Monday, August 25, 2008
My cousin, Michael (hi Michael!) is visiting from Scotland, with his lovely girlfriend, Kate. We've had a ball hanging out and doing touristy things, and yesterday my mom held a party in their honor.
Earlier in the week, Amie and I emailed back and forth and when I mentioned Michael was in town, she said I should make a Haggis. I think she was kidding.
I thought it was the best idea, ever, and decided to go for it.
Haggis is pretty much a Scottish meatloaf, which is traditionally cooked in a sheep's stomach, or pluck, to keep it all together. The pluck isn't eaten--it's just used as a casing.
I figured if I was going to make a Haggis, I was going to MAKE A HAGGIS. So I ordered a pluck from our friendly neighborhood fancy-pants butcher place. The guy on the phone said he'd get me one, and when I asked how much he thought it would be he answered, "It can't be much ma'am. That's the throw-away part."
When I picked it up (it was $13 by the way...not exactly cheap) it was in a cardboard box with the label: NOT FOR HUMAN CONSUMPTION. I probably should have taken that as a sign, but instead I got giddy about trying to make this work.
I had read as much as I could find about proper Haggising, and decided to follow what was outlined in the Detailed Haggis Recipe.
But. I couldn't figure out what was what in the cardboard box. The butcher had given me all the innards. I had the wind pipe, the heart, lungs, and stomach. Everything was still attached. I began cutting with my poultry scissors and separated the organs. I got to work on what I thought was the stomach, but it ended up being a lung. And then I realized that what was probably the stomach was this green slimy pouch that I had already thrown away.
And I got weirded out.
I wrapped everything in a bunch of plastic and threw it away in the outdoor bin.
And Cometed the sink.
So! This the Americanized version of Haggis. Everyone who tasted it at mom's party enjoyed it. I did, too.
--1/2 pound ground beef
--1/2 pound ground lamb
--1 chopped red onion (doesn't need to be diced, largish chunks are okay)
--1 cup oats (if you are gluten free, make sure your oats are certified GF)
--pinch each of nutmeg, cloves, cinnamon
--1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
--1/2 tsp black pepper
--1 tsp kosher salt
--1/2 cup of broth or stock (I used chicken broth)
In a large mixing bowl, mix all of the ingredients, minus the broth, the same way you'd make a meatloaf.
Plop it into your crockpot. I used a 4qt round crock for this. I didn't spray with cooking spray, but it might be a good idea.
Shape with your hands into a round blob.
Pour in your broth.
Cover and cook on low for 6-7 hours, or on high for about 4. This is cooked fully when it has browned on the edges and is beginning to brown on top. Don't overcook and risk drying out.
I cooked ours on low for 5 hours, and then on high for another hour.
Using large spatulas, carefully remove and set on a cutting board. Let rest for a full 30 minutes before slicing.
I'd make this again! I loved the flavors of the clove and nutmeg, and liked the kick of the cayenne. It was salty, but not too salty, and it reminded me of the Haggis I ate in Scotland when I was twelve.
I don't think I'd bother with tracking down a pluck again--after speaking with Michael and Kate and learning that no one eats that part anyway, it just seems like an added step. I was pleased with the moistness and tenderness of the meat after it was crockpotted.
The kids ate cupcakes.