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A Year of Slow Cooking

Monday, August 25, 2008

CrockPot Haggis Recipe

Day 238.

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.

The Ingredients.

--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 egg
--1/2 cup of broth or stock (I used chicken broth)

The Directions.

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.

The Verdict.

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.
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Joanna said...

Steph, when I read that you were making Haggis, I died. You went all out ordering the pluck and all the innards-I'm shocked they actually charged you for that stuff in the first place!! The best part is that you completely trashed it all and did it your way. I'm glad it turned out delicious!

Veronica said...

You are a BRAVE woman! I would not go that far back to my Scottish roots, and neither will my Father!! He didn't like it then, don't think he would like it now! hee hee Although, I should try it your way. BTW, what kind of cupcakes did the children eat? I need a backup plan also!!!!!!

Corinna said...

Oh my!! I laughed picturing having to cut apart all the organs! YUCK!!
I think the American version is just fine! lol

Sara said...

wow, I'm amazed! I have a hard enough time taking the innards out of the turkey for thanksgiving!

loveburrito said...

LOL...This was a great post. Years ago, my best pal and I headed over to Europe for a month long adventure. We swore we would eat every ethnic food Europe had to offer. Blood pudding? Check. Irish whiskey loaf? Check. Even if we thought the food description sounded strange, we were brave enough to try it all. Until we arrived in Scotland and ordered a plate of Haggis to share. We knew what it was all about, so it couldn't be so bad, right? We took one look at the plate, looked at each other, and ordered 2 American cheeseburgers. To go. The waitress was very kind..I am sure we were not the first American tourists to chicken out on a plate of Haggis...and offered to 'bag it up' in case we changed our mind. We politely declined and left with our burgers. Those were the best damn cheeseburgers we had in a long time.

Thanks for the laugh and the memories!


Jenn said...

Holy smokes .. I can't believe you actually touched that stuff, let alone grab some scissors and start cutting ..... brave, brave soul.

Karen said...

The whole ordering the pluck thing, trying to sort the organs, and then piling them in the trash and sterilizing the sink...

That sounds exactly like something I would do. I can't believe they charged you $13 for offal.

BubblesandMoney said...

I am loving your blog and how real you are. Thanks for doing this so I can get great results.

Jen :) said...

I would have opened that box, closed it again and chucked it LOL! I like your version ;) My daughter is crazy for anything Scottish and might even eat this because of it. One question, where did you get GF oats?

-Jen (who swears she'll stop asking ingredient questions!)

jinxi said...

Im grossed out for real.. I have goosebumps and am gagging!!! haha.. I dont know how you got that far before pitching it all and I would have bleached everything and me.. hahahaa

Im glad it turned out so well and Yay to Michael visiting! Glad you had a great time and great food. You rock and are my crockpot idol!!! ;)

Michelle said...

AHHH. I'm all prepared for next January,Thanks I think I'll stick to the American version though..

Chelf said...

I am weirded out by just reading... you had to smell the yucky throw-away parts. So brave. Or... no, I won't think about that. Just say brave.

Sounds good in the end. Did Michael and Kate appreciate your efforts?

"The kids ate cupcakes." Did they even try this? You are so funny.

Anonymous said...

your haggis/innards story reminded me for some reason of a saying my dad used to utter: Hoot, hoot, doon the water shoot. Maybe he was referring to the stuff you ditched. Maybe not. You're a braw lass to have tacked haggis. It looks good. With enough tomato catsup, it would look even more wonderful. Thanks for the great post and inspirational recipe.

Steph at Problem Solvin' Mom said...

I'm so glad you went with the american version, I was getting a bit heavy just looking at that first photo! :) Glad it turned out well, and I can understand the 2X sterilizing!!


Crockpot Lady said...

Jen--Whole Foods has Bob Red Mill certified Gluten Free oats. I already have thrown away the package, but it says it in large letters across the front.


Ranee said...

Hello Steph,

This is perfect. I am giving awards on my blog, and this seemed like the perfect post to tell you. I love the haggis comedy here. All Scottish food is based on a dare.

Anyway, as I said, I have given you an award on my blog. Thank you for your recipes, our family has been experimenting with them with much success.

Melynda said...

You are wild and brave! Much more than me. I read your blog each day, you have helped me to try new ways.


Melynda @
Moms Sunday Cafe blog

awineguy said...

Sounds like a lovely dish but it's haggis only in the same way that a Cosmopolitan is a Martini.

$13 for the pluck is robbery though, I'd have a word with the butcher.

Amie said...

I laughed more at this post than any other. You are crazy, woman. I can't believe you actually did it. Not for human consumption is right?! LOL!!

Aubrey said...

Holy crap! You had lungs, heart, stomach and whatever else that's supposed to stay INSIDE the animal, in your KITCHEN SINK?! Wow, I don't know if Comet would cut it for me. I might need a new sink. (And I majored in Biology and my favorite class was anatomy with real cadavers and everything. But I could never deal with that in my kitchen, where I cook.)
Love that you just went ahead and made it anyway. You are the crockpot cookin' GODDESS!

Mrs. Rohmance said...

Just a comment to say that my friend directed me to your blog, and boy am I glad she did! As a busy wife, mom, on and on and on, I rely on my crockpot a lot. Your GF recipes are tops, and I cannot wait to try them! Thanks for this great blog!

Reformed Grits said...

Hilarious! Did you check with the butcher about just ORDERING a haggis? I've heard meat markets-- even in the US-- can get their hands on them when asked!
Anyhow I'd say just attempting this took "pluck." (Pun totally intended!)

sara said...

okay,this from the person who got sick taking the skin off the whole chicken? How did you dig through all that stuff.....yuck!!!

Jodi said...

Wait a minute...I thought CHICKEN SKIN grossed you out, and now this????? WOW!

Denise ~ Paper Ponderings said...

You are one brave woman. I smile just thinking about it (I have a good imagination). Your efforts are commendable and I'm so glad it turned out well!!!

MrsSpock said...

Wow. Really. Wow. I wouldn't have the cojones to try real haggis. I think I would eat cupcakes too, though the fake version sounds decent.

Jen said...

I second, or is it third, the fact that you are brave! Nasty!

Glad it turned out okay!

Mother Hen said...

Oh my! You made me LOL! I think I'll go comet my sink in your honor! And 'cuz I'm still grossed out by your ordeal with the lung!

Mir said...

OMG I am rolling about the box of innards. Good LORD, Stephanie! Ahahahhahahaaaaaa!!

Missy @ It's Almost Naptime said...

Stephanie, I have a question for you.

Every time I see that a crockpot calls for browned chicken or ground meat, I feel a little ripped off. I mean, the whole POINT of crockpotting is that I get to avoid the stove.

I have thrown raw chicken in when a recipe said to brown it first, and it was fine. I don't think I have been so brave as to do that with ground meat.

Do you have any thoughts on this?

Crockpot Lady said...

Missy, I agree.

I have used raw ground beef or turkey just fine in recipes. I DID pre-cook the chicken (mostly) for the BBQ chicken and cornbread because the only way to really check to see if it was cooked would be to cut through the cornbread. I also pre-brown tofu because I prefer the texture of pre-browned tofu.

I'm beginning to think it's because of the pictures. It looks nicer to have browned meat or grill marks on the meat.

The few times I've pre-browned ribs or roasts, I've regretted the work involved.


Kristen M. said...

Ewww. At least you have a good story.

Michele said...

OMG! I couldn't even get past the title! *shivers* You're way more dedicated to your family than me and that's a fact!

Anonymous said...

Oh lord! After reading this I may not need to eat for days...thanks for possibly the best diet motivation I've had in months. Even the picture of the finished product looks most unappetizing. Gotta love the Scottish cuisine!

Anonymous said...

Steph, I thought as the Scottish cousin that you cooked this for Kate and myself should put our verdict on the dish!

All in all you did an excellent job! The colour and texture was spot on and it tasted great (Kate says 'yummy'!). If you buy Haggis from the butchers or supermarkets in Scotland you will get varying tastes, but this is as good as anything we would get at home.

For all those who would want to serve this at a St Andrews day or Burns Night celebration you could do so in the knowledge that it is an authentic tasting Haggis!!

Thanks Steph for going to the trouble and keep up the good work!

Michael and Kate

a kelly said...

Haggis! What a surprise to see this in the title when I opened my reader!

After 4 trips to Scotland one of my fav dishes is haggis and chips. They go one step further and deep fry it in batter. yummy...

I think your version would be much healthier. I may just have to have my own personal Burn's Supper.

Lisa Wilson said...

The real haggis sounds really disgusting. I'm glad you threw it out and started over YUCK!

kay said...

well that's more about innards than i ever wanted to know. but i'm so impressed that you attempted this!

glad everyone liked it after all you went thru. but i think this is one that i will skip.

My Ice Cream Diary said...

So, when someone says you are full of "pluck and vinegar" are they saying you've got guts? 'Cause, girl, you've got some serious guts to even think of touching that stuff! But I'm glad you tried this recipe to show us that Haggis doesn't have to be scary.

Tracey said...

Oh my goodness! This is the funniest story I've heard in a long time! You are a riot! I'm so impressed you "went for it"! I can only imagine...

Amber said...

I cannot even believe that you made it that far!!!! I would have been gagging when I opened the box! I try to not even think about the kind of animal the meat I'm eating came from because even thinking about that can make me not want to finish my meal. :) You win a gold star for being adventurous. I'm glad your version of haggis turned out even without the "casing"!

hmneilson said...

You just might be the bravest person I ever met! Just the fact that you opened the box and were willing to sort through it all?? Wow! Even with my Scottish heritage, I just can't quite go there...

Did have organ free haggis while in Scotland a few years ago, and even a weird vegetarian version.... Pretty tasty!

Looking forward to trying yours!

Love your blog! Such a great idea, I have always loved my crockpot and now I am learning how much more it could be doing!

Julie said...

You are my new favourite person today.

Pink Lemonade Bags said...

I think one of my most favorite parts about reading your blog is reading

while we ate (insert recipe of the day)

the kids ate (insert something else edible in the house)

Love it!

Val Ann C said...

Your story made me laugh out loud! I'm so glad that you had a good-tasting meal after that ordeal. I have to think that if you had cooked the pluck, it would have made your house smell nasty.

Thanks for the smiles!!

Staci said...

I am SO excited to try your recipe. My husband is a Scotsman & I brought him over here to marry almost 10 years ago. He REALLY misses the food and I have tried and tried to track down haggis over here for him. His birthday is even on Robbie Burns Day and one year I did have one flown in on dry ice. It was kinda crazy. I can't wait to see what he thinks about it. I'm going to surprise him. BTW, my mother-in-law never cooks haggis in the stomach, so NO worries about that! =) You were VERY brave for giving it a whirl though!

Natasha said...

I've been following this blog for months and I have to say this my favorite entry- so funny!

Ranee said...

I have to defend browning the meat first. It caramelizes the sugars, concentrates the juices that drip out and makes the flavor much, much better.

Most of the times that I don't enjoy crockpot meals are when they are just chucked together, and everything ends up tasting the same. That's the biggest criticism of crockpot cooking I hear, and it is so easily remedied by browning the meat (and often the aromatics), and using much less liquid.

Angela's Kitchen said...

HGGIS?!?!! Whoa, honey! You are a nut! But yet part of me wants to try it, without the stomach, of course.

I get grossed out removing chicken skin... so the stomach/inside bits you braved? EWWWWwwww!

Meg said...

I clicked on a link called "haggis" on another post. I seriously thought it would take me to another website. And then you got to the part about bring home the box o'guts. And then I threw up in my mouth a little. And then I saw your recipe is made with ground meat and not ground guts and I felt better. I would have still eaten a cupcake. But I felt better.

Anna Breon said...

I've been reading through your blog from the beginng recently, and I've just come upon this entry. I'm not sure how to break it to you, but in all likelyhood, your sheeps pluck was labeled "not for human consuption" because it was a laboratory supply. Sheep's plucks are a common disection for studying the circulatory system. (I've done several. They are very instructive). I'd not use that butcher in the future were I you.

redcoat said...

M'am, you started of fine, you should have kept the lungs (lights in the UK),minced a half pound of them and put in your mixture,thrown away the puck,(this needs to be well cleaned and blanched if you are going to use it), carried on as you did, but instead of a puck use an oven bag to keep your mixture together. Then boil, steam or roast.For Robbie Burns night (jan 25th)Pipe the animal around the table before serving with rutabega and carrots mashed together with a hint of buter and whiskey, boiled or mashed potatoes, whiskey flavored gravy. Happy Robbie Burns night

Keefieboy said...

I love haggis, but have never made it myself. Now we live in Spain, and with Burn's Night coming up I got a craving for haggis. You can't buy it here, so I looked up a few recipes on the internet. I was pretty shocked at what goes into it!

I don't think you can call what you made any kind of haggis though: that's just meatloaf.

Kristin said...

This was so funny to read. Being 1/2 scottish, it cracked me up. I have to learn to put links in my blog so I can link this one.

AGirlWorthLosing said...

This is my favorite post on your site! Too funny! (and yucky!) Thanks for the hardy laugh!

Anonymous said...

I thought that haggis had a major liver component.

I had haggis on a trip to Scotland and thought it tasted like a livery sausage with oats.

Haggis made way-back-when was made (I think) with the liver, lungs and heart, ground up, seasoned and stuffed into the stomach.

malette said...

I love haggis. Being from the South, I have eaten things like liver Pudding and scrapple and such all my life, so haggis was no challenge.

Seems the Ulster Scots in North Carolina adapted their haggis recipes for pork, as mutton was not all that available, and there you go.

I might try that slow cooker recipe. Sounds like it might be a really good adaptation.

kim tori said...

I realise this post has long gone, but my guess is the green thing was the gallbladder. :)

On haggis, I grew up attending scottish gatherings as a child. I remember hanging out back with the ladies cooking in the kitchen and watching them check the haggis. Whenever I go into a country hall kitchen and smell stuff cooking, it always smells like that haggis to me.

Connie H. said...

I buy my lamb cut up from the butcher but I buy it 2 lambs at a time so I always get hearts, kidneys and livers, but not stomachs or lungs. So I tried haggis today - 1 package of 2 hearts, 1 of 4 kidneys and 1 of sliced liver. I cooked the hearts with some shanks yesterday and today I used the pressure cooker and cooked the hearts some more along with the juice from the shanks and the livers and kidneys. I used my stick blender to chop it all up and added the oatmeal and onions and spices and salt and brought it back up to pressure then put it in the retained heat cooker (no electricity or gas) and we will see how it turns out in an hour or so. It seems a lot like Pennsylvania Dutch scrapple, or a pilaf. It is a way to use up the parts that don't keep well, can't be salted and kept and need something to make it palatable.

Marie Mullen, Glasgow Scotland said...

You really are crazy. I am a Scot and I love haggis(just found your blog today via Rachel Ray show I saw this morning). My really fussy 4 year old also eats it and has been eating it since he was about 1yr old. Anyway I just wanted to say I don't know of anyone who makes Haggis from scratch. We buy it at the supermarket or butcher. Many are actually wrapped in a wee plastic casing which I cut off and then bung it in the microwave. (Robert Burns will be turning in his grave!) I serve it with mashed potato and mashed swede/ carrot. I would never make it from scratch as I am too scared to find out the ingredients. I suspect alot of the animal offcuts would be banned in the rest of europe and the world as not fit for human consumption

Lark said...

My husband's Scottish grandmother used to say proudly "We were poor, but never so poor that I had to serve haggis!"

Anonymous said...

I do the haggis for our Burns Night. Glad to find out that you can crockpot it! Make keeping it hot so much easier. I use barley instead of oats. Eveyone seems to like it.

Jim Waddell (Minnesota) said...

Haggis was the cheapest dish on the menu at the student union of Glasgow University. I ate a lot of it. On our very first family trip back to my homeland, we took a trip to Edinburgh, without the little food grinder we used to prepare a sub-sample of our food for our six month old. We needed to find something for her to eat, that did not require teeth --- Haggis fit the bill. The mashed tatties and neeps were a bonus. She loved it!
I don't think she would eat it now.

We are going to use your recipe for a "traditional Scottish dinner" that was auctioned off at a recent fund raiser. Would you believe someone paid $100 for a dinner for two.

Erin said...

A recipe for Haggis I could actually make! I love this blog and the flashback links. I had Haggis when I was about 12 or 13 in Scotland like you did, Steph. I didn't like it then, but I'm curious about it now and crockpot haggis looks a little more affordable for my student budget than a trip back to Scotland (though I'd love one). Might have to make this (or a version of it, I don't eat ground beef) soon...

Catt of the Garage said...

I second all the other comments! You are brave and nuts, and you should get a new butcher! While there was probably nothing wrong with your box o'guts to start with, if it was not intended as food, it was probably on the shelf for longer than is healthy. Offal has to be super fresh, it doesn't keep.

I'm Scottish, it's a bit rough for me to hear everyone dissing haggis as disgusting or something you eat when you're on skid row - it's a common meal here, we get it in tins and eat it at least every fortnight. It doesn't taste of guts and gore, it tastes like oaty meaty mince (with lots of pepper).

But as a previous poster said, nobody in Scotland makes it at home, any more than you'd buy a live chicken and butcher it yourself! It's disgusting and scary and would make your house stink. Definitely a job for the professionals!

Making haggis with ground meat is a good idea; it won't have quite the same flavour (bc no liver) but near enough. If you wants an easy haggis recipe which is slightly more authentic, replace the ground meat with ground liver - here's a recipe:

If you want to make a veggie haggis which tastes like the real thing, use a liver haggis recipe, substitute sauted portobello mushrooms for the liver and use veg suet or a bit of veg stock instead of the suet. Tastes so convincing nobody will believe you it's meat free!

Natalie said...

My dad is a veterinarian, so I just thought this was really, really funny. Thank you for sharing! Glad your haggis was a success!

Anonymous said...


Lena said...

So, I know that I am writing this way after the original post was written, but to clear up some confusion . . .

The "pluck" is the windpipe, heart and lungs - and Is considered "not for human consumption" because of the fear of transmitting BSE (mad cow). In traditional haggis this is ground and mixed in the the ground meat, oatmeal and spices for the haggis.

The wrapper, that is not eaten, is the a portion of the sheep stomach (they have a multiple compartment stomach like cows). The meat mixture is placed in the stomach and cooked, but only the inside is eaten.

I have had both good and bad haggis while traveling in Scotland - it can be done well and I don't mind eating lungs and heart - I do draw the line at kidneys. No thank you!

Hope that helps!


Tina Fisher said...

I love your site especially since we are newly gluten free & busy.

I think I just about got sick after reading the first part of this. And now I'm searching for something totally different under the beef category.


Lewi said...

Thanks for posting this!! I am from Scotland and have been in the States for 3 years now, and I miss Haggis beyond belief! My wife (american) gets weirded out by it, so hopefully this will get her over the whole sheeps stomach part.

Very interested to see how this turns out!!! Thanks again!


Speattle said...

I am part Scottish from my grandmother and I have to say I detest lamb, so the idea of ground up lamb, cooked in a sheep stomach rather turns mine, IYKWIM.

I've seen haggis, smelled haggis and it would never, ever cross my lips.

You are quite brave.

The masked product reviewer said...

My husband, who is of Scottish descent, made this for Burns' night earlier this year. There were NO leftovers. We're going to make it a few times a year because it's too good for just once! It also inspired us to try using oats in our regular meat loaf, as well.

Donna Sink said...

I followed your recipe exactly and it turned out absolutely delicious. The cloves especially gave it a slightly gamey tang. It's not real haggis, but it's a delicious meal! I will save the recipe and make it again for sure.

Sarah Rachelle said...

I tried haggis when I was in Scotland and loved it! It was just like a spicy meatloaf. I'm looking forward to making it using your recipe for a class I'm teaching on Robert Burns Night! :-)

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