roasted in the oven at 150 OC for two hours
One (or two) well-cleaned sheep stomachs, soaked in salt water for several hours. (The stomachs are known as haggis bags.) The bag should not have any weaknesses or thin parts otherwise it will burst. Some cooks prefer to use two stomachs, one inside the other, to prevent this.
A half pint (285 ml) of beef gravy
Juice squeezed from one lemon (optional)
A large pot of boiling water
Haggis Cooking Method
Clean the pluck thoroughly.
Make incisions in the heart and liver to allow the blood to flow out.
Parboil the whole pluck, letting the windpipe lie over the side of the pot to allow liquids such as the blood to leave the lungs.
After a few minutes' boiling, replace the water with fresh water.
Boil for an hour.
Remove the pluck and cut off half of the liver. Continue boiling this until it is hard enough to be grated easily.
Take the heart, the other half of the liver and part of the lungs*. These should be trimmed to remove skins and black-looking parts.
Mince the above ingredients with the beef-suet and the four good-sized onions and the 12 small onions.
Grate the remaining half of the liver and add to the mince.
Spread the mince out on a chopping board and spread the oatmeal over the top of it along with the black pepper, salt and cayenne pepper to taste. Mix well.
Bring a large pot of water to a gently boil
Put the meat into the haggis bag and pour in the beef gravy and (optionally) lemon juice.
Do not overfill the bag, or it could burst. Allow not quite half of the bag for the meat to swell into.
Squeeze out the air and sew the haggis bag closed.
Place the haggis into the gently boiling water.
The haggis will begin to swell. When it does this, prick it all over with a large needle to prevent bursting.
Boil the haggis gently for three hours.
*Margaret Dods recommends that a finer haggis may be made by replacing the lungs with parboiled and skinned sheep tongues and kidneys.