With Burns Night on the horizon, our thoughts turn once more to haggis.
Earlier this week, we had a chat with James Macsween, Managing Director of the haggis makers Macsween.
Obviously, January is a busy time for haggis producers with Hogmanay/New Year’s Day and Burns Night being two of the big three annual haggis-scoffing occasions. St Andrew’s Day is the third.
According to James, January usually provides around one third of Macsween’s turnover.
In addition to UK consumers, the haggis market expanded considerably last year when Canada opened its doors to imported haggis for the first time.
‘Canada has the potential to be a great market for us,’ explains James. ‘There are more people claiming Scots-Canadian heritage in Canada than there are Scots living in Scotland. We were the first haggis brand to import into Canada and we aim to do a lot of business there.’
Not that this means, Macsween is taking its foot off the gas when it comes to promoting haggis closer to home.
Burns Night: Rabbie’s Haggis Afternoon Tea
To mark Burns Night, the Edinburgh-based haggis makers have teamed up with beer and restaurant brand Innis & Gunn to host a haggis afternoon tea at two Innis & Gunn Beer Kitchens.
Available in the Edinburgh and Glasgow Beer Kitchens from Monday 22nd to Sunday 28th January, Rabbie’s Haggis Afternoon Tea, including a ½ pint of Innis & Gunn Original, is £15 for two people.
Each element of the tea includes Macsween’s haggis as an ingredient. Having sampled Rabbie’s Haggis Afternoon Tea, we can vouch for the haggis sausage rolls; the haggis in a brioche bun and, of course, the haggis Scotch egg is a no-brainer.
Against our expectations, the chocolate truffle flavoured with haggis spices was also a nippy treat.
Commenting on the afternoon tea, James said: ‘There’s no better way to celebrate the renowned Robert Burns than with a delicious haggis. Here at Macsween, we’re excited to be working with Innis & Gunn on a unique afternoon tea menu that celebrates the versatility of haggis and will hopefully make haggis even more accessible to everyone.
‘We are constantly looking at ways to share the experience of haggis both here and abroad. We hope this will also show that haggis isn’t just for Burn’s Night and not just eaten with the traditional neeps and tatties. Haggis can be enjoyed really easily in toasties, with nachos and as a lasagne. Hopefully, our afternoon tea at Innis & Gunn Beer Kitchen will inspire more people to be adventurous and enjoy haggis in alternative ways.’
Chipotle Vegetarian Haggis Nachos
And if you fancy a less conventional haggis dish for Burns Night, here’s a recipe for chipotle-flavoured haggis nachos. It’s titled ‘Vegetarian Nachos’ but there is no reason why you couldn’t use traditional haggis, if you wanted.
Chipotle flavoured haggis nachos
Prep: 5 minutes
Cooking time: 20 minutes
1 tbsp olive oil
100g Macsween traditional or vegetarian haggis
1 clove of garlic
1 tbsp tomato paste
½ chilli powder
½ tsp- chipotle peppers, dry or canned
2 tbsp water
1 bag/180g lightly salted corn chips
100 g cheddar, grated
4 cherry tomatoes, halved
2 spring onions, sliced
½ red chilli, sliced
For the lime crema
125 ml sour cream
1 lime, juice only
Heat the olive oil in a large pan and dice the onion.
Cook the onion over low heat for 5-7 minutes, add minced garlic and cook for 2 minutes more, then add crumbled vegetarian haggis.
Add cumin, chilli powder, chipotle peppers, salt, tomato paste and water. Stir to combine and heat through.
Preheat the oven to 200C.
Make the lime crema by mixing sour cream and lime juice.
Arrange corn chips on a baking sheet or a cast iron pan and spread the chipotle haggis over them, top with grated cheese, cherry tomatoes, spring onions and sliced chillies, bake in the oven for 10 minutes until the cheese is melted.
Serve with lime crema and prepared salsa.