Some hae meat and canna eat,
And some wad eat that want it;
But we hae meat, and we can eat,
And sae the Lord be thankit.
- Robert Burns
The business of school, home, and grad work have conspired to delay this post 10 days or so, and I figured I should probably get some pictures and a recipe up here to document our first Burns Night Dinner. We made it about as traditional as we could, with everything save the sheep’s stomach (which is near impossible to get, apparently) and the full Address to a Haggis. We did have a haggis-inspired lamb sausage with liver and oats, cockaleekie soup, Cullen skink (smoked fish chowder, thanks to Josh), neeps and tatties, 80 shilling ale (brewed with smoked barley), several drams of Glenmorangie, and kilts (thanks to Eric, our resident brewer and outfitter of kilts). We started things off with the Selkirk Grace, and finished the evening with Grandma’s shortbread. It was a terrific afternoon-into-evening, and a tradition I think we all are excited to continue.
Lamb Sausage with Liver and Oats
I hesitate to call this haggis sausage, since I’m sure the purists would be up in arms, but it’s got everything except for the lamb heart, which we’ll get next year, and the stomach to case it all in. I wonder if the sheep’s stomach is overrated. Next year we’ll be a little more on the ball so that we can get the lamb heart and liver though. I think I’d still use some shoulder, and maybe a shade less beef fat. This was a fine sausage.
- 2 lb lamb shoulder
- 1/2 lb lamb or calves liver
- 1 lb beef fat
- 1/2 lb oats, toasted
- 2 onions, minced
- 21 g kosher salt
- 3 cloves of garlic, smashed
- 1T of garam masala spice
- a good splash or two of Scotch
- 1/2 c ice water
- 5-6 feet hog casings
Sear the liver in a medium-hot pan until each side has some good brown bits. Set aside in a bowl to cool, and deglaze the pan with a splash of Scotch. Cube the lamb and fat, add the liver and the pan juices, salt and spices, onions, garlic, and oats, and chill overnight, or at least for a few hours. About an hour before you’re going to grind, put the meat mixture and your grinding plates and blades into the freezer. Grind through the small die into a mixing bowl set in ice water. Add another good glug of Scotch and the 1/2 cup of ice water, and mix with the paddle attachment of a standing mixer on medium speed for a minute or two. This will help it all stick together. Haggis isn’t as dense sausage as your standard Italian links or bratwurst, but I thought a little coherence here would be good.
Stuff into hog casings (or something larger if you have it). Twist into links. Brown well (but slowly) in a skillet, and let them finish in the oven while you mash the turnips and potatoes. Note: I used regular rolled oats here because I knew these sausages weren’t in for a 3-hour simmer. If you’re going to stuff this into a beef bung, or if you manage to procure a stomach, then everything will benefit from the longer cooking time, and pin or steel cut oats would be best (from everything I read).