It will be Burns night soon – a night marked to celebrate the acclaimed Scottish poet, Robert Burns (who wrote a poem about haggis). Although I can claim no link to Scottish ancestry, the shops have started selling the delicious vegetarian haggis and I’ve been making a point of buying some the last couple of years. True haggis is made of sheep’s offal mixed with oats and some spices and is difficult to eat alone as it is so rich. Vegetarian haggis replaces the offal with beans and has a lovely mellow-spiced flavour. Haggis is traditionally served with swede (neeps) and tatties (potatoes).
I chose to serve this with a whisky sauce that I found on Delia Smith’s website. Not being a seasoned whisky drinker, I wasn’t quite sure of which one to choose. A few years ago, we visited Edinburgh and visited a local restaurant that had a whisky list for tourists so I consulted this and chose the Dalwhinnie. In the purposes of research, (which obviously doesn’t count against my dry January) I had a wee dram of this whisky and recommend it as a nice starter-whisky for beginners.
- 3 large potatoes
- 1 swede
- salt and pepper
- 1 vegetarian haggis (I used Simon Lowe)
- 25g butter
- 300g onions
- 1 tbsp flour
- 100ml whisky
- 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce (you can get a vegetarian version of this otherwise there’s tons of substitutions e.g. soy sauce)
- 1 tbsp English mustard
- 350ml vegetable stock
1.) Peel and chop the potatoes into cubes. Put into a pan of cold water – don’t put onto boil yet! Using cold water stops the potatoes from browning.
2.) Turn the oven on to 200 degrees C and line a roasting tin.
3.) Peel the swede and chop into cubes. Put in the roasting tray and drizzle over oil. Chop up the rosemary and sprinkle over. Put them into the oven and roast for around 40 minutes or until soft.
4.) Peel and chop the onions. Melt the butter in pan on a low heat and add the onions. Cook them on a low heat until caramelised (this should take about 40 minutes). If you make this onion soup the day before, you could just skim off a few of the onions.
5.) In the meanwhile, put the kettle on to boil, wrap the haggis in foil and put on to boil. The water level should be above the haggis. It takes around 45 minutes.
6.) After about 15 minutes, turn the pan on with the potatoes.
7.) Once the onions are caramelised, add the flour and 75ml of the whisky.
8.) Whilst cooking, make up the stock with 1 cube of veggie stock. Pour this in and stir in the mustard and Worcestershire sauce.
9.) Simmer for 20 minutes.
10.) Once the potatoes are done, drain and purée them and plate them up.
11.) Put the swedes in the potato pan and purée them too and plate up.
12.) Remove the haggis from the water and the foil and set aside until it’s cooler to be able to handle it.
13.) Purée the onions in the sauce (you can see I didn’t do this but as an after thought I thought I may has well have done with the blender being out already).
14.) Add the remaining 25ml of whisky to the sauce and season. The whisky will taste very strong in the sauce but is delicious when served with the rest of the dish.
15.) Cut open the casing on the haggis and divide it between the plates.
16.) Pour over the sauce and serve.