Address to a Haggis

I was recently contacted by the popular holiday and travel company Sykes Cottages – who specialise in finding you delightful handpicked holiday cottages, and asked to take part in what they dubbed the ‘Haggis Challenge’.

Now, let me tell you, being a huge haggis enthusiast, I jumped at the chance to take part. Sykes had recently conducted some amongst its customers and sadly found that our humble national dish was very much under appreciated, so much so that given the option, very few people would order it up in a restaurant.

So the challenge they set me was to reinvent the dish, giving it a modern and appetising edge, setting it apart from the ordinary and hum drum and dressing it up in its Sunday best.

For those not familiar with haggis, here is a wee bit of background info for you before we get started. Haggis is Scotland’s national dish and is a savoury pudding containing a sheep’s heart, liver and lungs; minced with onion, oatmeal, suet, spices, and salt, mixed with stock, and traditionally encased in the animal’s stomach and steamed. Commercially bought haggis these days is generally prepared in a sausage casing rather than an actual stomach, but the real deal can be easily purchased from your butcher. It is most famously served up with neeps (turnip) and tatties (potato) to commemorate Burns Day on January 25 but is enjoyed by many Scots all year round.

It’s been an exciting couple of weeks in the lead up to this competition, I have been scribbling away notes and ideas, trying out some weird and wonderful flavour combos and generally boring my family silly with my enthusiasm. In the end I just couldn’t pick a favourite so I’ve come up with a menu that includes a very special starter and main course.

The menu below requires a wee bit of preparation and planning but is actually very easy. Serves up, it really is a show stopper and would be perfect for any special occasion dinners you have coming up or even your next Burns Supper if you fancy moving away from the traditional.

Haggis ravioli with a port wine reduction

Haggis Ravioli with a Port Wine Reduction

Haggis Ravioli with a Port Wine Reduction

Ingredients

Ravioli
1 x 454g shop bought haggis (I used Halls which is my favourite brand due to its slight spiciness but there are many more brands available that you can try, you can even get vegetarian haggis which is also really delicious)
500g ’00’ pasta flour, plus extra for dusting
5 large eggs, beaten

Port reduction
2 tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, sliced
2 cloves garlic, crushed
100ml beef stock
1 tbsp tomato puree
200ml red wine
100ml Ruby port
25g  cold butter, cubed
Sprig thyme, leaves stripped from stalk
(this will make enough sauce for both the starter and main course)

Method

To make the ravioli – Remove the haggis from the outer packaging, leaving the inner casing intact. Wrap the haggis in kitchen foil and simmer in a large pot of water, with a tightly fitting lid for 1 hour.

While the haggis is cooking, prepare your pasta by adding the ’00’ flour to a large mixing bowl, making a well in the centre and adding the beaten eggs. Use your hands to slowly incorporate all of the egg mixture into the flour and gradually work it into a dough. Turn the dough out onto a floured work surface and start kneading until the dough is smooth, springy and free from lumps. At this point you can use a rolling pin to roll out your dough into very thin sheets but if you have a pasta machine, which runs the dough through metal rollers, this will speed up the process by quite a bit and give you a more professional finish.

If you are using a pasta machine, run the dough through the machine on the widest roller setting before dropping to a medium width, then finally the narrowest setting. Cut the long pasta sheet into two and lay out onto your work surface, covering with a slightly damp tea towel to keep the sheets from drying out.

When your haggis is cooked, remove it from the casing, fluff up with a fork and leave to cool. Once cool, use a teaspoon to place heaped spoonfuls of the haggis mixture at evenly spaced intervals onto the first pasta sheet. Using a pastry brush, dampen around the haggis with a tiny bit of water. Carefully place the second sheet of pasta on top and use your hands to ‘cup’ the pasta around the haggis mounds, trying your best to get rid of any trapped air. Now use a round pastry cutter to cut round the little parcels. Even though the pastry is sealed, it is always best to use a fork to crimp round the edges to ensure extra security.

These little ravioli can now be simmered in boiling salted water for 6-8 minutes until cooked.

To make the port wine reduction – Heat the olive oil in a pan and cook the onion, thyme and garlic with seasoning until soft. Add the stock and reduce down to nearly nothing. Add the tomato puree, wine and Port and reduce by at least half. Just before serving, whisk in the butter to give it a really pretty shine.

To serve, ladle some of the port wine reduction into a shallow bowl, top with the ravioli and a small handful of delicate salad leaves (watercress would be perfect).

Serves 4

 

Beef and haggis wellington, haggis bon bons and potato rosti with a port wine reduction

Beef and Haggis Wellington

Beef and Haggis Wellington

Ingredients

Beef and haggis wellington
1 x 454g shop bought haggis (I used Halls which is my favourite brand due to its slight spiciness but there are many more brands available that you can try, you can even get vegetarian haggis which is also really delicious)
500g fillet of beef
12 slices prosciutto ham
1 package of shop bought pre-rolled puff pastry

Haggis bon bons
One third of the haggis mixture used for the beef wellington
3 tbsp plain flour
1 egg, beaten
3 tbsp panko (Jananese) breadcrumbs

Potato rosti
2 large floury potatoes, grated
Salt
Pepper
2 tbsp vegetable oil
Knob butter

Port wine reduction
As above, the sauce made for the ravioli will be enough for the beef wellington too.

Method

To made the beef and haggis wellington – The night before you intend to serve your wellington, cook the haggis as above and set aside to cool. Season the beef fillet all over with salt and freshly ground black pepper sear on all sides in a dry, very hot pan. Sear for no more than 30 seconds on each side. Remove from the pan and set aside on a plate to cool.

Place a large sheet of cling wrap on your work surface and lay out the slices of prosciutto, overlapping them slightly. Spoon two thirds of the haggis mixture evenly over the prosciutto then place the cooled beef fillet on top. Using the cling wrap to guide you, draw the prosciutto layer around the fillet to form a tight parcel, ensuring the beef is fully enclosed. Tighten the cling wrap and place in the fridge overnight to become firm.

The next day, pre heat your oven to 180˚C then roll out your pastry sheet onto your work surface. Remove the beef parcel from the fridge and unwrap it. Place it onto the pastry sheet and roll up to create an outer layer of pastry. Ensure than all of the edges are neatly and securely sealed together. Use the back of a knife to score diagonal lines into the top of the pastry but be very careful not to cut through. Brush the pastry all over with a beaten egg and cook in your pre heated oven for 30 minutes (rare) or 35 minutes (medium rare).

Remove the wellington from the oven, cover with foil and leave to rest for 10-15 minutes before carving into thick slices.

To make the haggis bon bons – Use your hands to roll the remaining one third of the cooked haggis mixture into 4 evenly sized balls. Coat each bon bon in a light dusting of flour, then coat in the beaten egg mixture before finally coating in the panko breadcrumbs. Roast the bon bons in a pre heated oven at 180˚C for 15-20 minutes until golden.

To make the potato rosti – Grate the potatoes onto a clean tea towel. Draw the tea towel together and squeeze out as much of the moisture as possible. Add the grated potato to a large bowl and season well with salt and pepper. Heat the vegetable oil and butter in a large frying pan, and using a chefs ring or round metal cookie cutter, spoon one quarter of the mixture into the ring, pressing down with the back of a spoon. Carefully remove the ring and repeat 3 more times until you have 4 potato rosti. Gently fry for 5 minutes before using a spatula to carefully flip the rosti and cook on the other side for a further 5 minutes.

Serve up a thick slice of the haggis and beef wellington with some of the port wine reduction, and a rosti and bon bon per person.

Serves 4

I hope you have enjoyed my take on the traditional haggis and would once again like to say a big thanks to Sykes Cottages for letting me take part in this fantastic competition. It has been a whole lot of fun and I hope I have inspired you to come up with your dishes.

Cheryl x

 

 

 

1 Comment

  1. Pingback: The Sykes Cottages Haggis Championships | Sykes Cottages : Blog

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: