Haggis is as synonymous with Scotland as Braveheart and Irn Bru, but is it truly Scottish? The auld alliance may be the key to that question. The French court would serve a similar dish of innards and gizzards inside a stomach lining, in fact nearly every European country from the Romanian tuba to the Spanish pig fest have all used bits and pieces and the stomach as a vessel.
So why did someone decide to boil up sheep guts, mince it and mix it with oatmeal and thyme? Out of necessity, I suppose. As long as there has been cooks, they have challenged culinary boundaries. The ingredients include the lamb pluck (the heart lungs and liver), oatmeal, thyme and onions. These ingredients were most readily available in Scotland and an obvious choice.
As time passed, spices were added to th mix, such as ginger, pimento, nutmeg and of course black pepper which gives haggis it’s heat. There are countless wonderful recipes to produce our Scottish icon that we call Haggis. At the Knockderry, we prepare our haggis weekly using the pluck of Cairngorm mountain lamb, pinhead oatmeal from Alford and thyme from the hotel’s garden.
Haggis is especially significant at this time of year as January 25th draws upon us. Robert Burns immortalised the chieftain of the pudding race in his fantastic poem ‘Address to a Haggis’ which is recited at Burns Suppers around the end of January all over the world.