Haggis is a traditional Scottish dish, served on Burns’ Night, 25th January, to celebrate the poet Robert Burns’ birthday. Now, as a vegan you really don’t want to know what a traditional haggis is made of, and I know a lot of omnivores who aren’t too keen either.
So here is a truly sublime alternative: plant-based and cruelty free, and even though I say it myself … it really is good.
A Burns’ Night Supper is a cause for serious celebration, and I think this recipe definitely lives up to that.
So, if you’re Scottish, or would like to give a Scottish friend of yours a real vegan treat …. or if you would simply like to try a new and interesting recipe that results in a comforting winter-warming special, then look no further.
This is a dish, despite it’s celebratory nature, that uses modest and simple ingredients. My favourite kind of recipe. I hope I’ve developed a recipe here that has the spirit of everything Scottish. Herbs that survive cold weather, lots of salt and pepper, oatmeal, and onions. It can be made in advance, and kept chilled for 24 hours. I’ve also used a traditional steaming method, which may seem a bit daunting, but really isn’t! (Although I’ve also included a method for baking if you don’t want to steam the haggis 🙂 ) .
Hope you enjoy!
P.S. A blog for ‘all the trimmings’ : ‘Neeps, Tatties and Whisky Sauce is coming very soon!
VEGAN MUSHROOM HAGGIS
Cook’s note: you will need a 1 litre traditional deep pudding bowl with a rim, to steam the haggis.
- 2 large onions approx: 350 gms.
- 350 gms. chestnut mushrooms
- 150 gms. medium oatmeal (or pinhead oatmeal)
- 100 gms. vegetable suet
- Cook’s note: if you don’t have vegetable suet:
- Take 60 gms. of chilled vegetable shortening and 40 gms. of a strong flour. Put the flour in a bowl and chop the chilled shortening into cubes and add it to the flour. Then ‘rub’ the shortening into the flour until it forms coarse crumbs. Keep the crumbs chilled until ready to add to the recipe instead of the suet.
- 20 gms. fresh parsley
- 10 gms. mixed herbs : rosemary, thyme and sage
- 2 tsps. salt
- 1 tbs. black peppercorns (lots of pepper!)
- 2 tbs. cider vinegar
- 50 ml. cold water
- 4 tbs. hot oil such as rapeseed oil.
- Peel and dice onions fairly finely.
- Chop mushrooms fairly small (see pics.)
- Toast oatmeal in a dry skillet for 3 -4 mins. until golden and fragrant.
- Finely chop fresh parsley.
- Grind dried herbs until fine.
- Grind black peppercorns together with the salt until medium fine.
- In a deep-sided pan, on a high heat, add 2 tbs. rapeseed oil.
- When hot, add the diced onions and sauté for 7-8 mins.
- Add 2 more tbs. oil and then add the diced mushrooms. Sauté for 5 mins.
- Stir regularly to avoid burning. Reduce heat slightly if necessary.
- Remove from heat.
- Add the toasted oatmeal, the chopped herbs, the dried herbs, and the salt and pepper.
- Add the vegetable suet/or vegetable shortening and flour crumbs.
- Stir thoroughly to combine.
- Add 2 tbs. cider vinegar and 50 ml. of cold water.
- Lightly grease the 1 litre pudding bowl and transfer the mushroom mixture into the bowl.
- Pat it down gently to compress the mixture and to remove any air pockets.
- Scatter a little more coarse ground black pepper across the surface.
Cook’s note: if you don’t want to steam the haggis, add an extra 25 ml. of water to the mix, and then transfer the mushroom mixture to a greased ceramic baking dish approx. 20 cm x 10 cm x 7cm. and cover tightly with foil. Keep chilled until ready to cook (up to 24 hours). Bake in the oven on a medium heat ( Gas Mk. 5 / 190C) for 90 mins. or so. Check it after an hour to make sure it doesn’t dry out. Reduce heat if necessary. Remove the foil for the last 15 mins. of baking.
Prepare for steaming: (see pics.)
- Take a piece of silver foil and a piece of greaseproof paper approximately 35cm square.
- Place the greaseproof paper on top of the silver foil, and then lightly grease the paper with oil.
- Make a fold in the centre of the square, both in the silver foil and the paper, about 3 cm. wide. Like a single pleat.
- Keeping both the foil and the greaseproof paper together turn it over and place it on top of the pudding bowl so that it is centred. Keep the fold in the middle.
- Gently fold the foil and paper down around the bowl, so it fits tightly.
- Tie a length of strong string tightly around the foil just under the rim of the bowl.
- Trim away excess greaseproof paper and silver foil, leaving about 2 cm. below the string.
- Tuck the silver foil edges tightly up and around the string to create a good seal.
- Finally, take another length of string and tie it loosely to the string wrapped around the rim, and across the central diameter of the bowl, back and forth 2 or 3 times, to create a handle.
- This will help you lift the bowl out of the steaming pan at the end of cooking.
- If you are making the haggis in advance, it is now ready to go into the fridge until you wish to cook it.
Steaming the haggis:
- You now need a deep pan with a tight lid.
- Place an upturned saucer or small plate in the base of the pan.
- Place the bowl of haggis centrally on the saucer, making sure it is stable.
(The lid must still fit securely onto the pan when the bowl of haggis is in place).
- Carefully pour enough water into the pan so that it reaches half way up the haggis bowl.
- Put the lid on, and bring the steamer to the boil, and then reduce the heat so that the water continues to boil steadily.
- Don’t let the temperature drop as there needs to be a constant supply of steam. However, don’t let it boil so rapidly that it all evaporates.
- Steam the haggis for 2.5 – 3 hours.
- If a lot of steam is escaping, you can further seal the lid of the steamer pan with silver foil.
- After an hour, check that the water level has not dropped. If it has, replenish with boiling water from the kettle, so that it again reaches halfway up the side of the pudding bowl.
- Check the water level again after the second hour.
- When the time is up ( a minimum of 2.5 hrs. and up to 3 hrs.), remove the haggis from the steamer. Cut away the string and remove the foil.
Serve immediately and piping hot. (Which is what I did).
OR / Allow to cool, and then turn it out and slice it into thick slices. These slices can be fried for 5 – 8 mins. on each side.
Serve with ‘Neeps and Tatties’ and Whisky Sauce!
click the image for a link to recipes for Neeps, Tatties and Whisky Sauce!
Happy Burns’ Night