This year’s Burns’ Night, 25th January, is on a Saturday which will surely mean an even boozier one for the Scottish diaspora with the whisky flowing freely, and haggis, neeps, and tatties aplenty. To celebrate the birth of that most revered of Scottish poets, Robbie Burns, Selfridges are stocking Staggis at £5.99. That’s Venison Haggis to the uninitiated. Usually haggis is made from sheep heart, liver, and lungs, onion, oatmeal, spices, and other goodies. It can be pretty offally. As a Black Country boy I grew up eating faggots so I don’t mind a bit of random internal organ, but many people aren’t so keen (and thas roight, ar bay a brummy, om from the black kontree). This Macsween haggis is much less offally than a normal haggis or a faggot, and I think most people would enjoy it. It tasted of a cross between lamb and venison with a plenty of other balanced spices.
We’ve been asked to try out a few random things over the previous year or two, and usually politely refuse, but how could I opt not to try this delight. Macsween of Edinburgh, the brains behind the haggis overhaul (NB, there are no brains in the haggis overhaul), has launched Staggis, made from wild Highland red deer, to tie in with the firm’s 60th anniversary. They’re exclusive to Selfridges, so your nearest place to get these is Brum Selfridges food counters on the ground floor. Although much smaller than when the store first opened, the food hall still has plenty to offer.
If you’ve not cooked haggis before, then this is a good starter, and it really isn’t scary. These small Macsween haggises which serve two take just half an hour in boiling water on the hob. Traditionally it’s served with neeps (in England we call it swede, not turnips) and tatties (potatoes, usually mashed), and a glass of scotch. I had a whisky sauce with mine and swapped the mashed for roast potatoes (which, like a domestic god I had frozen from leftovers on Christmas day – no one should have time on a random Wednesday night to make roast spuds from scratch after work).
Some haggis comes in an edible casing which can be eaten, these smaller ones don’t and the casings must be cut off, be careful of it spitting and escaping steam when you remove the case. I’d also suggest that the haggis can be quernelled nicely with serving spoons so you don’t just end with an unattractive splodge of it on a plate.
Delicious easy home made dinner.
Thanks to DK for the home delivery, Mike for collecting and fridging it while I was working, and Phippsy for eating it with me. It’s been a very complicated way to get a haggis.