March 22, 2012

The Ingredients of Haggis: Scotland's National Dish

Eating the Scots' traditional food is not for people with a faint heart, especially if they are aware what it is made of and how it is prepared. While this food is considered as Scotland's national dish, it is widely accepted that haggis was brought from Scandinavia. Several recipes used to cook this food dates back around 1430. It was originally prepared from sheep offal and certain type of herbs, then served with “tatties and neeps” (Scot for mashed potatoes added with nutmeg, turnip and ginger). Eventually, a sauce concocted from whisky was added to the menu. There are many adaptations in creating haggis. A meat-free recipe for vegetarians is made with beans, lentils, mushrooms, carrots, turnip and the usual oatmeal, onions and spices. More people are now developing their love for the dish in spite of its unique taste and nutty texture.

The basic ingredients of haggis are the organs of a cow or sheep: the heart, liver, lungs, small intestines and stomach. While most people normally eat liver, others detest eating the remaining ingredients of haggis. The dish is generally prepared with the main ingredients, chopped and stuffed into the animal’s stomach and mixed with oats, onions, special herbs and spices. It is then boiled for several hours. This preparation is somehow similar to sausages.

Today, haggis is available in casings because more people prefer this form rather than the conventional way of preparing it. One can buy packs of cocktail-sized haggis, perfect as an appetizer on the buffet table. There are also pre-sliced, ideal for cooking in a microwave oven which is great for a quick snack. With so many companies manufacturing haggis, the traditional home-made cooking is still preferred by gourmets to relish its authentic flavor and style.

Since haggis is now banned for entry in the United States, you can make your own by using different recipes and purchasing the ingredients of haggis available at specific meat shops and supermarkets. This way, you can truly enjoy this food at home, at private parties or any other celebrations.

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