The national dish of Scotland is haggis, a type of savory pudding. It is an excellent, tasty dish, made using sheep pluck (the lungs, hearts, liver). The cooked minced offal is mixed with suet, oatmeal, seasoning and encased in the sheep stomach. Once stitched up, the stuffed stomach is boiled for up to three hours. If the thought of cooking the animal parts is off-putting, there is commercial haggis available, the best known (including a vegetarian version) from Charles MacSween & Son in Edinburgh.
Check out my 9 top tips for buying, preparing and cooking haggis
Is Haggis Illegal in the United States?
In the 1970's the US banned the import of food containing sheep lung. As most traditional haggis recipes are made with lung, it's nearly impossible to find imported commercial haggis. Most haggis found in the US is made in the country.
How to Serve Haggis
Once it has been steamed and cooked through, there are many popular ways to serve haggis. Try it with a full Scottish breakfast or with hearty tatties and neeps (tatties are Scottish for potatoes, and neeps are turnips) for an authentic experience.
What to Drink with Haggis
For pairing purposes as nice Scotch whisky is a thematically appropriate spirit. If your not a fan of having hard liquor at meals you could always go with an acidic red wine or a strong, dark beer.
The Haggis and Robert Burns
The Haggis was immortalized by the poet Robert Burns in his Address to the Haggis in the 18th century and celebrated in Scotland and throughout the world on Burns Night, January 25th, in memory of the Scottish poet.
It is eaten with tatties and neeps alongside other Scottish favorites Cock-a-Leekie (Chicken Vegetable) Soup and Cranachan, a dessert made from raspberry, toasted oatmeal and cream.
Address to a Haggis, Robert Burns
Fair fa' your honest, sonsie face, Great chieftain o the puddin' race!Aboon them a' ye tak your place,Painch, tripe, or thairm:Weel are ye wordy of a graceAs lang's my arm.The groaning trencher there ye fill,Your hurdies like a distant hill,Your pin wad help to mend a millIn time o need,While thro your pores the dews distilLike amber bead.His knife see rustic Labour dight,An cut you up wi ready slight,Trenching your gushing entrails bright,Like onie ditch;And then, O what a glorious sight,Warm - reekin, rich!Then, horn for horn, they stretch an strive:Deil tak the hindmost, on they drive,Till a' their weel-swall'd kytes belyveAre bent like drums;The auld Guidman, maist like to rive,'Bethankit' hums.Is there that owre his French ragout,Or olio that wad staw a sow,Or fricassee wad mak her spewWi perfect sconner,Looks down wi sneering, scornfu viewOn sic a dinner?Poor devil!
see him owre his trash,As feckless as a wither'd rash,His spindle shank a guid whip-lash,His nieve a nit:Thro bloody flood or field to dash,O how unfit!But mark the Rustic, haggis-fed,The trembling earth resounds his tread,Clap in his walie nieve a blade.He'll make it whissle;An legs an arms, an heads will sned,Like taps o thrissle.Ye Pow`rs, wha mak mankind your care,And dish them out their bill o fare,Auld Scotland wants nae skinking wareThat jaups in luggies:But, If ye wish her gratefu prayer,Gie her a Haggis!