Burns Night Haggis, Neeps and Tatties
Burns Night is a commemoration of the life and work of Scottish poet Robert Burns. A celebratory supper is held each year on 25th January, and typically includes a haggis, Scotch whisky and a recital of Burns’ poetry.
Traditional haggis is a nourishing combination of minced lamb’s ‘pluck’ (heart, liver and lungs) and beef together with oats, onion and spices. Although commonly associated with Burns Night, and served with neeps (swede or turnips) and tatties (potatoes), variations of haggis are commonly incorporated into the meals of Scots all year round, including burger patties and pizza toppings.
Haggis is usually purchased pre-cooked and therefore simply requires reheating, and can be done so through baking, boiling or microwaving. The food hygiene regulations in England, Wales and Northern Ireland vary to that of Scotland, so the recommended cooking temperature of your haggis may differ depending on where it was produced. In Scotland, the cooked temperature for reheated food is 82°C, whereas in England, Wales and Northern Ireland it’s 75°C, and should be held at this for at least 30 seconds.
We ordered our haggis from Patricks of Camelon in Falkirk, Scotland. As the ‘champion haggis makers’ banner above their shop door reads, they pride themselves on this particularly – their haggis won gold from the Scottish Federation of Master Butchers in the first year of its creation, and has won 1st and 2nd prize in the Haggis World Championships since.
1kg turnips, peeled and diced
1 large carrot, peeled and diced
1kg Maris Piper potatoes, peeled and cut into quarters
80g unsalted butter
Preheat oven to 180°C (160°C fan) mark 4. Remove the outer packaging of the haggis, but don’t remove the tight casing.
Wrap the haggis in foil, put in an ovenproof dish with some space around it, then pour in boiling water so it comes about 1 inch up the sides of the dish. Top up the water throughout if necessary.
Cook for around 1 hour 30 mins before probing the center of the haggis with your Thermapen, ensuring it reaches 75°C. If it has not reached 75°C throughout, return the haggis to the oven for a little longer.
Meanwhile simmer the potatoes in a pan of salted water, and the carrot and turnips in a separate pan, for 20-25 minutes until soft. Drain, leave them in their separate pans for a few minutes to allow the moisture to evaporate, then mash.
Warm the milk and half of the butter in a pan until the butter has melted. Stir into the mashed potato and season. Stir the remaining butter into the carrot and turnips and season, ensuring to retain some texture.
Split open the haggis with a sharp knife and serve with the neeps and tatties.