“There’s nae leftovers when ah make haggis,” a proud Borders butcher told me, writes Sandy Neil.
But if there are, haggis is delicious refried for breakfast with eggs and bacon: decant it from its container, spread it in a wide frying pan, toss it over the heat and let a little crisp on the base.
Another ingredient to consider serving with haggis is apple: “Apple combines very well with haggis,” writes Carol Wilson in Essential Scottish Cookery, “as its tart and sweet taste cuts through the richness.”
I’m also proud to say my mother introduced the haggis samosa to the Borders.
“It is my contention that venison haggis is the original Scots haggis, since deer were in Scotland long before sheep,” writes Nichola Fletcher in Ultimate Venison Cookery. She quotes F Marian McNeill’s recipe for deer haggis, relayed from the kitchen of a Highland chief:
500g (1lb+) venison heart; 500g (1lb+) venison liver; 225g (8oz) venison suet, minced; 225g (8oz) coarse or pinhead oatmeal; 3 onions, finely chopped; salt and black pepper; 450g (1lb) suet crust.
Boil the heart and liver for half an hour. When cold, mince them very fine. To these add the suet, the coarse oatmeal, previously toasted in the oven or before the fire, the finely chopped onions, a tablespoon of salt, and a strong seasoning of black pepper. Mix all well together. Put into a pudding basin, cover with the suet crust as for a steak pudding, and simmer for four hours. Serve in the basin, very hot.
“A Border dish popular in Dumfries in olden days,” writes Elizabeth Craig in The Scottish Cookery Book, “more like a porridge than haggis.”
1 panful of young nettle tops; 1 pt boiling water; 2 or 3 rashers of bacon; 3 tbsp medium oatmeal; salt and pepper to taste.
Wash the nettles thoroughly. Drain and place in a saucepan. Add the boiling water. Bring back to the boil. Boil rapidly, with pan uncovered, for about 10 minutes until very tender, then strain, reserving some of the water. Chop as you would spinach. Fry the rashers of bacon. Pour the fat from bacon over the nettles, returned to saucepan. Pour half a pint of the nettle water into another pan. Bring to the boil, then sprinkle in the oatmeal, taking care not to allow the water to go off the boil, and stirring constantly. Season with salt and pepper. Stir with a spurtle or theevil until quite thick over low heat, then place over boiling water and cook for about half an hour, stirring occasionally. Stir in the nettles. Re-season if necessary. Chop the bacon, and add last of all.
Clapshot and burnt onions
As a change to the usual bashed neeps and champit tatties for trimmings, “clapshot is traditionally served with haggis,” writes Theodora Fitzgibbon in Traditional Scottish Cookery. Catherine Brown, in Classic Scots Cookery, recommends with it burnt onions and Dijon mustard.
Clapshot: 450g (1lb) floury potato, boiled; 450g (1lb) turnips, boiled; 2tbsp finely chopped chives; sea salt; black pepper; 50g (2oz) butter.
Burnt onions: 2 tbsp olive oil; 1 large Spanish onion, thinly sliced; 1 tbsp granulated sugar.
To make the clapshot, boil the potatoes and turnips separately and let them dry in a colander over the stove. Then mash them together with the butter, stir in the chopped chives, season to taste, put into a hot dish and serve very hot. For the burnt onions, while the potatoes and turnip are cooking, fry and stir the onions in the oil until they are brown and crisp. Sprinkle over sugar and stir until the sugar caramelizes and the onions darken. Serve the burnt onions on top of the clapshot.
“This recipe originated in Kilmarnock,” writes Catherine Brown in Scottish Regional Recipes, “and was a favourite Saturday night high tea. Leftovers also supplied a substantial breakfast, fried with thin rashers of Ayrshire bacon”
350g (12oz) medium oatmeal; 125g (4oz) plain flour; 350g (12oz) suet, finely chopped; 125g (40z) soft brown sugar; 125g (4oz) currants; 125g (4oz) raisins; salt and pepper; water to mix.
Put all the dry ingredients in a bowl and mix with water. Put in a greased pudding bowl, cover, steam for 3-4 hours. Serve in hot slices.
A recipe from Skye’s oldest inn, the Stein Inn in Waternish (est. 1790), recorded by Sue Lawrence in A Cook’s Tour of Scotland.
1 small haggis; 300ml (10fl) dark beer; 8 slices brown bread, buttered; butter; salt and freshly-ground pepper.
Wrap the haggis in foil and roast in a medium oven for about 40 minutes, and once piping hot, open up the haggis and tip into a bowl. Add the beer and season. The mixture should not be too soggy. Leave for a couple of minutes for the oats in the haggis to absorb the beer and firm up. Spread four slices bread with the haggis mixture, then make sandwiches. Place in a toastie machine and cook until golden.
Butcher Lindsay Grieve bakes a haggis bread, which he says is “delicious with butter, or as a supper dish: slice the haggis bread, toast on one side, and cover the other side with thin slices of haggis. Top with grated mature Scottish cheddar cheese, and put back under the grill until bubbling hot.”