Haggis is traditionally a Scottish dish that consists of the heart, liver, and lungs of a sheep or a calf minced with suet, onions, oatmeal, and seasonings and boiled in the stomach of the animal. It is believed that food similar to haggis, perishable offal quickly cooked inside an animal’s stomach
Haggis is traditionally served with “neeps and tatties”, boiled and mashed separately, and a dram (a glass of Scotch whisky). Neeps and tatties means rutabaga and potatoes boiled and mashed separately
In 1971 it became illegal to import haggis into the US from the UK due to a ban on food containing sheep lung, which constitutes 10 – 15 percent of the traditional recipe.
Haggis is used in a sport called haggis hurling, which involves throwing a haggis as far as possible
Haggis hurling is a Scottish sport involving the hurling of a haggis as far as possible for distance and accuracy from a top platform (usually a whisky barrel). The haggis must be edible after landing. Modern haggis hurling is judged on the basis of distance and accuracy of the hurl and a split or burst haggis is immediately disqualified, as the haggis must be fit to
eat after landing. The sport requires technique rather than brute force, as the hurl must result in a gentle landing to keep the haggis skin intact.
RULES AND REGULATIONS
- At the time of hurling the haggis should be cooled and inspected to ensure no firming agents have been applied. Rules dictate that the haggis must be packed tight and secure, with no extra “skin” or “flab.”
- The sporting haggis weighs 500 grams, with a maximum diameter of 18 cm and length of 22 cm. An allowance of ±30 grams is given and this weight is used in both junior and middle weight events.
ORIGIN OF HAGGIS HURLING
A widely accepted story of the origin of haggis hurling tells of a wife preparing a haggis for her husband’s lunch while he was out working in the fields. With the many rivers running through crofts and the presence of bogs, walking from the house to where the husband was working was very difficult. So, to save time the wife would toss the cooked haggis over the obstacle to her husband, which he would have to catch with the front apron of his kilt. Dropping it would mean haggis coated with dirt for lunch.
Turning this ancient time and effort saving practice into a sport reportedly came about in 1977, when Robin Dunseath placed an advertisement in one of Scotland’s national papers announcing that at the Gathering of the Clans in Edinburgh that year there would be a revival of the ancient Scottish sport of haggis hurling.
Dunseath remained as president of the World Haggis Hurling Association for almost 20 years, sending out certificates to champion haggis hurlers all over the world and even writing a book called the Complete Haggis Hurler, outlining the history and rules of the sport.The world record for haggis hurling was achieved by Lorne Coltart on 11 June 2011, who hurled his haggis 217 ft.
RECIPE OF HAGGIS
1 sheep stomach
1 sheep liver
1 sheep heart
1 sheep tongue
1/2 pound suet, minced
3 medium onions, minced
1/2 pound dry oats, toasted
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon dried ground herbs
- Rinse the stomach thoroughly and soak overnight in cold salted water.
- Rinse the liver, heart, and tongue. In a large pot of boiling, salted water, cook these parts over medium heat for 2 hours. Remove and mince. Remove any gristle or skin and discard.
- In a large bowl, combine the minced liver, heart, tongue, suet, onions, and toasted oats. Season with salt, pepper, and dried herbs. Moisten with some of the cooking water so the mixture binds. Remove the stomach from the cold salted water and fill 2/3 with the mixture. Sew or tie the stomach closed. Use a turning fork to pierce the stomach several times. This will prevent the haggis from bursting.
- In a large pot of boiling water, gently place the filled stomach, being careful not to splash. Cook over high heat for 3 hours.