I know, I know…. what the heck is Haggis and why is awful spelled offal? You hardcore foodies know the answers to those questions but most probably, do not. Haggis is a Scottish preparation in which they stuff a sheep’s stomach with a sausage made from the animal’s offal, (the innards and organs) oatmeal, onion, and seasonings.
It is then poached in water or steamed for about 2 hours. I’m guessing that you’re saying “there’s no way I’m eating that!” I would have said that before I went to culinary school, but there you are required to try everything, you don’t have to like it but at least you know what it tastes like, so I still live by that policy.
I can’t describe what haggis tastes like because I’ve never had it, unless tasting it in my head counts. If it does, then I’ve had it a million times…. The Food Police here in the US apparently frowns upon importing anything stuffed in a farm animal’s stomach, therefore unless you know of an authentic Scottish butcher, you’re out of luck…well, sort of.
My grandmother on my Father’s side came to the US from Edinburgh in the early 1900’s and I asked him if she ever made haggis for him growing up. Apparently she did but instead of stuffing it in a sheep’s stomach, she cooked it in a pressure cooker and then canned it which they would then smear on toast in the morning. He actually liked it; he’s also the one that turned me on to blood sausage which is delicious so, I’m going to trust him on this one.
I keep harping on how the internet is a beautiful thing allowing us to acquire food that can’t be found at our local Mega-Mart. You will be happy to know that I ordered 2 cans of the haggis seen in the picture above, 1 to experiment with and the other to keep as a trophy! According to the many reviews on Amazon’s website, this product will get you as close to authentic haggis as you can get without buying a plane ticket. Sure it’s a bit pricey at 14 bucks for a 15 oz. can, but that’s a small price to pay for paying homage to one’s heritage. I expect to have it by this weekend so stay tuned to find out if canned haggis is awful offal…..
Amuse Bouche will take a look at current issues in today’s vast food world through the eyes of a sarcastic, CIA trained Chef. It will also keep readers abreast of current events and what is just arriving at the Canandaigua Farmer’s Market.