A Home-made Haggis for a Burns’ Night Dinner!

The Haggis is a very old, traditional Scottish dish that combines meats, spices and oatmeal.  A traditional recipe for haggis would involve the boiled and minced liver, lungs and heart of a sheep mixed with chopped onions, toasted oatmeal, salt, pepper, and spices.  The mixture would then be stuffed into the cleaned sheep’s stomach, sewn up and then boiled gently for several hours. It is similar to a mixture of both our Irish Black & White Puddings mixed together!

In Ireland as well as here in Wilmington, Delaware, our historic association with Scotland and Scottish traditions has long been enjoyed by partaking in the lightly spiced and peppery flavors of this famous dish. Haggis is traditionally eaten at “Burns Night Dinners” which falls on the 25th January and is the birthday of the famous Scottish poet, Robert Burns.  Many Wilmington’s pubs and clubs hold Burns Night Dinners on the weekend that is closest to the famous poet’s birthday.

The dish is usually served with mashed turnip and potatoes, a whiskey sauce, a few readings of some poetry along with copious amounts of whiskey to toast the Haggis and Burns himself. There are readings such as the “address to the Haggis” followed by the toast, the toasts to Scotland, the queen, the tartans, the lads and of course the lassies response and return toast.  It is a night of bagpipes, good food, good whiskey, and many good friends.

Hosting the same event at home is equally easy with the following home-made haggis.  Pick up a copy of Burn’s poetry and invites your friends over for a night of haggis, poetry and fun.

Here is a contemporary version of an old Haggis recipe where instead of the sheep’s stomach you cook the Haggis in a casserole dish.

18 oz minced lamb
18 oz minced beef
5 oz suet (beef or vegetable)
4 oz of porridge oats
1 ¼ cup of  meat stock (strain this from the boiled meat)
1 cup finely chopped onions
½ tsp grated nutmeg
¼ tsp ground mace
½ tsp of cayenne pepper
¼ tsp ground coriander
butter for greasing
sea salt
ground black pepper


  1. Preheat oven to 320° F.
    2. Cover the lamb & beef mince with water and bring to the boil in a large pot. Cook out for approximately 40 minutes and cool. Keep 300ml stock from this cooked meat.
    4. Give the porridge oats a rough chop and toast them in a hot pan or under a grill, shaking occasionally to make sure they don’t burn.
    5. Mix all the ingredients together with the stock and transfer to a well-greased casserole dish and cover with a layer of tin-foil.
    6. Place in a water bath using a pan large enough to accommodate the dish and add boiled water around it, to come ¾ of the way up the dish. Check this from time to time and top up the water level. Cook for about 2½ hours and serve immediately. I like to stack mine up for presentation.

For the Whiskey sauce:
2 cups cream
2 tsp wholegrain mustard
1 tbls Dijon mustard
2 tsp Irish whiskey
sea salt
ground white pepper
3 tbls chopped scallions

To make the whiskey sauce, heat the cream in a pan over a medium heat. Add the wholegrain mustard, Dijon mustard, scallions and whiskey and stir with a small whisk. Increase the heat until the mixture is simmering and cooks for 1-2 minutes until it thickens up a little. Remove the pan from the heat and season with salt and ground white pepper.

To serve – spoon out the Haggis, accompanied with mashed turnips and potatoes and drizzle with the whiskey sauce. If you have to heat it up again, do so in a microwave on full power and make sure it is piping hot!

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