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Monday, May 09, 2005

"Address To A Haggiss"

Be sure to stick around for the Burns paean to haggis at the foot of this recipe...
I stole this recipe from ABC/Queensland (although the basic "mock haggis" recipe is an old one and is also all over the web) and liberally applied my own sense of taste to it. YMMV. See the VARIATION (on my already varied) note later, as well. The crock pot cooking gets moderately close to real haggis boiled in a sheep's stomach.  Of course, around here, in America's Third World County™, getting sheep's stomach and tripe—or indeed, any mutton-related products—just ain't gonna happen. And most folks just aren't going to make real haggis,
"... since haggis is made from the stomach, lungs and other internals of a sheep [and] is rather a gruesome sight during certain stages of its cooking, as anyone who has witnessed the process will agree.
"The lung must first be heated in a pan of hot water with the trachea hanging over the side so as to allow any blood and froth to escape and the stomach bag must be cleaned and scraped and washed very thoroughly before it is used." (link here)
Not something the typical cook (or this lazy cook) is likely to mess with, except for very special ocassions (say, a Robbie Burns Day).
Crock Pot Mock Haggis
(liberally adapted from the above link)
1/2 lb calf liver (You could use beef liver, but it's gonna taste like...  beef liver.  And you thought I was going to say
 something else! heh)
1/2 lb minced or shredded beef.  (Minced is better, but whatever.)
1 large egg (very optional: yields a firmer texture)
2 med. sized yellow (sweet) onions
Approx. 1 cup of water reserved from boiling the liver
6 oz rolled oatmeal
4 oz shredded suet (use beef fat, trimmed from your minced or shredded beef)
1/4 freshly grated nutmeg (or more if not freshly grated)
       NOTE: less nutmeg and a dash or two of "Chinese Five
                   Spice" is good, too.
1/2 to 1 tsp of cayenne pepper (or dried, crushed and powdered ripe—red—serano or habañero! Yum!)
freshly ground pepper  to taste
1 tsp salt (I prefer non-iodized)

Boil the liver for five minutes.
Drain and put aside to cool.
Toast the oatmeal in a dry frying pan or in the oven until it begins to turn a pale brown. (It's a small amount.  A small toaster oven or countertop convection oven does a great job.)
Mince the onions; mince the liver, if you don't they'll not forgive yer... (Wait. Nothing like haggis at Burger King.) 
Mix all the ingredients together with the seasoning and stir in some of the water the liver was boiled in. (Do NOT critique my use of preposition position.)

The mixture should be thoroughly moist but not wet.
Lightly grease/oil your crock pot, dump in the mess and leave it on Low all day (or all night).
Note: If your minced beef/liver mixture looks too fatty then cut down the amount of suet. (No snarky remarks to the beef. It's too late for the cow to diet, now.)
The traditional way to serve haggis is with mashed potatoes and turnips and Scottish tradition calls for a glass of "uisge beatha.". (Yeh, you whiskey drinkers know what that is... )
You can also chill the mock haggis in the fridge and then slice it and heat it through in a frying pan until it's browned on both sides. With eggs: Breakfast!. (Or any other meal you want.)
Mashed Turnips and Potatoes (slightly adapted from the Food Network version.)
6 large red new potatoes, skin on
2 large turnips, peeled
1/2 cup cream, heated
8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter, melted
1/2 cup sour cream
salt and freshly ground pepper
a small bunch of parsley, minced
You can, of course, adjust the amounts proportionally.  With just two at home, the amount above may call for "creative" leftover use. ("You think Xxxx's dog'd like a bit of this?")
VARIATION: This is what I made, tonight.  Cooked the (smaller amount than listed above: actually about a third) turnips and taters in the same crock pot with the mock haggis. Washed (not washed and peeled) the potatoes and carrots. (I did peel the turnip.) "Chunked" (labout 1.5" cubes) the turnip and potatoes.  Cut a pound of carrots into large pieces.  Placed turnips, potatoes and carrots on the bottom of the crock pot, added a little less than a cup of water and the mock haggis mix on top.  Topped with more potatoes. When serving this, you have the option of mashing the turnips and potatoes, as above, or just serving the hefty chunks with the haggis.  It's a tasty  (and EASY) variation. Another plus? the added water around the taters n turnips "steamed" the mock haggis a little bit more.  Bonus tip: a wee tad of water poured gently around the lip of the crock pot lid helps it "seal" early, giving a little better approximation of boiled/steamed haggis. Still just an approximation.  Not real haggis, of course.
Cube the potatoes and turnips into 1" cubes. Cook in boiling water for 15 minutes or until fork-tender. Drain. Whip unpeeled cooked potatoes and turnips with electric mixer, or mash with your grandma's potatoe masher (my preference), mixing until moderately smooth. Add hot cream, butter, and sour cream. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Add parsley and whip again until blended. Adjust thickness by adding more cream, if desired.
Yeh, modify at will.  I certainly don't make the Mashed Turnips/Potatoes exactly as noted. Yogurt for the cream, for example (I like the bite.  BTW, do you know how to tell when yogurt is spoiled?  Good, then tell me, cos I always thought yogurt was just spoiled milk...  ), and olive oil for most of the butter (what can I say? "We likes the oil of virgin olives, oh, yes we does." :-).

Address To A Haggis
by Robert Burns
Fair fa' your honest, sonsie face,
Great chieftain o' the puddin-race!
Aboon them a' ye tak your place,
Painch, tripe, or thairm:
Weel are ye wordy of a grace
As lang's my arm.
The groaning trencher there ye fill,
Your hurdies like a distant hill,
Your pin wad help to mend a mill
In time o' need,
While thro' your pores the dews distil
Like amber bead.
His knife see rustic Labour dight,
An' cut ye up wi' ready slight,
Trenching your gushing entrails bright
Like onie ditch;
And then, O what a glorious sight,
Warm-reekin, rich!
Then, horn for horn, they strech an' strive:
Deil tak the hindmost! on they drive,
Till a' their weel-swall'd kytes belyve,
Are bent like drums;
Then auld Guidman, maist like to rive,
'Bethankit!' hums.
Is there that owre his French ragout
Or olio that wad staw a sow,
Or fricassee wad mak her spew
Wi' perfect sconner,
Looks down wi' sneering, scornfu' view
On sic a dinner?
Poor devil! see him owre his trash,
As feckless as a wither'd rash,
His spindle shank, a guid whip-lash,
His nieve a nit;
Thro' bluidy flood or field to dash,
O how unfit!
But mark the Rustic, haggis-fed,
The trembling earth resounds his tread.
Clap in his walie nieve a blade,
He'll make it whissle;
An' legs, an' arms, an' heads will sned,
Like taps o' thrissle.
Ye Pow'rs wha mak mankind your care,
And dish them out their bill o 'fare,
Auld Scotland wants nae skinking ware
That jaups in luggies;
But, if ye wish her gratefu' prayer,
Gie her a Haggis!