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"Tastes as good as it sounds"
January 25, 2010 8:28 AM   Subscribe

Americans, rejoice! Haggis is coming to our fair land.

The announcement symbolically arrives on Burns Night, a celebration of the Scottish poet Robert Burns. Haggis is part of the traditional Burns Supper.

If you're the impatient type and just have to have some haggis right now, Alton Brown provides a recipe. (previously) Some other recipes for celebrating Burns Night.
posted by backseatpilot (48 comments total)

 
Haggis nachos? Yay?
posted by Burhanistan at 8:32 AM on January 25, 2010 [2 favorites]


I greatly enjoyed the haggis I had in Scotland - salty and savory and perfect as a small appetizer with cheese and cured meats.
posted by muddgirl at 8:35 AM on January 25, 2010


Serve with mashed potatoes, if you serve it at all.

Yes indeedy.
posted by jquinby at 8:38 AM on January 25, 2010


Craig Ferguson: Making every day for America GREAT.
posted by Smart Dalek at 8:39 AM on January 25, 2010 [2 favorites]


I'd never heard of Robbie Burns Day before emigrating to Canada, but I am pretty sure that the haggis that tossed around here (in every major and likely most non-major cities in the country, including my named-after-a-bay-in-Scotland Calgary) is actually made here.
posted by ethnomethodologist at 8:48 AM on January 25, 2010


um- Calgary is definitely a major Canadian city, I mean that it's all over the place in Canada.
posted by ethnomethodologist at 8:49 AM on January 25, 2010


Don't open your borders to the Scots and their so-called 'culture'. The Romans built Hadrian's Wall for a good reason.
posted by Abiezer at 8:56 AM on January 25, 2010 [9 favorites]


The shop-bought ones always seem a little bitter-tasting to me. You really need to catch the haggis fresh: the chase up the hill helps you work up an appetite too.
posted by TheophileEscargot at 9:01 AM on January 25, 2010


Ok, do pot next, because I will need to have the munchies pretty bad before I try it.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 9:03 AM on January 25, 2010 [1 favorite]


That must be the horrific smell coming of Scots-town this morning, it's right across the bridge from Japanese-burg and down the street from Switzerland-ville.
posted by ExitPursuedByBear at 9:05 AM on January 25, 2010


These guys are supposed to be the sheep's stomach cat's ass in Toronto.
posted by gman at 9:08 AM on January 25, 2010


Neeps and tatties?

I hope to god those are hardcore tatties they're talking about.
posted by emelenjr at 9:09 AM on January 25, 2010 [1 favorite]


On defining the neep: swede or turnip? A burning question of our time.
posted by YouRebelScum at 9:14 AM on January 25, 2010


Haggis nachos? Yay?

haggis slurpee - yum
posted by pyramid termite at 9:18 AM on January 25, 2010


Haggis nachos? Yay?

We already have the Haggis Pakora, so haggis nachos sounds like the logical next step. Our job will not be complete until there's global haggis cultural assimilation!
posted by daveje at 9:19 AM on January 25, 2010


Most people who turn their noses up at haggis either haven't had it or have had some kind of cooked-from-frozen abortion of cuisine, underseasoned and made mostly of oatmeal.

Good haggis should be like a peppery, savoury boiled lamb and lamb offal sausage, with oats as the filler, not the substance. Some tatties and neeps, a little whiskey sauce, and I'd eat that every week if I could.
posted by ten pounds of inedita at 9:21 AM on January 25, 2010 [2 favorites]


Hooray for haggis! Chieftan o' the pudding race indeed -- if you've never tried it, you're missing out. It's like the platonic ideal of sausage mingled with the scrapple I grew up on.

We had our Burns' night dinner last night -- with an absolutely fantastic vegetarian haggis, neeps (with butter and ginger) and tatties (butter, milk and nutmeg), cranachan, a ginger pudding with brandy sauce, an improvised veggie scotch broth, and last but not least an young unfiltered Laphroaig and a lovely Mortlach that went well with dessert.

OK. Hungry again.
posted by xthlc at 9:22 AM on January 25, 2010


Haggis is NOT banned outright in the U.S., so far as I know -- it is on the menu in a pub I went to in Midtown Manhattan several months ago. It's possible they got around any kind of import ban by making it from scratch, but haggis is definitely on the menu, so this country is not completely devoid of it.

(For the record: I didn't have any, but I did consider it -- then decided that it'd be more special if the loss of my haggis virginity took place IN Scotland.)
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:36 AM on January 25, 2010


Everything but the baa! :)

Empress, the FDA restricts the import of Haggis, but you're absolutely right: it is not banned here. They've done so since 1989, after the Bovine Spongiform Encephelopathy (Mad Cow) scare, because haggis is made with (beef, pork or sheep) offal.

If you haven't read Greg Nog's Stewart's of Kearney story, it's pretty good. :)
posted by zarq at 10:03 AM on January 25, 2010


Sure, it's not banned, but it's hard to get unless you make it yourself, and I have it on good authority that many Scottish ex-pats consider American haggis to be vastly inferior.
posted by muddgirl at 10:05 AM on January 25, 2010


By "American" haggis, I of course mean that it wasn't prepared by a Scottish or Scottish-heritage butcher.
posted by muddgirl at 10:07 AM on January 25, 2010


Yeah, my response was more of an initial "wait, it so isn't banned!" followed by realizing halfway through my typing that "unless the ban is only on THIS specific thing...okay that makes sense, nevermind!"
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:08 AM on January 25, 2010


By "American" haggis, I of course mean that it wasn't prepared by a Scottish or Scottish-heritage butcher.

I'm not a Scottish ex-pat, but I've had both and agree with them.

...it's hard to get unless you make it yourself...

Au contraire! Stewart's is probably the closest I've come to the real thing in the US, and they have an online store.
posted by zarq at 10:15 AM on January 25, 2010


My understanding was that the specific FDA restriction on haggis was due to the inclusion of 'lights' (meaning lungs) in the offal. U.S.-produced haggis, or imported haggis that doesn't include lung, would be okay by FDA rules, though not necessarily okay by haggis purists. This is just off the top of my head, though.

I hadn't heard of a BSE-based ban; you'd think that would cover a variety of other items as well.
posted by gimonca at 10:26 AM on January 25, 2010


Another old item I was sure I had posted here, but can't find in a search:

"A sheep is homeomorphic to a torus. Perform a transformation such that the interior and the exterior of the sheep are exchanged. The result is called a haggis."

posted by gimonca at 10:28 AM on January 25, 2010 [2 favorites]


A haggis is a small animal native to Scotland. Well when I say animal, actually it's a bird with vestigial wings - like the ostrich.
posted by jonesor at 10:37 AM on January 25, 2010 [1 favorite]


Haggisn't.
posted by pracowity at 11:09 AM on January 25, 2010


"Imports of Scotland's iconic dish were banned by the US 21 years ago because it contains offal awful ingredients such as sheep lungs."
posted by mr_crash_davis mark II: Jazz Odyssey at 11:23 AM on January 25, 2010


If you haven't read Greg Nog's Stewart's of Kearney story, it's pretty good

Fact: I just now stepped into my apartment, having come back from a trip to Stewart's, where I bought this year's haggis! This time, though, it was a strapping young American-accented gentleman who helped me, not a tiny Scottish lady. But haggis is now sitting in my kitchen, waiting to be cooked! No skinking ware for my dinner tonight, no sir!
posted by Greg Nog at 11:26 AM on January 25, 2010


"Don't open your borders to the Scots and their so-called 'culture'"

Too late.

Suck on it ya daftie.
posted by theCroft at 12:11 PM on January 25, 2010 [1 favorite]


It was a cunning trick comment, theCroft, as you and I know the Scots didn't leave the north of Ireland to move over the sea to Dalriada until several centuries after the construction of the wall. I merely jested because I love.
posted by Abiezer at 12:30 PM on January 25, 2010


I also merely jested. Mainly because I'm Scottish, drunk and patriotically aggressive.
posted by theCroft at 12:36 PM on January 25, 2010 [1 favorite]


i dont think anybody will eat this.
posted by sgt.serenity at 12:38 PM on January 25, 2010


No skinking ware for my dinner tonight, no sir!

Don't forget a gratefu prayer tonight. :)

Enjoy!
posted by zarq at 12:39 PM on January 25, 2010


I shall say a grateful prayer if dinner tonight does not include innards of any animal
posted by Cranberry at 1:08 PM on January 25, 2010


i dont think anybody will eat this.

good. more for me.
posted by silence at 1:39 PM on January 25, 2010


In a strange Scottish/ Jamaican "Reggae Burns Supper" tonight, which acknowledged our shared history of slavery and trade, 70 Scots and Jamaicans sat down for a night of roots at our public house.

Dinner went like this:

Caledonian Callaloo With Mini Haggis Pasties: A “Soup” of Kale and Spinach with fresh Scottish Seafood & Chillies Served with a small Puff Pastry “pastie” filled with Spicy MacSween’s Haggis

Culzean Venison Jerk, Fried Johnnie Cakes, Rice & Peas: Prime Scottish Venison loin marinaded in jerk slices, Pan-seared and cooked to Medium-Rare, The ubiquitous Jamaican dumplings, deep fried with a secret Scottish twist, Four types of Peas, Rice + Thyme & Garlic + a Scotch Bonnet Pepper

Jamaican Cornmeal Pudding with a Glesga Mist: Polenta, Coconut, Cinnamon, Nutmeg & Mace Served hot alongside a Version of Cranachan (Raspberries, Oatmeal, Drambuie & Cream)

Ginger Rasta Cocktail: An exotic blend of Carribean rum & Scottish Whisky shaken over ice with Chambord and topped with Crabbie’s Ginger Ale


Plus some great bands, bards and banter. 
posted by theCroft at 1:53 PM on January 25, 2010 [4 favorites]


That sounds so fun! Wish I'd been there!
posted by small_ruminant at 2:20 PM on January 25, 2010


Re: haggis in Canada

Yes, Canada tolerates all sorts of dangerous foods that our neighbours reject, such as dangerous unpasteurized cheeses from France and haggis from Scotland. Plenty of (diverse) shops offer locally created and imported versions of both of these foodstuffs.

I'm pretty sure the whisky will protect you from the listeria. What can go wrong?
posted by clvrmnky at 3:07 PM on January 25, 2010


Stewart's is probably the closest I've come to the real thing in the US, and they have an online store.

$9.99 a lb, though? Yeesh.
posted by Mister Moofoo at 3:15 PM on January 25, 2010


My brother gave me canned haggis for Christmas.

I'm not sure what that adds to the conversation, but it had to be noted somewhere.

Canned Haggis.
posted by Noon Under the Trees at 3:17 PM on January 25, 2010


Yes, I've had a can of it in my cupboard for... years, actually. I haven't built up the nerve to eat it.
posted by small_ruminant at 3:19 PM on January 25, 2010


re: Canned Haggis.

Oh god. This made me remember a camping meal I had once: canned boiled potatoes with canned roast chicken.

Seriously. If Napoleon knew where his idea of peas and carrots would lead to, I suspect we wouldn't know that you can't win a land war in Asia.
posted by clvrmnky at 3:23 PM on January 25, 2010


EC, were you at St Andrews? The last time I was there the menu made it clear that their haggis didn't include lungs.

I had pork lung at a mod Brit place in Leeds and a veal lung dish in Vienna. It tastes like the rest of the animal.
posted by brujita at 11:10 PM on January 25, 2010


If you're going to eat lamb, it's just another part of the sheep, isn't it? It's still dead animal. And it's tasty dead animal.

If the thought of the pluck of the sheep freaks you out, there's a delicious vegetarian version. I recommend a visit to the Baked Potato Shop on the Royal Mile for a tattie the size of a bairn's head filled with yummy veggie haggis.
posted by mippy at 4:16 AM on January 26, 2010


In a strange Scottish/ Jamaican "Reggae Burns Supper" tonight, which acknowledged our shared history of slavery and trade, 70 Scots and Jamaicans sat down for a night of roots at our public house.

Holy damn, that sounds completely awesome.

My Burns Night was a pretty small standard affair with a bunch of friends. Haggis, a turnip gratin for the neeps portion, some straightforward mashed potatoes for the tatties, some salad with a hard-cider-based vinaigrette to cut through the heaviness of the other items, three kinds of scotch eggs (pork, beef, and vegetarian), cranachan, and deep-fried Mars bars.

Oh, and whisky. So much whisky. Good times!
posted by Greg Nog at 7:56 AM on January 26, 2010


I didn't manage much more than playing Dick Gaughan's setting of Now Westlin Winds whilst getting a bit misty-eyed.
posted by Abiezer at 8:09 AM on January 26, 2010


or not necessarily:
Recently, several news articles have incorrectly stated that the U.S. will be relaxing or lifting its ban on Scottish haggis. At this time, haggis is still banned in the U.S. The APHIS rule covers all ruminant imports, which includes haggis. It is currently being reviewed to incorporate the current risk and latest science related to these regulations. There is no specific time frame for the completion of this review. Please check back with APHIS periodically for updates.

posted by K.P. at 3:17 PM on January 26, 2010


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