Many people are put off by haggis, the traditional ethnic food that many Scots consider to be the national dish of Scotland. You should not be: haggis is surprisingly tasty. And since it's National Soul Food Month, what better way is there to start than with the Scottish soul food extraordinaire: haggis.
What is haggis? Haggis is a well cleaned and emptied sheep stomach stuffed with oatmeal, onion, spices and various sheep bits-- what butchers and high end gourmet chefs refer to as "specialty meats." Think of haggis as type of sausage, which it is. Haggis is simmered in stock, and the delicious mixture is scooped out of its casing when serving.
Traditional accompaniments to haggis are "neeps and tatties"-- boiled and mashed rutabaga or swede (yellow turnips) and mashed potatoes. Every time I have had it, it was served with a tasty whisky sauce instead of gravy, although whisky sauce is optional and haggis can be served with a variety of side dishes.
These days, you can buy haggis premade and vacuum packed, and commercial casings are usually used in place of the traditional sheep stomach. You can even buy vegetarian haggis!
Over the centuries, haggis has been immortalized in fiction, movies, music and song. There are Scottish Haggis Hurling events, a haggis tossing entry in the Guinness Book of World Records. Celtic bands such as Enter the Haggis and Bad Haggis are proud to take their name from the humble Scottish dish.
Haggis has been immortalized in poetry, too: Robert Burns famous 1787 poem, Address to a Haggis, is read on Burns Night celebrations all over the world by homesick Scots on the great man's birthday, January 25. By the way: If you are ever invited to a Burns Night Supper, you should definitely accept.
Residents of the Dallas Metroplex do not have to wait for Robert Burns birthday to taste the glory that is haggis: The Texas Scottish Festival & Highland Games is being held this weekend, June 4 – 6, 2010. Read my Texas Scottish Festival article for more information.
Below, you will find a short and very amusing YouTube video, The Haggis Song. It is followed by another short and hilarious instructional video: Cooking with Dave: Haggis.
Buy it local! Where to buy Haggis in the Dallas Metroplex.
Not everybody has the stomach to make their own haggis. Luckily, haggis lovers can buy a variety of authentic haggis lovingly prepared and ready to cook. Caledonian Kitchen is the premier supplier of Scottish foods in America-- and it's based right here in the Dallas Metroplex, in Lewisville, Texas. Caledonian Kitchen is also a sponsor of the Texas Scottish Festival & Highland Games being held on the UTA campus this weekend.
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