Monday, January 26, 2009

Scot's Party

Last night I dragged Jon to Mill Valley with me to celebrate the 250th birthday of Scottish poet, Robert Burns, with a bunch of friends--any excuse to get together and drink, huh? Everyone wore tartan, drank scotch and whiskey, read a bawdy verse from one of Burns' poems (in Scottish accent) and sang pub songs. It was a kick in the kilt! Oh, and I ate haggis, the disgusting national food of Scotland...and, mixed with lots of potatoes and turnips, it wasn't too bad.

When I first dug into the haggis I asked our host, "What's in this?"

"Oatmeal and meat!"
she replied with a tumbler full of Laphroaig raised skyward. I thought it best not to investigate further into the type of meat for fear I might actually get a response. Now I can cross "eat haggis" off my bucket list.

Below is a recipe for haggis (not the version I ate), should you want to celebrate your Scottish heritage, Robert Burns' birthday or are just adventurous:

  • 1 sheep stomach
  • 1 sheep liver
  • 1 sheep heart
  • 1 sheep tongue
  • 1/2 pound suet, minced
  • 3 medium onions, minced
  • 1/2 pound dry oats, toasted
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon dried ground herbs


Rinse the stomach thoroughly and soak overnight in cold salted water.

Rinse the liver, heart, and tongue. In a large pot of boiling, salted water, cook these parts over medium heat for 2 hours. Remove and mince. Remove any gristle or skin and discard.
In a large bowl, combine the minced liver, heart, tongue, suet, onions, and toasted oats. Season with salt, pepper, and dried herbs. Moisten with some of the cooking water so the mixture binds. Remove the stomach from the cold salted water and fill 2/3 with the mixture. Sew or tie the stomach closed. Use a turning fork to pierce the stomach several times. This will prevent the haggis from bursting.

In a large pot of boiling water, gently place the filled stomach, being careful not to splash. Cook over high heat for 3 hours.

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