Scottish Cuisine Haggis

Scottish Cuisine: Haggis
Haggis is​ a​ traditional Scottish highland dish that resembles, in​ some senses, a​ rather rough sausage .​
It is​ the​ national dish of​ Scotland, and​ Robert Burns, the​ great Scots poet, who wrote the​ famous Address to​ a​ Haggis called the​ haggis the​ chieftain o’ the​ puddin-race .​
It is​ a​ staple of​ Scottish cuisine, and​ is​ served in​ the​ traditional manner, as​ well as​ in​ the​ haggis supper (deep fried haggis with a​ side of​ French fries) or​ even as​ a​ haggis burger .​
It is​ sold prepared in​ supermarkets year round .​
But what is​ actually in​ this mysterious and​ oft-misunderstood food?
Though the​ traditional response to​ the​ question what is​ a​ haggis? is​ often answered with a​ joke about a​ small highland animal with one pair of​ legs shorter than the​ other (to more easily circle the​ highland hills), the​ truth is​ that it​ is​ a​ food designed to​ let no part of​ the​ animal go to​ waste – hence its popularity amongst the​ poor in​ the​ days of​ Burns.
While it​ is​ sometimes made of​ deer, the​ haggis is​ more often based on sheep .​
It is​ a​ combination of​ oatmeal and​ several meats .​
Normally, the​ sheep’s pluck or​ offal is​ removed, including heart, liver, and​ lungs (or lights) .​
This is​ ground, heavily spiced, and​ combined with onion, suet, spices, and​ salt .​
The oatmeal and​ the​ other ingredients are mixed with stock and​ stuffed inside a​ sheep’s stomach .​
This is​ the​ haggis, and​ it​ is​ then boiled and​ served .​
Of course, in​ modern times, a​ real stomach is​ just as​ often replaced with an​ artificial casing, and​ vegetarian-friendly ingredients may replace meat and​ offal.
Haggis is​ often served with neeps and​ tatties a​ neep is​ swede, or​ rutabaga, and​ is​ shortened from Swedish turnip .​
Tatties are mashed potatoes .​
Of course, haggis would not be complete without a​ dram of​ whisky to​ wash it​ down, a​ tradition referred to​ as​ neeps and​ nips.
Traditionally, haggis is​ served at​ Burns Suppers, on January 25 of​ each year .​
That these events, someone recites the​ Address to​ a​ Haggis .​
It is​ then doused with a​ shot of​ Scotch whisky and​ cut with a​ dirk, a​ large knife that is​ a​ traditional highland sidearm .​
Often, the​ haggis is​ paraded in​ with a​ bagpiper.
Unfortunately for​ haggis lovers, some of​ the​ ingredients are illegal and​ it​ is​ sometimes hard to​ make a​ true haggis .​
For example, in​ the​ United States, it​ is​ illegal to​ sell animal lungs for​ human consumption, and​ so at​ least one ingredient is​ missing .​
Imported haggis from Scotland, which contains bits of​ lung, has even been rated unfit for​ human consumption by the​ USDA.
Interestingly, haggis is​ not used only for​ eating .​
There is​ an​ official Haggis Throwing World Championship in​ which competitors must throw a​ cooked haggis as​ far as​ possible for​ atop a​ whisky barrel platform – the​ current record some 180 feet .​
This developed from an​ even older practice of​ throwing a​ haggis for​ accuracy, usually by a​ woman tossing it​ into the​ apron of​ a​ man’s kilt .​
Some would say this is​ a​ far better use for​ a​ haggis than actually eating it!

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