Luke Mackay’s guide to making Scotland’s national dish from scratch
Murdo, my four-year-old has recently given to suggesting that he is a vegetarian: “I hate meat daddy,” he says and slips it to his carnivorous sister when I’m not looking. “But what about sausages?” I say. “Oh, I LOVE sausages,” he says. So, haggis was off the menu to be replaced with Scottish sausages.
You need to pre-order a sheep’s pluck (lungs/heart/liver) from a butcher—Rhug Farm will happily deliver one to their stall at Borough Market in exchange for a few quid—and if you are going down the Scottish sausages route, you will need a mincer/sausage maker and natural casings. If you don’t have a fussy four-year-old, then you will need an ox bung to create your more traditional haggis—this too can be ordered from a decent butcher.
1 lamb’s pluck (approx 1½kg)
500g lamb trimmings
1 large onion, peeled
2 tbsp ground mace
1 tbsp ground allspice
2 tbsp coriander seeds, ground
600g pin head oatmeal, toasted in a hot pan for a few mins
1 ox bung (or natural sausage casings)
Rinse your pluck under cold running water to remove any blood or impurities. Place in a large pan with the lamb trim and cover with cold water. Bring to a gentle simmer and cook for 90 mins. Remove from the heat and leave in stock to cool overnight.
Remove the pluck from the stock but save at least 570ml of the liquid. Chop the pluck and onion into manageable pieces and feed through a meat grinder on a coarse setting. Alternatively, chop very finely. You can grate the liver with a cheese grater (strangely satisfying).
Mix the suet, seasoning and spices, toasted oats and a pint of the cooking liquor together, until you have a paste-like consistency.
Stuff into your bung—leaving space for expansion—and sew up the opening, or feed through your sausage-maker into the natural casings, twisting to form sausages. Simmer your haggis for 90 mins or if you have made sausages, for 30 mins.
You can eat both immediately but for the sausages, I allowed them to cool completely and then fried them in a pan on the lowest possible heat for about 30 mins to become crisp and golden.
Eat with neeps and tatties and if you are a traitor to the land of your fathers, like me, some delicious onion gravy.
Recipe: Luke Mackay