Burns Night is approaching, and I don’t know why, but I always feel compelled to find something new to do with haggis in preparation for the day. Alas, I’m not Scottish, but one doesn’t need to be to appreciate that haggis and scotch together are one of life’s great taste experiences. It’s a shame haggis has such an undeservedly poor reputation – if you can eat a sausage, you can eat haggis. In fact, I have far more faith in the one which is forthcoming about its ingredients. Not to mention all the oats provide some well-needed ruffage.
If you’ve not tasted haggis, it’s best described as being somewhere between minced lamb and a sausage with a slight spicy flavour – very peppery. In years gone by I’ve used it as a filling for pastries or alternative casing for scotch eggs (quite appropriate, I may add), and a few years ago my mother-in-law used it as a very welcome addition in her famous boxing day brunch. For this recipe, the beef mince and egg ensure the meatball structure is maintained, but don’t fret – the haggis flavour very much reigns supreme. I chose beef over the more thematically suitable lamb for this exact reason – lamb mince has a stronger flavour, and I didn’t want the star attraction to be overshadowed.
As for the sauce, it’s a sort of loving homage to the creamy gravy served with Swedish meatballs, however given a slight kick with the use of Glenfiddich (or any other Scotch Whisky, mind you.)
Ingredients – makes around 22 golf ball sized meatballs
- 450g Haggis
- 500g Beef Mince
- 2 eggs
- 150ml milk
- 3 tbsp oil
- 1 knob butter
- 1-2 tbsp plain flour
- 50ml Glenfiddich Scotch Whisky
- 300ml lamb stock
- Remove any metal from the casing and heat the haggis in the microwave for about 90 seconds, just to loosen it up. Break apart with a fork so it’s crumbly.
- Either in a bowl with your hands or in a food processor (which I think is preferable here for a homogenous texture) combine the haggis, beef, eggs and 50ml milk.
- Form the mixture into roughly golf ball sized pieces, though you can scale up and down to your liking. Heat the oil in a large saucepan over hight heat, and when shimmering add the meatballs, being careful not to overcrowd the pan. Turn as each side crisps up – you’re not trying to cook them all the way through at this stage, just get a nice crust.
- Remove the meatballs to a plate and when all are cooked, turn down the heat and add the butter to the pan. Once melted, whisk in the flour and cook for a minute or two, until turning golden brown. Turn up the heat and whisk in the remaining milk, lamb stock, and whisky, and continuing stirring until it comes to a simmer, at which point it should start to thicken. Continue to cook, until it’s almost as thick as you’d like. Add the meatballs and toss to cover with the sauce, then cover with a lid and simmer for another 10-15 minutes before serving.