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  • Haggis!

    Our national dish here in Scotland!

    On one hand, it's a very convenient and tasty way to get some organ meats in - liver, heart, and lungs. Usually from sheep/lamb, although cheaper varieties (like the round bits you get with a cooked breakfast) use beef. There's also a healthy amount of beef fat in there.

    On the other hand, it's got oats in it. Not the worst kind of grain from what I gather, but grains nonetheless.

    Yesterday I found some MacSween's "cocktail haggis" (yes, really) on offer: . It's basically a bunch of mini-haggises linked together like sausages. Had some with my eggs and bacon for breakfast today, delicious and filling!

    Overall I'd say it's something to have every so often, perhaps I'll buy some every few weeks and have it with breakfast for a few days to get the benefits of the organ meats. The oats put me off making it a daily staple, and oat-free/gluten-free/low carb haggis doesn't seem to exist. Although maybe it can be made? Making haggis sounds messy but I believe a friend of mine who's a bit of a foodie once did so.

    Thoughts? Is it widely available outside Scotland? Here it's in every supermarket so as I say it seems like an easy way to get a good organ meat helping.

  • #2

    It's pretty much available in northern England but wouldn't fancy my chances down south. Also not sure of the quality. I even found some for my dad at a local food festival - it was in a proper stomach and everything!

    I must admit it's the oats / pearl barley that put doubts in my mind, plus I'm not sure what else is in there grain-wise.

    But I'm kicking myself for not getting one for me to try too - seeing as my offal cooking ventures are not going well...


    • #3

      Seems like the decent quality stuff only has oats, but the cheaper stuff (like the round bits I mentioned) can have wheat too.

      Found some nutritional info:

      20g carbs per 100g... a bit higher than I thought, definitely not something to make a daily staple! Still a lot better than the traditional porridge breakfast though!


      • #4

        Haven't seen it down here in Southampton. It's a bit of a seasonal thing i.e. two weeks before Burns night.

        I'm heading north of the border next week for a spot of hill-walking, so I will definately hunt some down.


        • #5

          I'm all about eating animals, but I draw the line at eating organs.

          This includes complete organisms like oysters and clams. I just can't do it.


          • #6


            Our national dish here in Scotland!

            On one hand, it&#39;s a very convenient and tasty way to get some organ meats in - liver, heart, and lungs.</blockquote>

            Yes, "lights" as they&#39;re known as in butchery/food circles.

            I can see what you mean by a good way to eat organ meats. I don&#39;t know about the lights, but liver and heart are packed with nutrients. Organ meats are the most highly prized parts of the carcase among primitives. The liver is actually regarded as sacred among the Nuer. Modern people have their preferences in meat upside-down.

            I bought a haggis a few weeks ago with just the same thoughts as you had. However, I froze it, and haven&#39;t eaten it yet. I think they&#39;re quite widely available in England as well as Scotland. The one I found was just in Sainsburys, sitting there with the sausages.


            • #7

              You should be able to get one all over the UK, I think Hall's is the most famous brand. of course, the may be a few issues for hardcore Primal people, but I'm sure you can find worse thing to have in your 20% of your 80/20 way of doing things. I am a great fan of a lot of traditional Scottish delicacies: haggis, whisky, Toblemory smoked trout and my beautiful wife! So, give haggis a try, there's about 15-20g of protein per 100g too and a similar amount of fat, so something to balance out all those carbs, maybe a good refuelling food for those hard workout days. Of course, the carb load is 'boosted' by the 'neeps and tatties', so maybe not an everyday food for the particularly zealous PBers, but maybe someone could try a 'haggis a day for 60 days' experiment and see what happens!! And anyway, it beats the Irn Bru and deep fried Mars Bar diet...


              • #8
                You can get haggis here in Sussex quite easily. But it is the oats that put me off now. I used to love the taste and we had a lot of it when I was a child in Northumberland.

                I had one burst when I was cooking it - dissolved in the water. So I added cream and fried onion and it made a jolly nice soup!


                • #9
                  Ahhhhh... I was just in Edinburgh a few weeks ago. My ancestors (grand mother) was born in Parkhead, by Glasgow.

                  I've never seen a hagis ouside of the UK. Certainly not in the US. You are probably about as likely as to get Haggis in Pennsylvania as you are to get Scrapple in Scotland.


                  • #10
                    I was stationed in Thurso, Scotland from 86-88. I purchased a canned haggis with a tartan label with Robert Burns' famous poem printed on it.
                    I sent it to my friend in the States as a gift. When she moved to Alaska, she gave it back to me. I still have it--it is a fixture of every place I have lived. It's not as nomadic as it once was, because I bought a house 13 years ago. It is sitting on the top shelf where I can see its cheery label every time I open the cupboard.
                    Open it? Not without full hazmat gear and a bomb squad in attendance!
                    "Wait! I'll fix it!"
                    "Problems always disappear in the presence of a technician."
                    "If you can't improvise, what are you doing out in the field?"


                    • #11
                      Just to bump up the haggis debate again, I'm scottish and particularly fond of this mythical beast for breakfast...
                      As I'm fairly new to Primal/Paleo eating (2 weeks in and loving it for various reasons I'll probably expand on at some point), anyway.
                      Its the oat content that concerns me, are we saying its okay, as its not the the main content, (thinkin 80/20 here) or are we strickly saying oat free.... same concerns with blackpudding, which again has other good stuff going on in it.

                      And .... what about sausages, I'm looking at things with rusk and wheat flour in them, thats off right? Despite it being 97% meat??

                      Often think its incredible that we're the heart attack captial of the world here, despite all the fantastic local produce.....mind boggles at that one.

                      Thanks in advance guys


                      • #12
                        It depends on how strict you want to be skinnybuddah - I'm doing this for health reasons and although recognise that grains are not good for us, I don't have any major intolerance. So, I would probably eat good quality haggis once in a while and a bit of black pudding probably a bit more often than that.

                        Oh, and the haggis from Findlay's is much better than MacSweens


                        • #13
                          Thanks for that spuddygirl, will look out for Findlays any stockists you can recommend?. (Actually had a look at Macsweens v Simon Howies today and MacSweens seemed lighter in oats)

                          I'm with ya on the black pudding....again same concerns eh, but I'm so looking forward to being in Harris again this year where I can breakfast on stornoway blackpudding and handdived scallops....

                          I'm keen to be as strict as I can to be honest, although I may keep out wheat/flour/breads 100% and allow a couple of treats like haggis and blackpudding a couple of times a month..


                          • #14
                            I really love MacSween Haggis - this is one of the few things I really miss!


                            • #15
                              I always used to keep a Hall's haggis in the freezer (Tesco always have them on the shelves down here) - microwaves from frozen in a few minutes and browns up a bit like being fried (presumably the fat content) and perfect with tinned marrowfat peas.

                              Not on my current eating plan, but maybe occasionally in the future once I've shed the extra poundage. Hmmm, does make me think though, how would it taste to just mince up a load of liver and kidney along with regular lamb/mutton mince. Will have to give that a go I think.
                              Me, My Father and The Alzheimer's -