The hag

Fair fa’ your honest, sonsie face,
Great chieftain o’ the puddin’-race!
Aboon them a’ ye tak yer place,
Painch, tripe, or thairm:
Weel are ye wordy o’ a grace
As lang’s my airm. – Rabbie Burns

So, after a couple of years cavorting in the mean streets of the UK’s undisputed food capital, The Butty has upped sticks and moved to the first city of the Scottish empire, Edinburgh. To celebrate this joyous relocation, today’s sandwich is spearheaded by one of the most stereotypical and misunderstood foodstuffs in the world – the haggis.

First things first – yes, this is basically an offal butty. Made of the heart, liver, lungs and various other bits of the sheep, a haggis basically takes all the parts of an animal that most people would balk at eating, and shoves them all inside its own stomach with oats, onion and suet. It tastes amazing – the easiest way to describe it is like a coarse, moist mince with a deliciously earthy, spiced flavour (good haggis has a noticeable heat from the seasoning). 

For this sandwich, the haggis is cooked for a good ninety minutes in the oven, wrapped in foil, and sitting in a pan of water to make sure it stays moist. You can get decent enough haggis in pretty much every supermarket these days – just be sure to get a whole one, rather than the ratty-looking slices. 

Once the meat is cooked and you’ve slashed the bugger open to unleash its steamy contents, several big, heaped forkfuls of the innards go onto some well-buttered wholemeal toast. On top, there’s a few rashers of sweet US streaky bacon, and a handful of parsnip crisps – just use a peeler to shred a parsnip down to wafer-thin strips, coat with oil and bake in the oven until nice and crunchy.

The butty’s finished with a beetroot salad and a good spread of English mustard – it might be painful to use Sassenach’s Choice on such a Scottish sanger, but Coleman’s pairs perfectly with the earthy meat inside. If you want a little bit of extra sweetness, you can always add a little cranberry or redcurrant jelly.

Like the last sandwich on here, this really is great winter fodder – hearty, filling and warm. There’s a reason haggis has inspired poetry and has stuck around for over 500 years, and if you can handle the idea of filling your own innards with a sheep’s, then this will knock your stockings off. Pour yourself a dram, and get cooking.

Kudos to Deeny’s (@deenys on Twitter) who do an amazing haggis sandwich, and inspired this homecoming entry!



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