We were there as guests of Macsween, the haggis people. Jo and James Macsween, the company’s joint MDs, were in celebratory mood for a number of reasons.
Firstly, Macsween is 60 this year and, happily, the company received a great birthday present in August when it was announced that their original haggis had been awarded three gold stars at the Taste awards. Macsween haggis is the only haggis to get three stars from Taste although their 60 second microwavable haggis and vegetarian haggis were also recognised - each winning one gold star.
Limited edition haggis
As well as this significant birthday, the family-run company were also celebrating the launch of two new, limited edition products.
Three Bird haggis is an elegant trio of grouse, pheasant and subtly smoked duck which is further pepped up with quince, lavender and spices. Deliciously rich, it would make a great alternative to game terrine or paté on hot toast.
We also tried venison haggis which was infused with port, juniper, redcurrants and spices. Almost certainly destined to be known as staggis, it was served as a Wellington of venison haggis.
Spice up the choice
People might always think of haggis as being made of lamb but that’s a fairly recent custom. According to James Macsween, ‘Haggis was historically made from a variety of animals, whatever ancient man was hunting. But, over the last 100 years, we have grown increasingly accustomed to lamb as the main ingredient. So we are using the 60th anniversary of our company to add extra excitement to haggis with a modern interpretation of our beloved, but little understood, dish.’
The Three Bird and Venison haggis can be ordered from Macsween.co.uk and, should you be thinking of celebrating St Andrew’s Day with one of the limited edition haggis, there’s a recipe for a venison haggis and fig tatin below.
Incidentally, we ate a five course, haggis-themed dinner and each course was paired with different Innis & Gunn expressions. The rum finish has a sweetness and plum flavour that matches particularly well with the venison haggis.
Venison haggis and fig tatin
1 roll Butter puff pastry
8 Fresh black figs
227g Venison haggis
50g Unsalted butter
50g Caster sugar
Maldon sea salt and black pepper to taste
80g Onion marmalade
16 Mini heads of fresh thyme
Heat the oven to 200c.
Roll out the puff pastry and cut 4 x 10/12 cm circles depending on the size of your mini pans, reserve.
Gently heat a saucepan, and then add the butter, sugar, and 30ml of cold water. Allow the sugar to dissolve, DO NOT SHAKE THE PAN!
Turn up the heat and cook to create a golden caramel. Watch the caramel as it thickens to ensure it doesn’t burn. Be very careful, the caramel will be very hot!
Remove from the heat and place the bottom of the pan into a bowl of cold water to cool the caramel.
Take four small pans and divide the liquid caramel equally into the pans (if the caramel has gone solid re-warm over a low heat.
Cut the figs in half and arrange four pieces in each pan, face down, place a 20gms disc of haggis in each centre.
Divide the remaining haggis between the four pans.
Take the four discs of puff pastry and spread with 20g of onion marmalade.
Place the pastry onion side down over the top of the figs and haggis, press down the edges evenly.
Now place the tartlets in the oven to bake for 14-16 minutes until the pastry is golden brown and crisp.
Remove from the oven and allow to stand for 3-4 minutes.
Place a plate over the top of the pan and invert quickly to turn out the tatin.
Transfer to clean plates and garnish with thyme leaves.