Burns Night is in late January. The anniversary of the birth of poet Robert Burns is, of course, celebrated with a Burns Night supper, which can be anything from a get-together with friends to a big formal dinner.
The centrepiece of the feast is the haggis which, if you’re doing the whole thing properly, should arrive accompanied by bagpipers. This should be followed by a reading of the poem ‘Address to a Haggis’, after which all assembled need to raise a glass to the main course.
We reckon you might be skipping some of the formalities (after all, it can be hard to fit the pipers into your dining space), but you definitely want a tasty haggis at the centre of your festivities. How to make sure yours is a perfectly prepared culinary treat? Use our guide.
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How to make haggis
You will need:
- Heart, lungs and liver of 1 lamb
- 500g beef or lamb trimmings
- 2 onions, finely chopped
- 200g suet
- 500g coarse oatmeal, lightly toasted
- 1tsp nutmeg
- 1tsp coriander
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 ox bung (haggis casing)
1. Wash the heart, lungs and liver. Simmer in unsalted water for around 2 hours.
2. Strain off cooking liquid and set aside.
3. Finely chop the heart and lungs, and coarsely grate the liver. Finely dice the trimmings.
4. In a large bowl, mix the meat with the onions, suet, oatmeal, nutmeg and coriander. Season and combine well. Add sufficient cooking liquid to moisten the mixture, but let it remain crumbly.
5. Rinse and pat dry the ox bung. Spoon the mixture into it until around half full. Tie butchers’ string tightly around the end. Pierce the outside a few times.
6. To cook, place in a pan of boiling water and simmer for 3 hours. Top up as necessary to keep the haggis covered.
7. To serve, put on a serving plate, pat dry, and cut open and spoon out the filling.
Where can I buy haggis?
Like the idea of serving the classic Burns Night feast but prefer not to make your own? You can shop for what you need.
You can find traditional haggis via Amazon, as well as sauces to go with it.
Purists will tut-tut, but you can find microwavable haggis at Waitrose.
You can also shop at Tesco, where there’s also a vegetarian version for non meat-eating guests to enjoy at a Burns Night supper.
How to cook haggis
To cook high street or online-purchased haggis, follow the instructions. As well as cooking in a pan as you would with homemade haggis, you may be able to cook it in the oven, or (as we mentioned above) the microwave.
How to cook haggis in a slow cooker? It’s true that this isn’t the conventional way of doing things, but some swear by it. To use the slow cooker, place a little water in the bowl, wrap the haggis in foil, add it to the pot, and cook on low for around 6 hours.