This recipe is inspired by a particularly delicious version I tried at the Ubiquitous Chip restaurant in Glasgow. They serve their haggis on large spoons instead of in the sheep’s stomach (which is the traditional way). So I've decided to write a recipe that anyone, anywhere in the world, can make as long as they have access to a fairly decent butcher. I think it still preserves the beautiful soul and attitude of haggis, and my mate Peter Begg, who is 110% Scottish, says it’s the nicest haggis he’s ever had. That made my year, so what are you waiting for? Crack on!
Put the onions and celery into a food processor with the bacon and thyme leaves and pulse until finely chopped. Put a very large casserole-type pan (roughly 25cm in diameter) on a medium heat, add a good lug of olive oil, then add the allspice, pepper, ground cloves, a good pinch of salt, and grate in the nutmeg. Stir for a few minutes, until it’s smelling fantastic, then tip in everything from the food processor and cook for a few minutes, stirring occasionally until the veg are starting to soften.
Cut the steak into roughly 2cm pieces and pulse in a food processor until it looks like mince. Add to the pan of veg, then do the same with the lamb or mutton and the heart. Get rid of any sinewy bits. Halve the kidneys, and quickly rinse them and the livers in a bowl of water. Drain, then pulse in the processor once or twice – don’t purée them! Add to the pan, then cook and stir everything for about 15 minutes, or until the meat starts to colour. At this point, add the bay leaves and 500ml of stock or water, then cover with a lid and leave to blip away on a low heat for around 2 hours, stirring now and then to make sure it doesn’t catch and adding a splash of water if needed.
Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/gas 4. After 2 hours, spoon a few ladles of the haggis mixture (avoiding the bay leaves) into the clean food processor and blitz to a fairly smooth consistency. Stir this back in to add a lovely creaminess. Spread the pinhead oats on a baking tray and toast in the oven for about 25 minutes, or until golden. Stir into the haggis mixture, then add the remaining stock. Simmer with the lid off for about another 30 to 35 minutes. This is a great time to cook your neeps and tatties.
Once the time is up, fish out the bay leaves and continue cooking until you’ve got a nice thick consistency. Turn the heat off, then correct the seasoning to push it to the point of perfection. Stir in the whisky, a few gratings of lemon and orange zest and the Worcestershire sauce. Taste and correct the flavours if needed, then put the lid on and leave until you’re ready to serve – preferably with plenty of good friends and a dram or two of fine Scottish whisky.
PS: Put the leftover haggis into an earthenware-type dish and top it off with neeps and tatties. It makes the most exciting sorta-shepherd’s pie.