Haggis! Though celebrated as Scotland’s national dish there is still much confusion as to what Haggis actually is. Is it a beast? What’s it made of? How is it prepared? We at Timberbush Tours are here to help by answering your questions, alleviating your confusion and highlighting the general loveliness of this dish.
First of all, let me dispel the rumour that a haggis is an animal, there is no creature called a haggis. Though, to be fair, it is certainly made from parts of one. The joke is that the haggis is an animal that has longer legs on one side of its body than the other in order for it to traverse hills with ease… making it notoriously difficult to catch!
Well, it may not sound appetising, but it is made from the following; sheep’s liver, heart and lungs which are minced down and mixed with beef suet, oatmeal and various spices which is then all packaged into a sheep’s stomach and boiled. There are different recipes though and it doesn’t necessarily need to put in a sheep’s stomach anymore, there’s even a vegetarian option.
This is where things get a bit hazy. Some believe the Romans were the first to have a dish such as Haggis, or that it is Scandinavian in origin. I’ve read that there is even a mention of it in Homer’s Odyssey "a man before a great blazing fire turning swiftly this way and that a stomach full of fat and blood, very eager to have it roasted quickly."
The reason being was that it was necessary! The dish uses all the cheap and generally unusable parts of the animal to help feed a good number of people, in other words it’s cheap and keeps you full.
Traditionally haggis is eaten on Burns Night, but its popularity and availability means that really you can have it whenever you want. You don’t even need to have it in the traditional fashion, with neeps and tatties, as you can get it in burritos, on pizzas and battered along with other delightful treats.
It really depends on what you are looking to do with it – boiled, fried, microwaved… I would recommend reading the instructions though…
Anything you want really but I would recommend either a glass bottled Irn Bru or a dram of your favourite whisky.
You can exchange currency for haggis at various places – the butchers, the supermarket, various restaurants, chippies and vans that provide fried foods amongst others.