Friday, January 25, 2008

Robert Burns Day

Today is the birthday of Robbie Burns, Scotland's national poet. Now, being partly of Scottish descent, I thought about celebrating it in a culinary way. How do the Scots do it? Why they make haggis, their much-beloved national dish! And what, you may inquire, is haggis, exactly?

Epicurious.com did not have a recipe for haggis, but Foodnetwork.com did. Here is the list of ingredients:
1 sheep stomach
1 sheep liver
1 sheep heart
1 sheep tongue
1/2 pound suet, minced
3 medium onions, minced
1/2 pound dry oats, toasted
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon dried ground herbs

In case you're so inclined, you can find the rest of the recipe here. The recipe ends with the advice, "Serve with mashed potatoes, if you serve it at all."

Okay, then! Let's not do it and say we did. How about, instead, the first two stanzas of his poem, "Address to a Haggis" (in English translation):

A blessing on your honest, hearty face,
Great chieftain of the sausage race!
Above them all you take your place,
Stomach, tripe, or chitlins,
Well are you worthy of a grace
As long as my arm.

The groaning trencher there you fill,
Your buttocks like a distant hill,
Your skewer would help to mend a mill
If time of need,
While through your pores the flavors distill
Like amber bead.

You'll find more about haggis and the rest of the poem here. You've got to admit, Burns had a sense of humor. Well, all the Scots, if you think about their apparent adoration of that recipe.

6 comments:

PJ Hoover said...

So tempting. My mouth is watering!

Sara Latta said...

Yeah, right, I bet it is. You tell lies for a living, too.

Sminthia said...

So it has four complete sheep organs plus a half a pound of minced fat...and only a teaspoon of herbs?

The salt and pepper and a couple of onions might help, but not much. (Isn't salt supposed to BRING OUT the flavor of a dish? I don't think I would want this flavor brought out. Covered up, maybe.)

I'm thinking it needs a little more in the flavor department: maybe some Tabasco. Like a gallon of it. Oh, I forgot, it does have the oats to give it flavor.

This is why the Scots invented Scotch.

Sara Latta said...

Oh, sminthia, you are so, so on target with the Scotch. I think the recipe should call for drinking plentious amounts of Scotch BEFORE eating haggis for maximum enjoyment. And some thereafter to aid digestion.

Barrie said...

I think I'll have a Scottish shortbread cookie instead!

finne017 said...

As Joe used to say, (quoting some movie line, I'm sure) "If it's not scottish, it's crap!"