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Ultimate Haggis

ULTIMATE HAGGIS is Burns’ Night special from Phantom Power Films that features Chef David Taylor as he creates a truly authentic haggis, a dish that symbolises much about Scotland’s lost food culture.

Chef David Taylor considers that great chieftain of the pudding race:

Haggis – it’s not just for Burns night We choose to celebrate The Bard once a year with this tradition as the focal point, the world looks on as our amber beads glisten but sadly it’s also the dish that is testament to how much we’ve since forgotten. A culture of food that was once a staple across Scotland has since been lost. The Haggis itself is very popular all year round today, a tantalising hint into our conscience of what exactly food was then. We preserved, we enjoyed the cheaper cuts of meat and turned them into something delicious & special. That skill is rare now. Most of a slaughtered animal is wasted. Discarded like the tartan napkins that will sit on our laps as we dine, or at best used to feed the beasts we think of as lesser.

We have the world’s greatest seafood, from shellfish to salmon yet send 95% of it away to other countries and our vegetables are held to ridicule by the supermarket criteria that demands only a 180 degree carrot or a smooth Apple is fit for our shelves. The rest squandered to our shame. Taste is key for me, not if a parsnip is straight enough. A bigger worry starting now, with some butchers, is to no longer butcher, but to buy in pre-made cuts of meat from “meat packing factories” to keep costs down. Why? Because we have lost our way a little.

It’s time now in this austerity driven world that we taught ourselves again how to make the best of what we have and can afford. Haggis is the great lighthouse in that vision, it’s using the most undesirable, unfashionable parts of an animal and making something which is delectable, appetising and delightful and I intend to show you how to make the best from as little as possible!

So come join me and lets rediscover our food & savour our ability in the kitchen! @dtaylor5633


1 sheep’s pluck (the liver, heart and lungs)
1 Ox bung
390g of dried beef suet, grated or chopped finely
240g of pinhead oatmeal
2 onions, finely chopped
250ml of rich beef stock
1 tsp salt
1 tsp of pepper
1 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp of mace
1 tsp cayenne pepper (optional but gives a good kick)

Most Ox Bungs will require cleaning before use. To do this just simply wash under a luke warm tap then place in a bowl of cold water for a few hours or even overnight. Place the pluck into a pot of cold water (if the windpipe is still attached hang it over the edge of the pot into a smaller pot, this allows impurities to flow out). Bring to boil then turn heat down to low and simmer for 1-2hrs with the lid on. Whilst the pluck is cooking, measure out your quantities for the oatmeal, suet and put beef stock on to heat gently. Chop your onions and add to a large mixing bowl with the oatmeal and suet. After the pluck is cooked remove from the pot and allow to cool. Then remove the liver using a sharp knife, carefully take out the large arteries and discard. Chop it into chunks (if you aren’t going to mince then chop as fine as possible). Remove heart from the pluck, trim off the fat from around it and chop. Remove the lungs, then take the arteries out from them and discard. Chop into chunks or finer if you don’t intend to mince. Mix your chunks of chopped meat, then place into mincer and mince into a fine grain. Once you have minced the meat add it to your large bowl with the other ingredients. Add your spices and seasoning and mix thoroughly. Slowly add your beef stock whilst mixing. Now start stuffing your Haggis mix into the Ox Bung. Ensure that once all your Haggis mix is stuffed, that you squeeze out the remaining air and tie the open end tightly to close. Cut and discard any leftover Ox Bung. Place into Pot, cover with water and bring to boil. Once boiling turn the heat down to a slow simmer. Checking your Haggis to ensure it wont burst. If it appears it might, pierce a small hole in the top. After 2.5 – 3hrs your haggis will be done. Serve with mashed tatties and mashed neeps.

Comments (11)

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  1. Nana says:

    Loved this video and brought back many happy memories of watching and trying to help my mum make black & white puddings. Looking back I was probably more of a hindrance.
    Definitely going to make this so thanks for the recipe!

  2. Ian says:

    I love haggis, but telling me how to make my own is definitely too much information. Can I just buy one from MacSweens and pretend it’s made from delicious and appetising things?

    I know it’s basically a cow’s arse with the bits of a sheep nobody wants stuffed into it; but I don’t want to think about it.

  3. Phantom Power says:

    Big thanks to Taylor who put a load of research into the mysterious haggis to get it right – he’s got a great, no nonsense approach that’s all about the food. I’d go out on a limb and say this is up there as one of the best guides on how it’s done. Personally, I’m not a massive carnivore but there’s important points about here about Scotland’s disfunctional relationship with the food it produces and food culture here. The experience of shooting it, the juices and aroma, was quite something – a bit like a birth. I can’t wait to make one for myself.

  4. kailyard rules says:

    Magic. And Ian IT IS made from delicious and appetising ingredients. Too long has the Great Chieftain o’ the puddin race been verbally abused thro’ lack of understanding.
    Noo, wher’s ma muckle spoon?

  5. MVH says:

    Veggie haggis is the best thing since sliced bread. And most meat eaters are none the wiser. All that suet and offal. Yuck.

    1. Phantom Power says:

      I enjoy veggie haggis too but any move to vegetarian for the vast majority is unlikely. While most still eat meat it’s worth considering how we discard the vast majority of an animal for the fraction of sanitised/processed cuts over the less familiar. Organ meat is vastly more lean and nutritional than muscle meats e.g. liver’s status as superfood. Natural animal fats are way healthier for us than trans-fats. And whatever your diet, making your own food and enjoying it socially is always the best way. This is the politics of the haggis and the point Taylor was making.

      1. MVH says:

        Fair comment. The recipe looks fantastic unfortunately I am just a bit squeamish about innards. Heard too many horror stories about what goes in the haggis. Scarred for life 🙂

  6. SimonB says:

    I’d second the call for the veggie option!

    Giving up meat is little hardship when veggie haggis is soooo delish and it’s even vegan too!

    OK meat might be tasty if you’ve been brought up eating animals but I’d rather live and let live, and the health and environmental benefits giving up meat are seemingly significant.

    For those meat eaters not offended who are curious to know, the film Cowspiracy, with a tag line “may be the most important film made to inspire saving the planet” is a revelation!:

  7. Phantom Power says:

    Good post. Seems respecting what we have to eat but don’t want and may not have but need goes right back to Burns.

  8. David MacGille-Mhuire says:

    Veggies: A heads-up, please:

    Some of us have a serious allergic problem with a veggie only diet as well as with peanuts and tofu and shiny white Japanese rice shorn of any nutritional value (see Berri Berri and thyroid issues, to name but two unless ones dietary intake is sensibly balanced across the various food groups. Personally, am also lactose intolerant, too, in addition to vomiting and feeling ill if I accidentally consume tofu products. Natto, ditto, although the raw bean or toasted versions are delicious to me as per the Buddhist temple culinary arts with some shots of sake as enshrined in traditional temple cuisine combos).

    Diet, culture, geography, history – a fascinating combination as my auld schoolmaster, Mr Burke, used to expound; so thank you for this offering:)

  9. Blether says:

    It’s always good to read about making great food from simple ingredients. I’m no food historian, but fear that, just as the tartan (/Scottish wool) industry is something of an artificial phenomenon kicked-off with George IV’s visit to Edinburgh, the “haggis is our national dish” phenomenon is – ironically – another celebration of the sheep that displaced the people from the 18th century onwards.

    That doesn’t reduce my love of haggis as a dish, or prevent me joining in the national celebration of it. I just wonder about the truth behind the myths.

    I gave up reading The Guardian in the wake of its indyref coverage, but a few years back Tim Hayward did a good job of similarly scratch-cooking haggis, complete with photos (“step-by-step photos”, half way down this page) http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/wordofmouth/2009/jan/23/haggis-recipe-burns-night

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