What is haggis? I knew it was some meat dish made with a bunch of animal parts, but what actually is it? Is it weird? Or perhaps delicious? Can you get veggie haggis? What’s a sheep’s pluck? I had so many questions, and thankfully while I was in Edinburgh, the owner of Haggis Hostels invited me over to learn to make it. And by learn to make it, I mean I sipped whisky, and he did all the work.
What is haggis? An overview video
I decided I was too weirded out to try haggis without learning more. Here’s the best of my lesson in making the confirmed-delicious dish!
What is haggis and what’s haggis made of?
Haggis is Scotland’s national dish; the word haggis generally refers to the whole dish, as well as the meat. The meat is “offal” (not awful!), or sheep’s pluck, meaning its heart, liver and lungs. When purchased, it is spiced and stuffed in the sheep’s stomach (where it will remain during cooking).
To make haggis the dish, the haggis meat (offal) is combined with neeps and tatties (turnips and potatoes) and best served dressed with a homemade gravy.
Possibly the most important “ingredient” for haggis is whisky. It doesn’t actually go in the dish, but it helps to sip some as you cook. And some more as you eat.
Is there vegetarian haggis?
Yes! You can get vegetarian haggis. We even made some. I would say the meat version is tastier, but I’m sure my heart would appreciate the veggie haggis much more! It is sold already spiced and, of course, not in a sheep’s stomach.
Addressing the haggis and Burns suppers
Have you heard of a Burns supper and wondered what it is? Robert Burns wrote a poem, Address to a Haggis, which forever linked him to his homeland’s dish. Burns suppers (or night) are held near the poet’s birthday (January 25) and include bagpipes, a reading of the poem and lots of haggis.
Homemade haggis recipe
If you want to dare to try making it yourself, here is Chris’s homemade haggis recipe. I certainly vouch for the recipe, but wouldn’t trust myself to make it!
Resources for visiting Scotland
Want to head to Scotland to try haggis for yourself? Scotland is by far and away one of my favorite countries and I can’t recommend visiting there more.
Tour operators: If you’re looking for someone to show you around the country while you’re there, I can also recommend Haggis Adventures.
Pin it to tell the world what haggis is!
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