Haggis Pops




About: Artist in Residence at Pier 9, currently exploring a vast array of new tools with which to injure myself.

Delightful parcels of sheep innards on a stick!

It's that time of the year again. We've put up with the misery of having to eat turkey and potatoes and chocolate and candy throughout the winter holidays, but now we can finally breathe a sigh of relief and tuck into that one meal we wait all year for: haggis.

Yes, with Burns Night fast approaching you'll no doubt be wanting to boil up some delicious haggis for your loved ones. If you're a traditionalist, you'll obviously want to catch and cook your own wild haggis, but here I'll provide the complete recipe for making mini-haggises from scratch at home. Of course, you can also use this same recipe to make a full-sized adult haggis by changing the serving size in the last step.

So grab your offal, don your Tam O' Shanter and get ready to stuff yourself till a' your weel-swall'd kytes belyve* are bent like drums.

*Your well-swollen bellies, by and by.

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Step 1: Ingredients

Here's what you'll need to make your haggisicles:

  • The heart, lungs and liver of a sheep (also known as the sheep's pluck)
  • 200g of suet (chilled lard or vegetable shortening will also work)
  • 300g oats
  • 2 onions (some people might argue with the authenticity of having vegetables inside a haggis, but no true Scotsman is afraid of a wee onion)
  • 1 tbsp nutmeg
  • 1 tsp dried crushed coriander seed
  • 1 tbsp cayenne pepper
  • 2 tbsp crushed black pepper
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • Sheep stomach to hold it all (see below).

I'm sure you'll be able to find all of these things at your local supermarket/butcher/abbatoir. If you're making a single haggis, a single stomach will suffice to hold all of the ingredients; just make sure it doesn't have any holes. If you're making haggis pops, you'll have an offal lot more surface area to cover so you'll need three or four stomachs.

Also useful:

  • String / thread
  • Ping pong ball or boiled egg for forming the haggis pop shapes
  • Ribbon for decoration
  • Little sticks for mounting the haggis pops on and brandishing in the faces of your foes

Step 2: Prepare the Stomach

First of all, you need to prepare your stomach. In many senses of the phrase. Get ready to make a mess.

You'll soon notice that the inside of a sheep's stomach is a bit dirty, covered with sticky tufts of partially digested grass. As the contents of digestive tracts go, this is actually reasonably edible. It's still something of an acquired taste, so you'll probably want to remove as much of it as possible. Scrape it off with a sharp knife, taking the inner layer of the stomach off with it. Be careful not to rip through the entire wall of the stomach.

Clean the stomach as thoroughly as possible, scald it in boiling water for a few minutes, then leave it in a pot of cold brine overnight.

Step 3: Ready the Pluck

Mmmm, pluck. This is one of the prettiest cuts of offal you're likely to come across. Take a moment to admire its beauty. If the lungs are intact, try inflating them by using a drinking straw to blow into the bronchi. I promise you it's worth it. By inflating and deflating the lungs, you'll really get an appreciation for the elegant fractal nature of these delicate structures.

Anyway, cut them up into tiny bits. Remove any large lumps of hard fat around the heart.

Step 4: A Note on Cartilage Tubes

While you're cutting up the lungs, try to remove the larger, tougher airways. These will become little bits of gristle if you leave them in the haggis.

Step 5: Boil It Up

Put the sliced pluck in a large pot of cold water. Don't worry about the lung floating to the surface - the chunks should be small enough that they'll still cook thoroughly.

Cover, bring to the boil and let simmer for about an hour. That may seem like a long time, but traditional haggis recipes call for the pluck to be boiled whole for several hours; by dicing it first we've shaved hours off the cooking time. However Scotland's relationship to the United Kingdom might change, never let it be said that Scotland and England don't share a proud culinary tradition of boiling everything into rubbery oblivion.

Drain the liquid from the cooked pluck, setting it aside to use as stock later. Rinse the pluck under cold water in a sieve.

Step 6: More Cutting and Mixing

Cut the pluck into even finer pieces, then mix it with the oats, suet and spices. Work these together with your hands as you gradually add stock back into the mixture. Keep adding stock until the mixture takes on a malleable, doughy consistency.

Step 7: Fill Your Stomach!

Now it's time to wrap up your meaty mixture inside a layer of stomach. If you're making a single haggis, stuff all of the mixture into one stomach and sew it up.

If you're making haggis pops, take a ping pong ball or a boiled egg and wrap a section of stomach lining tight around it. Tie a piece of string around it to mark off how much stomach you'll need, then cut the stomach a couple of inches below the string. Err on the side of too much stomach rather than too little.

Untie the string, remove the ball/egg and re-stuff the little parcel with the cooked offal/oat mixture. Squeeze the parcel shut again with one hand and re-tie the string with the other. Ask someone for help here, as this is rather tricky to do single-handedly. I ended up with a mouth full of slimy string and bits of stomach as I tried to tie the knots while holding the parcel together.

Make sure the string is tight and allow for some slippage around the knot. Be sure not to pack the parcels too full, or they'll burst as the oats swell.

Step 8: Raw Pops

At this point, if you're making haggis pops, you should have created a small pile of tiny raw haggises. You will probably be able to form nine or ten haggis pops from the lining of a single sheep stomach. Look at how the texture varies from pop to pop - that change in structure reflects the difference in function between the various chambers of the ruminant stomach. Neat, isn't it?

To finish cooking the haggis pops, boil them in water for another 90 minutes, or until the oats are fully swollen and you're happy with the squishiness of the stomach linings.

If you're cooking a single large haggis, let it simmer for three hours rather than 90 minutes.

Step 9: Gie Her a Haggis!

Drain and rinse your haggis pops, decorate them as you see fit and present them to your guests steaming hot. If possible, serve them up with a traditional peaty haggis wine, such as a Laphroaig or an Ardbeg.

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    152 Discussions


    3 years ago

    it sounds delicious


    4 years ago

    I knew this was yours before I looked at the name. The little bow ties, man, they are adorable? I'm not sure that's the right word. They offset the ...you know what I'm going to go look at boats.


    4 years ago

    But you don't eat the sheep's stomach: it's just a bag for boiling it in. You scoop the haggis out afterwards.


    4 years ago

    I can't eat it


    I'm American, and I tried haggis while in Scotland over the summer and really liked it. I'm a bit picky, but it was like delicious crumbly sheep sausage. I didn't have it with the stomach, though, and I'm not sure how I'd manage with that.

    BUT these lil guys are adorable, and if I maybe some day I'll rustle up the ingredients and give it a shot.

    I get the Braveheart thing...but well, I watched a you tube video of a guy making it (somewhere in the UK), his wis wife returns. The shrieking and wailing over the aroma (stench) in the house was terrific.

    Now If I were truly starving I would no doubt enjoy a steaming slab of haggis,,,,,,, but the operative words are, truly starving.

    Me mum tried to get me to eat fried liver with onions peppers and American Bacon, when I was a kid. And my parents were food Nazi's..

    But Haggis on a stick.... should give them out at Halloween here in the states... It would be the "trick" of course....

    Viva the revolution, and Dean will always be the only James Bond!

    Oh and you guys make some very fine Whiskey! After enough you can eat the Haggis! Chcuckle


    4 years ago on Introduction

    Surprisingly cute and adorable. You make them look offal good:()

    The Rambler

    4 years ago on Introduction

    I just had haggis at an early Burns Night celebration my brother and his wife threw last night! I'll have to share this recipe with them in case they want to up their game next year.

    2 replies

    So, they didn't go for it. I think something about the amount of effort combined with the stomach. I guess they'll just keep ordering haggis sans stomach (they found some Scottish Bakery here in the states that's allowed to distribute it). I have to say that your hilarious pun responses in the comments are as entertaining, if not more so, than the instructable itself.

    Interesting idea. If you are using dog instead of sheep for this recipe, be aware that the canine stomach is monogastric so you're unlikely to see the same range of surface texture that you'd find in a ruminant stomach. Also, dog stomachs have a subglandular layer of fibroblasts which produce extra collagen to support the stomach lining. This protects the stomach against damage from eating bones, but makes dog haggis somewhat chewier than traditional haggis.

    But please don't let that deter you! Let me know how it goes :-)