Friday 25 January 2013

First, catch your Haggis!

It’s Burns Night here in Scotland, when we sing and dance and address the white chieftain o’ the pudding race itself – the delicious Haggis. But first we have to catch the wee beastie!

The official Great Scottish Haggis Hunt website is fabulous fun. You can read up on old haggis myths, get some top haggis hunting tips, look up facts and find out about the zoology of the wee beastie. There is a haggisclopedia of common jargon and haggis spotting cams pointing to lots of beautiful and wild looking places all over Scotland. If you are lucky enough to spot the rare Golden Haggis, there are even prizes to be won!

On Burns Night in the Horton household we will be partaking of a wee dram and baking our haggis. The Haggis Bake below is my own (now famous!) recipe and if you want to try it, I can guarantee it’s absolute deliciousness!
Haggis Bake.
You will need:
One large haggis (I’m using a traditional
Macsween of Edinburgh haggis).
1kg lean Scottish steak mince.
One large onion.
Two tbsp plain flour.
Tin of chopped tomatoes.
One and a half pints of beef stock ( I used OXO cubes x 3)
Potatoes (peel as many as you think you will need to cover a large shallow oven dish) then slice lengthways into medium thick slices and part boil.

Brown the minced beef in a large pan with the chopped onion. Add the flour. Stir and cook until the flour is absorbed. Add the tinned chopped tomatoes and the beef stock. Turn down the heat to a simmer and cover.
Cook the haggis by following the instructions on the wrapper. For this recipe I used the microwave method. Chop up the cooked haggis and add to the minced beef and gravy. Stir and add boiling water if more liquid is required. The oats in the haggis will absorb a lot of the liquid and you should allow for this. You probably won’t want to season the mixture as the haggis is well seasoned.
In a separate pan, parboil the sliced potatoes for about 5 minutes. You want them half-cooked and still firm. Drain in a colander. Transfer the beef mince and haggis mixture to a large shallow oven dish and arrange the slices of potato on top.
Brush with melted butter and pop into a moderately hot oven. This would be the middle shelf of the roasting oven for an range cooker or 190 degrees/ gas mark 5 for a conventional oven. Bake until bubbling and golden brown for approx 30-40 minutes. Serves 6-8  generously. Enjoy with seasonal vegetables like ‘neeps’ and carrots.
 Happy Burns Night everyone!