Thursday, 27 January 2011

Haggis Cottage Pie

I like haggis, it is a marvellous thing, but I only eat it once a year. So as Burns Night loomed I was trying to remember how to cook it, and remembering how filling it is. My sister Clare suggested I try her haggis pie recipe. It has the advantage of being prepared in advance, it's easier to serve than a whole haggis, and layering the swede haggis and mash gives the right quantity of each. Serving it with some sweet, lightly cooked cabbage means you don't need any gravy. The colours on the plate are fantastic.

Keeping the swede and potato separate means it isn't clapshot, which is made mashing the two together.

I should say that by swede I mean neep, the Scottish turnip.

The flavour and texture of the haggis is wonderful together with the soft and sweet swede and the creamy mash. A little carrot adds colour to the paler swede. It looks great on the plate, slightly reminiscent of 70s browns and oranges, but better. So good, in fact, that my Scottish pal Doug pronounced it genius. If you like having the cooked haggis roll around the plate until you pierce it and allow the contents to spill, for the drama as much as anything, don't make this pie.

This much left me with three slices to put in the freezer - after four people with healthy appetites ate their fill. I'm going to have them for a hearty breakfast, unhealthily fried, with an egg on top, sometime, with a side dish of mushrooms.


2 haggis (I used Macsween's)
8 medium potatoes
1 large swede
2 carrots
butter or margarine

  • Take the printed plastic cover off the haggis and wrap them in foil, bake for 1 hour at 360/180/gas mark4 
  • Peel the potatoes, cook well in salted water, drain and mash well with a hearty pinch of salt, good grindings of pepper, a knob of butter and a few glugs of milk. Don't make it too wet. 
  • Peel the swede and carrots, cut into 2cm cubes and cook in plenty of salted water until tender, about 15 minutes. Drain, saving some of the liquid, about a cup. Mash thoroughly with some butter, a little salt and pepper, and add a little of the cooking liquid at a time.
  • Lightly butter a heatproof dish, about 25cm/10" in diameter - I used an oval dish. 
  • Slash open the cooked haggis and scoop out the filling into the buttered dish. Spread out a layer, about 2cm/1" thick. 
  • Spread a layer of swede and carrot mash over the haggis layer, about 2cm/1" thick.
  • Top with a similar layer of mash, and smoothing the top, then run a fork around it, to give lots of ridges to go crispy.

  • Cook for 30 minutes at 360/180/gas mark4, until the crust is golden.

Serve with lightly cooked buttered cabbage.

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