A seasonal dish that's offal-y good for Burns Night

It's Burns Night and that most distinctive of Scottish delicacies, the haggis, makes what for many is its sole annual appearance. This is a shame because, as with many of our regional offal dishes, it should be eaten far more often.

Thursday, 25th January 2018, 11:45 am
Updated Thursday, 25th January 2018, 12:17 pm

For those of us ‘south of the border,’ the haggis has an almost mythical quality. I once convinced my godson that the haggis was some rare and shy creature, with a hairy coat, strange habits and looking somewhat akin to a miniature Cousin It from the Addams Family. They were crafty things, only to be caught by the most elaborate of canny contraptions.

He believed it all. Though strangely, when I told him the truth, how a haggis is made from the insides of a sheep stuffed into other insides of a sheep, he didn’t believe a word of it. The true haggis is offal hardcore: heart, lungs, liver, kidney stuffed into the stomach with oats and seasonings.

This version is, for the purest, a slightly sanitised version, but full of the distinctive savoury flavour. Any good butcher will keep you lambs lungs if you order them in advance . Just add them to the pan with the other offal at the start. And cling film is a less visceral alternative to a stomach.

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You can serve your haggis straight from the pan once poached. Alternatively, you can allow it to cool and then slice it and fry in rounds. I prefer this method as it creates a crispy surface.

Enjoy…and do keep an eye out for those wild haggis.

Countryphile James Waller-Davies shares traditional county recipes: Haggis


1 lambs heart, 150g lambs liver, 2 lambs kidneys, 250g lamb/beef trimmings, 75g suet, 100g porridge oats, 1 tsp nutmeg, 1 tsp ground coriander seed, 1 tsp sage.


Place the heart, liver and kidneys and a lamb stock cube in a pan and cover with 1.5L water.

Bring to the boil and simmer for 1 hour. Then remove and allow to cool. Keep the liquor.

Mince, or finely chop, the cooled offal and the meat trimmings and place in a mixing bowl with all the other ingredients. Season well with salt and pepper.

Add two ladles of the poaching liquor and mix well. Allow to soak and cool for 2 hours.

Divide into 4 portions and roll each in cling-film to make a tight ‘Christmas cracker’ shape. Prick each a few times with a needle and poach gently in boiling water for 1 hour. Serve with ‘neeps and tatties’ and a gravy made from the remaining liquor.