Welcome to another exciting episode of "Cooking with mathNEWS". Happy New Year to all! We'll be featuring the best of Oriental cooking in an upcoming issue, but this issue, as promised, I'll introduce you to the pleasures of re-cooked haggis.
Let me begin by explaining what haggis is, for the gastronomically unenlightened amongst you. Haggis is a dish of Scottish origin, consisting of oatmeal, spices, and ground-up beef or sheep heart and liver—and occasionally other body parts—boiled up in a sheep or cow stomach or intestine. While this may seem revulsive to you, let me remind you that these are—minus the oatmeal—the typical ingredients of your hot dog wiener.
Why the Scots created this dish is a bit of a mystery... My speculation is that it would be a good way of preserving food, the reasoning being that nothing and no-one but a Scotsman (or Scotswoman, I guess) would actually eat it; not insects, not bacteria... you get the idea. Despite its dubious reputation, I find haggis an excellent delicacy. I usually add a bit of salt and pepper because it otherwise tends to be a bit on the bland side. Some people add copious amounts of scotch; this makes it into scotch-flavoured mush and I would personally recommend against it.
Given its the tasty nature, it may come as a surprise to you that recently, my roommate and I, as a result of an otherwise-successful potluck dinner, ended up with a large quantity of leftover haggis. However this was indeed the case; what were we to do? They say, "When life gives you lemon, make lemonade." We decided to follow the same line of thinking: "When life gives you haggis, make haggis-burgers!"
The excellent recipes in this installment come from the personal cookbook of my roommate Matt, who is to be commended on his spirit of creativity and innovation. Bravo! Only from the mind of a mathie could come such "original" thinking... So, here they are:
There's nothing like the smell of haggis first thing in the morning; makes me bolt right out of bed and to the kitchen. A haggis omelet also makes an excellent lunch dish. You'll need:
Beat the eggs until whites and yolks are well-combined. Whisk in the milk and mix in the haggis. Add salt and spices, to taste. Cook as any omelet: in a greased or non-stick frying pan over medium heat. When the omelet is cooked all the way through (the top is no longer liquid), sprinkle the mozzarella onto it and fold the omelet.
Matt suggests enjoying the omelet with toast and ketchup. As a lunch disk, you may want a slightly more substantial side dish, such as rice or pasta.
As a sort of addition to last issue's macaroni and cheese showcase, let me present to you yet another KD elaboration: Scottish-style. Ingredients are:
Prepare the macaroni and cheese as directed. Stir in the haggis. As I said last issue, the "white cheddar" KD has a more delicate flavour and works better in combination with other ingredients. Mmm-mm.
Essentially, this is "haggis on a bun"; how fast can you say, "Two all-haggis patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions on a sesame-seed bun"? Actually, it's not much of a departure from your favourite sandwich from Chez Ronald: the latter has got plenty of filler such as oatmeal or sawdust, and when they say "all-beef" patties they don't actually tell you what part of the cow is used; I'm betting it's not prime sirloin cut. Here's how to re-create that fine dining experience with our favourite Scottish dish:
I hope it's not necessary to go into the details of how a hamburger or cheeseburger is assembled; basically, throw everything between the two halves of the bun. The order and placement of ingredients is a bit of a religious debate, so we'll let the Imprint waste paper and ink on that hot topic...
When I lived in Québec's Saguenay region (Lucien Bouchard's neck of the woods) I would enjoy—very occasionally—something called cretons, basically ground-up pork bound together into a pâté with lard. Delicious on toast or French baguette. In comparison, haggis is an equally delicious but considerably more healthy substitute. You'll need:
Toast the bread to your liking. Spread the haggis on top, and add salt and pepper. By adding a few more ingredients you can also make this into a delicious sandwich.
This fine dish will have you saying, "Yo quiero Haggis Bell!" Here's what goes into it:
Re-heat the haggis in the microwave or on a frying pan. Add salt and pepper, to taste. For more of a Mexican flavour, add chili powder. Prepare the tacos as you please; I usually put in the haggis, tomato, green pepper, lettuce, salsa, and cheese in that order, because I think it helps keep the ingredients neatly contained within the taco shell while I eat it. Order of assembly is your prerogative, though, so be creative... Make a run for the highlands!
Well, that's all for our exclusive all-haggis issue. I hope that this installment of "Cooking with mathNEWS" has expanded your ideas about that great traditional dish of the Scots. It's great, and it is oatmeal!
Stay tuned for the next enlightening episode of "Cooking with mathNEWS". In the next issue, I'll uncover the wonders of my favourite food seasoning and additive, MSG... Bon appétit!
mathNEWS Culinary Consultant
(with a little help from my roommate Matt)