Sunday, 3 August 2014

Star O' Rabbie Burns Haggis, Tatties and Neeps

Star moulded haggis, tatties and neeps with garden peas

No one knows for sure how or when haggis came to Scotland. I must have read at least half a dozen theories over the years, ranging from it being introduced by everyone from the Vikings, to the Normans, to the pudding makers in the North-West of England. What is generally accepted as fact, however, is that it was widely popularised in Scotland by just one man with a passionate love for the dish - Robert ("Rabbie" or "Robbie") Burns.

There is a wonderful song written about Burns rather than by him called, "The Star O' Rabbie Burns," the tune at least of which will be familiar to a great many people. It was this song which inspired this serving suggestion for haggis, tatties and neeps. 

Haggis, tatties and neeps

Ingredients (Serves Three or Four People)

1 small half pound (225g) haggis
4 medium floury/starchy potatoes, peeled and cut in to chunks
1/2 medium Swede turnip (rutabaga) peeled and cut in to chunks
Frozen peas as required
White pepper
Black pepper and malt vinegar

Neeps (Swede turnip/rutabaga) ready for boiling


Haggis can be cooked in a number of different ways. The simple rule is to follow the manufacturer's instructions. In this instance, the haggis had to be cooked in the oven for the best part of an hour, wrapped in foil in a casserole dish with a little water, so getting that on was clearly my first step.

Neeps are drained and allowed to briefly steam

The potatoes were added to one pot of salted cold water and the Swede turnip to a second. Both were brought to a simmer for around twenty minutes until their respective contents were just softened. They were then drained and left to steam off and dry out for five minutes.

Frozen peas are added to boiling water

The frozen peas should be added to a large pot of boiling water and simmered for three minutes before being drained.

Mashing tatties with butter and white pepper

The potatoes and Swede should each have a little bit of butter and white pepper added to them before being mashed with a hand masher.

Spooning haggis carefully in to star mould

This little star mould is a great little tool. It really is amazing how many uses you can find for it in the kitchen to really help perk up food presentation. It's comfort-grip by the red part on top and whatever you are choosing to mould is simply spooned in with a teaspoon. They are fairly cheap and can be picked up on Amazon if you can't find them locally.

Start with the haggis and pack the mould full. The plastic material means the haggis won't stick, so gently push down with the back of the spoon and lift the mould clear.

Haggis is packed in to star mould

The potato is next, following exactly the same procedure as with the haggis.

Tatties are packed in to star mould

Finally, the Swede turnip is moulded on to the plate in exactly the same way.

Neeps are packed in to star mould

The fact that you have used the mould means there will be slight gaps between your stars. Carefully push them together with a wide bladed knife until they are touching at one point of their stars as shown below. The peas can then be seasoned with black pepper and malt vinegar (or seasonings of choice) and carefully spooned around the stars for service.

Haggis, tattie and neep stars

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