January 25th is Robert Burns Birthday. I always suggest that a good way to study and learn about people and cultures is through their foods. A food that is most usually associated with Robert Burns is The Haggis. This is because of his Ode to the Haggis, Ode to a Haggis written in 1786.
Haggis has over the centuries been badly abused and sometimes deservedly, sometimes undeservedly, developed a rather bad reputation. It has received a lot of bad P.R. and has been greatly abused and the brunt of many a rude joke. In actuality a haggis is rather like a cross between meatloaf and pate. And you can make it with most anything you like. Traditionally it is made up in all or part with variety meats, that is liver, tongue, kidneys, heart etc. but it doesn’t have to be. A good haggis should contain at least some variety meats. And the filler? Oatmeal of course. We are talking about Scotland after all.
Part of the reason for a haggis’s bad rep is the fact that it is traditionally cooked inside a sheep’s stomach. Many people find this off putting, yet the eat sausages which are traditionally cooked in a sheep or pigs intestine. Now, knowing that many Americans think they have been poisoned it they eat liver, or any other organ meat, the recipe listed below contains only a bit of liver. I’m not including any of the other organ meats because they can be difficult to find unless you live in a community with a large Hispanic, Asian or other ethnic population.