Burns Night is once more upon us and that most revered of Scottish foods, the haggis, that jewel in the crown of the Scottish kitchen, once more comes to the fore.
It will take centre stage at many a traditional knees-up around the world (apart from the U.S. where the importation of haggis has been banned since 1971) in honour of the birthday of that finest of Scottish poets, Robbie Burns!
Boisdale, the respected Scottish restaurant chain that has been campaigning to overturn the ban, currently produces some three tons of haggis a year.
Haggis is normally made with a sheep’s heart, liver, lungs and kidneys (left) with onions and oats (see recipe above) although the first commercial vegan-friendly haggis was launched by that renowned Scottish haggis producer Macsween in 1984.
The origin of the word haggis has never been entirely defined but is thought to have descended from an Old Norse verb hoggva meaning ‘to cut with a sharp weapon’ while a second contender comes from the Norman French word ‘hachis’, meaning ‘to cut up’.
Although commonly believed to have originated in Scotland, a similar dish of intestines stuffed with highly seasoned offal and blood was known of in Roman times and has kinship with the black pudding of Northern England.
But be that as it may. The haggis is no longer the prerogative of the rich and it has become a much more accessible meal option.
Unfortunately for the purists this has meant the proliferation of a large number of hybrid dishes, a number of which I include here.
To those purists now crying into their single malt I offer my condolences and would suggest another wee dram to ameliorate the shock!