A few days ago, I tweeted that the Robert Burns World Federation have designated 2014 Year of the Haggis. A friend of mine immediately tweeted back “Why? Ewww”. I guess I can forgive him as he’s in California. I replied with my usual “Try it, just think of it as a sausage” only for him to remind me that he can still remember what it tasted like on his last visit here 10 years ago!
So, when I was issued the Inspired by Burns challenge to create something worthy of the bard with haggis, neeps and tatties, I thought, I’ll make something that will change Louis’ mind. Having had fun delving into Jo McSween’s “Little Haggis Bible” when we reviewed it, I needed to temporarily forget those, and think up something of my own. Ever up for a challenge, I knew that I could create something tasty.
A further problem. I needed to disguise the neeps (I called it swede growing up in England and if you’re American, it’s rutabaga). Yes, it has a lovely orange colour, but the taste I find strong. I have far too many memories of school dinners with sloppy swede.
It was also Friday night. I do my shopping on Saturdays so I had to use ingredients I had in the house. Thus Moroccan style haggis patties were born. This recipe definitely needs refinement, but I thought I’d share my rough and ready version to inspire you. With McSweens haggis only requiring 9 minutes in the microwave, this is quick to make and if I say so myself, rather delicious. It will serve 2 to 3 depending on appetite. Serve with a fresh salad.
Haggis Moroccan Style
- 1 small haggis cooked in the microwave for the time suggested
- For the patty mixture
- 1 large potato (mine weighed 200gr) grated
- Equal weight of neeps grated
- 1 clove garlic smashed or chopped small
- Fresh ginger - a piece about 2cm x 2 cm grated
- 1 tsp mustard seed
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 small chilli finely chopped (Use as much or as little as you are comfortable with. The ones we grew this year are particularly hot)
- Yogurt batter
- 200 gr plain yogurt
- 100gr Gram flour (you could use plain flour)
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
- ½ tsp salt
- Handful of fresh coriander chopped
- Oil for cooking
- To serve:
- Plain yogurt
- Pomegranate seeds (or orange zest)
- Fresh coriander chopped
- Cook the haggis as described on the packet.
- Grate the potato and swede, set aside.
- In a frying pan, heat up the oil and fry the garlic, ginger and mustard seeds gently until very lightly browned and the seeds pop. Add to the potato and swede and mix. Cook gently until softened.
- Take the haggis out of its skin (if not done already). Break the mixture up a little if necessary and add the potato and swede. Mix well.
- Make the mixture into flat patties about 6 cm across pressing the ingredients together and let them cool. If you have time, it would help to get them into the fridge to firm up.
- Mix the yogurt, gram flour, cumin seeds and salt together to make a batter that is smooth and fairly thick. Depending on the consistency of your yogurt, you may find you need more liquid. Add water if necessary. Add the finely chopped coriander.
- Heat oil in the pan so the bottom is fully covered. Now, all being well, your patties will be solid enough to dip into the batter (Mine weren't on first try). Dip into the yogurt mixture, then place in the pan and fry until crisp. Cook 3 to 4 only at a time.
- Mix the chopped coriander, pomegranate seeds with the yogurt and season with salt and pepper.
The result? Warming comfort food to keep the cold out. A fitting tribute to Mr Burns I think, but will Louis like them?
Find out more
2014 Scottish Food and Drink website