Haggis, using ingredients available in the US
Real haggis isn’t available in the US, because it uses bits of the sheep on which the FDA looks with horror. This is my best attempt so far. Some key differences:
- I’ve given up on finding lamb lights and pluck, so it’s much less offally than it should be.
- I used regular “old fashioned” oats instead of pinhead oats (apparently the same thing as steel-cut oats). The latter would probably give it a more authentic texture. You might want to try adding them after the grinding stage rather than before, as I do here.
- Even in Scotland, beef bung (or cap) is used as a common substitute for sheep stomach. You don’t eat the haggis casing anyway, so it doesn’t make much difference. You can get them online at most sausage supply sites (e.g. sausagemaker.com).
- This version is quite sausage-like, and binds together more than regular haggis, because I like it that way. If you prefer it to be looser, skip the binding step (step 6).
- 1 beef bung
- 1/2 lb "old fashioned" oats
- 4 tbsp butter
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 3 lbs lamb meat, in chunks
- 1 lb beef liver, in large chunks
- 1 tbsp allspice
- 2.5 tbsp salt
- 1 tbsp pepper
- 1 tbsp mustard powder
- 1 lb lard (suet would be better, if available)
- 1 cup beer
1Rinse the beef bung thoroughly, inside and out. Soak in lukewarm water for at least 1 hour.
2Toast the oats on a cookie sheet in a 350F oven for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
3Saute the onion in the butter until translucent, and allow to cool.
4Mix the spices, onion, lamb, liver, oats and lard in a large ziplock bag. Put in the freezer until quite cold (even stiff) but not frozen.
5Grind the meat mixture using a large die. If you don’t have a grinder, chopping everything up into very small pieces might do the trick. Use less beer in the next stage if you go this route.
6Put the meat mixture in a Kitchen Aid on low setting for one minute. Add the beer, and mix on medium for one minute, until everything gets sticky.
7Cut the bung into three equal pieces. One will be closed at one end, open at the other, while the other two will be open at both ends. Sew one end of the two-ended pieces shut with a needle and (strong) thread.
8Stuff each bung bag with the meat mixture. Squeeze out all the air, but leave some slack in the bag so that the contents can expand. Sew each bag shut.
9Unless you have a big Burns Supper planned, you should probably put two of the haggises in the freezer at this point.
10Bring a large pot of water to a simmer, and add the haggis. Simmer gently for at least three hours.
11Serve ceremonially with tatties and neeps (mashed potatoes and turnips).
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