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Haggis Is English? A Scot Says It's Not
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Haggis Is English? A Scot Says It's Not

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Haggis Is English? A Scot Says It's Not

Haggis Is English? A Scot Says It's Not
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Butcher Robert Patrick, seen with his award-winning haggis, rejects the idea that haggis is English. i

Butcher Robert Patrick, seen with his award-winning haggis, rejects the idea that haggis originated in England. Press Association via AP Images hide caption

toggle caption Press Association via AP Images
Butcher Robert Patrick, seen with his award-winning haggis, rejects the idea that haggis is English.

Butcher Robert Patrick, seen with his award-winning haggis, rejects the idea that haggis originated in England.

Press Association via AP Images
Hear a recipe for haggis.
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Food historian Catherine Brown's claim that the most Scottish of dishes, haggis, originated in England has prompted consternation from Aberdeen to Inverness. But former world champion haggis maker Robert Patrick is having none of it.

"As simple as apple pie is American ... haggis is Scottish," he tells Melissa Block. "End of story."

Haggis, a mixture of sheep innards — heart, liver and lungs — mixed with oatmeal, fat and spices, and cooked, ideally, in a sheep's stomach, is so much a part of Scottish tradition that the poet Robert Burns wrote an Address to a Haggis in 1786.

Brown, who is herself a Scot, says she has found a reference to haggis in an English cooking guide from 1615, predating any Scottish reference by more than a century.

"So she claims, anyway," says a skeptical Patrick, who won the haggis-making world championship in 2004 and was runner-up in 2007. "As we all know, Scots are a well-traveled nation. A lot of phrases in America come from Scottish origins. So it could quite easily be that somebody's been down there [to England] with their cookbook and dropped it."

A Traditional Haggis Recipe

Compliments of RampantScotland.com. Note the words of warning in bold below!

Ingredients:

Set of sheep's heart, lungs and liver (cleaned by a butcher)

One beef bung (intestine)

3 cups finely chopped suet

One cup medium ground oatmeal

Two medium onions, finely chopped

One cup beef stock

One teaspoon salt

    1/2 teaspoon pepper

    One teaspoon nutmeg

    1/2 teaspoon mace

    Trim off any excess fat and sinew from the sheep's intestine and, if present, discard the windpipe.

    Place in a large pan, cover with water and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for an hour or possibly longer to ensure that the meat is tender. Drain and cool.

    Some chefs toast the oatmeal in an oven until it is thoroughly dried out (but not browned or burnt!)

    Finely chop the meat and combine in a large bowl with the suet, oatmeal, finely chopped onions, beef stock, salt, pepper, nutmeg and mace. Make sure the ingredients are mixed well. Stuff the meat and spices mixture into the beef bung which should be over half full. Then press out the air and tie the open ends tightly with string. Make sure that you leave room for the mixture to expand or else it may burst while cooking. If it looks as though it may do that, prick with a sharp needle to reduce the pressure.

    Place in a pot and cover with water. Bring to the boil and immediately reduce the heat and simmer, covered, for three hours. Avoid boiling vigorously to avoid bursting the skin.

    Serve hot with "champit tatties and bashit neeps" (mashed/creamed potato and turnip/swede).

    For added flavor, you can add some nutmeg to the potatoes and allspice to the turnip/swede. Some people like to pour a little whiskey over their haggis — Drambuie is even better! Don't go overboard on this or you'll make the haggis cold.

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