Burns Night Supper
I've never eaten haggis before now. When I suggested to Mark that I'd like to have a Burns Night supper, he said: "yeah, that's great, but I'm not bollocksing about with a sheep's stomach on a Monday night". We're very busy this week, so I thought that more than fair. Plus, generations of Scottish suppliers have probably got it down to an art by now.
I picked up a Macsween Traditional Haggis from the supermarket on Friday night after work. Online research suggested it's a pretty solid option, and I liked the fact that you can buy a small 500g haggis "sausage", perfect for two-three people. One day we'd like to make our own, but this year, Macsweens will do. Another disclaimer is that we are eating and writing this before Burns Night, on account of my travelling with work for the next week and a half.
Cheeky of me to decide to go off-piste with the tatties, I know, but I fancied a bit of textural variation. And bacon. Sue me.
Haggis, neeps and tatties for two
500g haggis (we used a Macsween Traditional Haggis - available in most supermarkets)
2 large potatoes - peeled and cut in to 2cm cubes
1 swede - diced
4 slices of quality smoked streaky bacon - diced
A grating of nutmeg
Chopped parsley (optional)
For the whiskey sauce
150ml double cream
A splash of whiskey
Pre-heat your oven to 180 degrees.
Bring a pan of salted water to the boil and cook the diced potatoes for 3-5 minutes until just tender but still firm. Remove from the heat and drain. Set aside for later.
Wrap your haggis in foil and place in an oven-proof vessel with an inch of water in the bottom to allow some steam during cooking. Bake for 75 minutes or until piping hot. (If you're using a bigger or smaller haggis, of course cooking times will vary.)
When the haggis has been cooking for around 30 minutes, heat a frying pan and fry your bacon until crispy, then set aside on some kitchen towel, retaining the fat in the pan.
Toss 25g of the butter in to the same frying pan, and once melted and starting to foam, sauté your par-boiled potatoes on a medium heat until golden and crispy, drain the fat, and stir the bacon and parsley in at the end.
The potatoes can take a while to brown, so meanwhile, put on a fresh pan of salted water to boil, for the swede. Once the water has started to boil, cook the swede until tender and mashable. About 15-20 minutes. Drain and mash with the remaining 25g of butter, and season with salt, pepper and a grating of nutmeg. Cover to keep warm.
Heat your cream in a small saucepan with a splash of whiskey, simmering lightly to burn off the alcohol.
Remove the casing and any clips from your cooked haggis, and serve with the buttery swede, potatoes, and a pouring of whiskey sauce.
A side note: The haggis and bacon will be quite salty, so you may want to go easy when seasoning other elements of the dish