Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Haggis, Neeps and Tatties by Tom

Haggis and Neeps and Tatties by Tom

So this is the foods of England month.  Technically haggis is not an English food.  It is Scottish.  And Scotland is not part of England, but is a part of the United Kingdom.  Scotland even made an attempt at seceding from England last year in a failed referendum.  But I just spent a week playing golf in Scotland with seven other guys, and we saw haggis on the menu everywhere we went.  So that is what I am writing about in this post even if it is not technically an English food.

The weirdest, yet surprisingly good menu item I experienced, was haggis nachos.  Talk about crossing ethnic foods lines!  Fortunately a more traditional Scottish haggis dish was also on virtually every menu we saw:  haggis with neeps and tatties.  Neeps are turnips, and tatties are potatoes.  Haggis is mostly sheep lobes, and that is about all you want to know about haggis.  This is not a dish I would eat everyday, but it was pretty good for local fare. 
Our Scottish van driver, Billie, was disgusted when he saw the haggis nachos.  He said the best haggis is made by Grant's.  And a day or two later, he presented each of us with a can of Grant's Premium Haggis.  Not to be rude, we each took our can and "smuggled" them back into the States in our golf bags.  In truth, even the Customs inspectors were uninterested in our canned haggis.

As a "treat" for Barbara, I made her this very traditional Scottish meal.  It was actually pretty good, and we both finished our portions.  The savory beef gravy certainly did not detract from the taste.  A hint of sliced leeks in the tatties also added to the flavor.  And a wee dram is always good.

    ---Tom
Haggis, Neeps and Tatties
(from the van driver Billie, and on menus throughout southwest Scotland)

Serves 2

can of haggis
leeks - about 1" of white part, cleaned and very finely chopped
potatoes - about 1 pound, cut into 1" pieces
turnips - about 1 pound, cut into 1" pieces
gravy - I used a jar of savory gravy...much easier to use
salt and pepper
4 ounces butter
Wee dram of single malt Scotch

Boil the turnips in salted water for about 20-25 minutes.  Do the same for the potatoes.  Add the leeks to the potatoes as well.
In a small sauce pan gently heat the haggis.  Just before serving, add the wee dram of single malt Scotch to the haggis and stir in.  If you would like, you can pour another wee dram for yourself.
Split the butter in half and add to both the turnips and the potatoes.  Thoroughly mash both the turnips and the potatoes in their cooking pans.
Heat some of the savory beef gravy so that it is warm.  Put a small amount on each plate.
Then mound over the gravy, first the haggis, then the turnips(neeps), and finally the potatoes(tatties).
Pour a little more gravy over the top.

Now you have an authentic Scottish meal.

---Tom

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