Haggis Neeps and Tatties. A traditional Scottish food. Lamb, rutabaga and potatoes come together with whiskey sauce for a beloved Scottish cuisine. Make this for your next Burn’s Supper!
Table of contents
What is Haggis, Neeps and Tatties?
I first had this dish at a Scottish festival in Austin, Texas before moving to Utah. I had heard about the dish and that it contained offal (organ meat). Other than that I was a haggis virgin. Curiosity took over. I have eaten liver, tongue and kidney before so I wasn’t intimidated like most of my friends. It was quite good. That actually surprised me a little since the mere mention of the word haggis seems to cause a slight distortion in the faces of my friends.
The next time I had haggis, I was sitting in a pub in Glasgow, Scotland. The perfect place to eat the National Dish of Scotland, don’t you think? The pub’s version was even better than the haggis I had in Austin. That is when I decided to take on this dish and de-mytify it for you lads and lasses.
I normally don’t go into this much detail for recipes but since this dish is very foreign to the English and Scottish ex-pats known as ‘Americans’, I did a deep dive. A ‘deep dive’ means getting lost in Wikipedia and YouTube btw.
Learn more about what you will find in an Irish Pantry.
Haggis is a mixture of a lambs pluck, oats, onions, suet and spices. The pluck is what is left of the lamb after the good stuff is removed. It usually includes the heart, liver, lungs and tongue. It is a form of nose to tail harvesting that was quite common in many countries before our time. It was cheap and usually given or sold to the poor.
After boiling the sheeps organs with onions, it is minced fine and mixed with the oats, suet and spices. This mixture is then stuffed into the lambs stomach, tied off and boiled for a few more hours.
After it has finished boiling for several hours, the haggis pouch is removed and split open. At this time it is ready for eating, sometimes served with rutabaga and potatoes for dinner or with a full Scottish breakfast.
In the UK and Ireland, you can find this traditional style of haggis in the market. It is usually encased in a stomach but may also be stuffed into natural sausage casing. In the US however, it is much harder to find. I used canned haggis that I ordered online. For some reason, I couldn’t find traditional haggis in Utah.
A neep by any other name.
Neeps are a member of the mustard family in the Genus Brassica. It is a cross between a cabbage and a turnip. It grows a lot larger than turnips but looks and tastes very similar. Neeps are known by different names, hopefully the list below will clear any confusion.
Scotland – NEEP
United States– RUTABAGA
England– SWEDE, perhaps due to the fact that neeps grew wild in Sweden.
Northern England– SNAGGER, I don’t know why it is known as a snagger. If you know, please leave a comment, I would like to know.
Tatties are potatoes. Simple translation but if you want to see an example of the Scots impenetrable accent, take a wee look at this Scottish Wiki article on tatties.
How Do You Make the Whiskey Sauce for Haggis?
A common, traditional sauce for haggis includes butter, cream and whiskey. From there you will find many translations of this wonderful sauce.
As with all recipes that are handed down, home cooks have tweaked traditional recipes into something of their own creation. Below are a few variations I found. If you know of any more, leave a comment please, I will be forever grateful.
Whiskey Sauce Variations
- dijon or yellow mustard
- onions or shallots
How do you Make Haggis Neeps and Tatties?
This dish is simple but I will warn you. It took me four pans to make this. I warmed the canned haggis on low in one pot while the other ingredients cooked. If you use traditional haggis, the kind that is stuffed into a stomach, you will use a big pot and simmer the haggis for a few hours. I used pot number two for the neeps, pot number three for the tatties and pot number four for the whiskey sauce. I hope this doesn’t turn you off, it was fun to make after all.
- Peel and chop neeps and tatties. Place each in their own pot, cover with water, add salt. Simmer until soft. Drain and mash with butter.
- Cook haggis. If using canned haggis, simply empty the contents into a small pot and warm on low with lid on. This will help the suet bathe the haggis. If using traditional haggis, place in a large pot of simmering water for at least one hour but most information I came across said 2-3 hours.
- Make sauce. Basically cook shallots in butter until softened. Add garlic if using and cook one more minute. Add broth and simmer for ten minutes. Add cream, butter and whiskey. Lower heat and stir frequently to keep the sauce from breaking. If it breaks, it tastes the same, it just isn’t as pretty.
- Assemble. The common method is to scoop on a plate. Scoop neeps, tatties and haggis next to each other. Then pour sauce over or along side. The fancy way is shown below. This is known as a Haggis Neeps and Tatties Stack. You will see this in restaurants and possibly at a Burn’s Supper. I wonder if there are any Burn’s Suppers in Utah. I’m feeling my inner Highlander self swelling with gàirdeachas.
Products from Amazon that may be helpful
Craving more recipes from this part of the world?
I have enjoyed exploring Irish cuisine with Colcannon, Coddle, Irish Stew, Beef & Guinness Pie, Champ and Irish Soda Bread. For a collection of these Irish Recipes click here. Are you thinking of traveling to this region? Check out my article on planning a trip to Ireland.
Scotland’s National Day
St. Andrews Day is Scotland’s official National Day. It is observed on November 30th with festivals celebrating Scottish culture and food.
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