Gie Her a Haggis! Burns Celebration and Recipe...

by Dr. Jessie Voigts /
Dr. Jessie Voigts's picture
Jan 26, 2009 / 1 comments

In celebration of Robert Burns' birthday (250 +years ago!), a Burns supper

I love all things scottish. My parents annually attend a Burns Night Celebration. With a 6-year old, though, we have different options for celebrating!

Today, in honor of the poet Robert Burns, we are planning a Burns Night Celebration, complete with haggis (vegetarian - i love haggis but not the thought of it - so must go veggie here), smoked fish, leeks, neeps and tatties, and cranachan for dessert. bagpipes. plaid. i can almost smell the Highlands (my favorite part of Scotland). For sure, we could smell the delicious haggis...

Vegetarian Haggis #Recipe

At a traditional Burns Night Celebration, you start out with the Selkirk Grace:

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.

It is also customary to recite one of the most famous of Burns' poems:

Address to a Haggis

by Rabbie Burns (1786)

Fair fa' your honest, sonsie face,
Great chieftain of the pudding-race!
Aboon them a' ye tak your place,
Painch, tripe, or thairm:
Weel are ye wordy o' a grace

The groaning trencher there ye fill,
Your hurdies like a distant hill,
Your pin wad help to mend a mill
In time o'need,
While through your pores the dews distil
Like amber bead.

His knife see rustic labour dight,
And cut you up wi' ready slight,
Trenching your gushing entrails bright.
Like ony ditch; And then, O what a glorious sight,
Warm-reekin', rich!

Then, horn for horn, they stretch an' strive:
Deil tak the hindmost! On they drive,
Till a' their weel-swall'd kytes belyve
Are bent like drums;
Then auld guid man, maist like to rive,
"Bethankit!" hums.

Is there that o'er his French ragout
Or olio that wad staw a sow,
Or fricassee wad make her spew
Wi' perfect scunner,
Looks down wi' sneering, scornfu' view
On sic a dinner?

Poor devil! See him owre his trash,
As feckless as wither'd rash,
His spindle shank, a guid whip-lash;
His nieve a nit;
Thro' bloody flood or field to dash,
O how unfit!

But mark the rustic, haggis-fed,
The trembling earth resounds his tread.
Clap in his walie nieve a blade,
He'll mak' it whistle,
And legs, and arms, and head will sned,
Like taps o' thrissle.

Ye powers, wah mak mankind your care,
And dish them out with their bill o' fare,
Auld Scotland wants nae skinking ware
That jaups in luggies;
But, if ye wish her gratefu' prayer
Gie her a haggis!


Lastly, here's a recipe for Vegan Haggis...

Vegan Haggis

This impressive dish will be a triumph at your Burns Night supper. Recipe for Vegan Haggis contributed by Mike Lewis

The haggis is Scotland's most famous contribution to the culinary arts. Vegetarians who know what it contains would leave the country rather than risk eating it, but fortunately we have found an excellent vegan version which is not only healthier than  the original, it tastes a lot better too.

Haggis is, of course, the centerpiece of the traditional Burns Night supper, held each year on January 25. It is served amid much pomp and ceremony - not to mention whisky. It is usually eaten with mashed potato and neeps (rutabaga), the two vegetables often being mashed together with a liberal dose of ground pepper.

This recipe can be prepared in advance, ready to bake before serving. The quantities are for four people, but don't worry if the servings look small - the dish is very filling.

    * ½ cup (3 oz, 75 g) fine oatmeal (the pinhead variety works best)
    * 2/3 cup (4 oz, 110g) of brown or green lentils
    * 1 large onion, chopped
    * 1 tbsp. vegetable oil
    * 2 large carrots, finely grated
    * 4 to 6 mushrooms, sliced
    * 1 tsp. ground spices (your choice of cumin, turmeric, paprika or nutmeg, in any combination)
    * 1 tbsp. soy sauce
    * One 14-oz (400 g) can of kidney beans, drained and rinsed
    * 2 cloves of garlic, finely minced
    * Salt and pepper to taste
    * Knob of dairy-free margarine (i used butter of course!)

Oven: Pre-heat to 375F (190C)

Put the oatmeal in a bowl and cover with water. Let it stand for at least an hour. Drain thoroughly.

Place the lentils in a pan of water and boil rapidly for 20 - 30 minutes or until soft (the time will vary according to the type of lentils). When the lentils are ready, drain and rinse them in a sieve.

Sautée the onion in the oil until it is soft. Add the carrots and mushrooms, and cook for a little longer. Then add the spices, soy sauce, cooked lentils and about a quarter of the kidney beans.

Using a food processor or blender, purée the remainder of the beans to form a thick paste (add a little water if necessary toprevent it getting too stiff). Add this to the lentil and vegetable mixture.

Finally, add the drained oatmeal, salt and pepper, and the garlic. If the mixture looks too dry, add the margarine. Mix well.

 Transfer to an oven-proof dish and bake for 30 to 40 minutes.



and so, gie her a haggis! Happy birthday, Robert Burns!

For more information on Robert Burns and the Burns Night supper, click here.



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