Today’s entry is all about the Scottish favorite offal dish – the haggis, in celebration of Robbie Burns Day.
Much maligned for it’s taste and ingredients, haggis is a mixture of minced sheep’s heart, liver and lungs, onions, suet, oatmeal, and spices, which is then stuffed into a sheep’s stomach and boiled in water.
My first exposure to haggis was at the annual Heritage Days festival (now called the Heritage Festival). I was intrigued to see that the Scottish pavilion was selling haggis on a bun, and was determined to try it – partly out of curiosity and partly as a dare. It was probably not the best haggis ever, but it was decent enough that I became hooked on it. The next year, I had two orders of haggis on a bun, and was tempted to eat more. I probably could have gone to some butchers to look for my own haggis that I could cook at home, but I’m the only one in the family who actually likes it and there’s no way I could finish one on my own. Unfortunately the local Scottish association doesn’t have a pavilion at the festival anymore. There went my haggis fix.
In the fall of 2007, I took my first (and so far only) trip to the U.K. I spent most of the trip in England, but a friend of mine was living in Edinburgh at the time and I took a few days to visit. And when in Scotland, you definitely have to try the haggis. I actually ate a couple of different versions during my visit.