Thursday, 5 February 2015

Haggis and Scottish Root Vegetable Stew

A Tasty if Unusual Accompaniment to Haggis

Haggis with Scottish root vegetable stew

Haggis is of course most commonly served simply with tatties (potatoes) and neeps (Swede turnip/rutabaga). The tatties and neeps may be served relatively plain or they may combined to form clapshot, where they are mashed together with chives, butter and white pepper. As experimenting with food in so many different ways is one of my greatest passions in life, I decided on this particular occasion to serve the haggis not only with tatties and neeps but with a few other popular Scottish root vegetables in the form of a hearty vegetable stew.

Individual portion haggis

The quantity of vegetable stew I have prepared here will make for two large portions or up to four medium portions. The amount of haggis you therefore prepare should be adjusted accordingly.

Ingredients (2 Generous Portions)

2 individual haggis servings
1 small Swede turnip/rutabaga
2 medium to large carrots (or equivalent size combination)
8 to 10 baby new potatoes
1 medium leek (stem/white part only)
1 small onion (optional)
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
Salt and black pepper
1 and 1/2 pints fresh vegetable stock
Freshly chopped chives to garnish

Haggis is gently simmered in water wrapped in foil


There are various ways in which it is possible to reheat haggis. I prefer to wrap it in tinfoil and very gently reheat it in simmering water. What I do is removing all external packaging (leaving the innermost packing intact) and wrap it securely in the foil. It is then added to a pot of cold water before being brought to the gentlest of simmers. A small individual haggis like this takes about half an hour to fully reheat.

Selection of Scottish root vegetables

When the haggis is on to start reheating it is time to start preparing the vegetable stew. Begin by washing the potatoes, carrots and leek stem. You will see here that I am using one large carrot and two smaller ones. That's fine, as the two smaller ones are ultimately going to be grated.

Washing vegetables under running water

Peel and chop the turnip in to about one inch chunks. Do not peel the potatoes, simply cut each of them in half.

Chopped Swede turnip and potatoes

The largest carrot should be topped and tailed before being cut in to chunks. Slice the leek stem in to discs and peel and finely slice the onion.

Chopped carrot, onion and leek

Put all the vegetables in to a large pot. Season with the thyme, salt and pepper.

Prepared root vegetables added to pot and seasoned

Pour the vegetable stock in to the pot and put on a high heat just until the stock starts to simmer. Stir well and continue to simmer gently for about twenty minutes.

Fresh vegetable stock added to chopped vegetables

When the vegetable stew has been simmering for about ten minutes, top and tail the remaining carrot(s). Grate them coarsely straight in to the pot and stir well.

Carrots ready for grating in to stew

Continue to simmer for the remaining ten minutes or until the potato and turnip pieces are just softened.

Carrot grated in to vegetable stew

The heat can be turned off under the vegetable stew while you attend to the haggis.

Vegetable stew is gently simmered

It's best to use either a large slotted spoon or a deep frying spider to lift the haggis from the water to a deep plate. Very carefully - using oven gloves if need be - unwrap the foil from around the haggis.

Reheated haggis is carefully unwrapped

Use a sharp knife to cut the haggis open along its entire length. Be careful of potential splashes of hot juices as you first cut in to it.

Reheated haggis is cut open

Spoon the haggis on to one half of appropriate serving plates.

Haggis is plated

Use a slotted spoon to plate the vegetable stew alongside the haggis and garnish with the freshly chopped chives.

Vegetable stew is plated alongside haggis

If you wish, you could serve this dish with a Scottish ale. I saw this Burns Ale in a local supermarket and decided it would be perfect for the purpose. Unfortunately, it was pretty unpalatable and half of it went down the sink, so it's probably best to choose a beer with which you are already familiar and you know you are going to enjoy.

Burns Ale was served with haggis and root vegetable stew

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