Lets just get one thing clear, I don’t think Scottish people really eat that much haggis. Yes I know its our national dish but I’ll let you in on a little secret: haggis is something we Scots tend to eat only around Burns night. But do you know what, I get it. In all respects haggis is kinda weird: the ingredients, appearance, smell, and flavour are all firmly in that marmite spectrum of love and loathe.
That being said, we Scots are mad about Burns night and even if we don’t like haggis, we’ll still proudly and patriotically (while wearing all the tartan we can get our hands on) sing its praises on January 25th. But while we’re on the subject, we Scot’s don’t actually wear that much tartan and the majority of us have never tried the deep fried mars bar. Christ, I don’t even like Irn Bru (am I really Scottish?)
I just want to provide a safe haven to encourage the non-haggis lovers to come out of shadows and admit it.
Veggie Haggis & Mushroom Bites
I’m going out on a limb (and potentially giving the SNP an excuse to ban me from the country come the Scottish independence) but I prefer veggie haggis. I know, I know: its not actually haggis unless it contains the majority of sheep organs, but I stand by my conviction. Veggie haggis is lighter and less…how can I say it:
awful offal tasting and smelling.
Anyway, in my mind, when it come to deep frying haggis, the regular stuff is too heavy for that. With the veggie option, you get a light soft filling which lends itself perfectly to a deep-fried crispy outside. And most importantly, you can happily eat 12 of them and not feel like you’re about to give birth to a food baby afterwards.
Without the flour, egg, breadcrumb coating, these will keep in the fridge for 2-3 days or can be frozen. Alternatively, you can warm them in the oven the following day so they can be made in advance.
Cook the haggis according to the packet instructions. If you want to speed things up a little then I suggest microwaving if this is an option with the haggis you’ve bought. Add the cooked haggis into a large bowl and break it up with a fork.
Meanwhile, add the oil & butter to a large frying pan. Add the finely chopped mushrooms, spring onion and dried thyme, and cook over a low-medium heat for 5-7 minutes until softened. Remove from the heat and scrape the mushroom mixture into the bowl of haggis. Season (very lightly) with a pinch of salt, add a handful of chopped parsley, and stir until combined.
When the haggis mixture is cool enough to handle, take small chunks of the mixture and shape into walnut-sized balls.
Coat the haggis balls in flour, then dip in beaten egg, and then coat in breadcrumbs.
Pour 1-2cm of oil into a frying pan and heat over a medium heat. You can test whether the oil is hot enough by tossing in a small piece of bread: if it sizzles and turns golden brown in less than 60 seconds, the oil is ready.
Fry the haggis balls in batches, turning frequently, until golden brown and crisp. Drain on some kitchen paper.
Serve with a wee dram and some Vietnamese dipping sauce (weird combo yes, but it works).