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Haggis Neeps and Tatties With Whiskey Butter Cream Sauce

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!

Whiskey butter sauce pouring over a haggis stack.

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.

Haggis in Glasgow
This is my second Haggis, in Glasgow, Scotland.

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.

The Royal Mile in Edinburgh, Scotland.

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

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.

Neeps

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

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.

Whiskey butter sauce pouring over a haggis stack.

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
  • garlic
  • nutmeg

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.

Step-By-Step

  • 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

Ingredients for Haggis Neeps and Tatties with Whiskey Sauce.
Assemble and prep your ingredients.
Boiled potatoes in a pot next to a pot of boiled neeps.
Boil your neeps and tatties until soft. Add butter. Mash.
A round tin.
Use a round food ring to make your stack. I used a small Chile can. I just cut out both sides. This one worked well, it didn’t have any ridges and had a slick plastic lining.
Haggis stacks on a baking sheet.
Scoop a wee bit of haggis in the food ring, pat down with a rubber spatula. Then add the tatties and neeps, again patting it down to remove air pockets. Then lift the ring carefully. You can plate it out to serve right away or plate it on a baking sheet to keep warm in the oven until you are ready to serve.
A haggis stack on a white plate with Whiskey sauce.
Serve right away or keep in a warm oven until ready to serve.

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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Whiskey butter sauce pouring over a haggis stack.

Haggis Neeps and Tatties With Whiskey Butter Cream Sauce

Yield: 6 stacks
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 3 hours
Total Time: 3 hours 30 minutes

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!

Ingredients

  • 2 cups rutabaga, outside layer removed, chopped into small cubes (200g)
  • 2 cups starchy potatoes, peeled, chopped into small cubes (200g)
  • salt
  • 10 Tbs salted butter, divided (142 g)
  • 1 shallot, peeled and minced
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • 1 cup broth of your choice (225 mL)
  • 1/4 cup whiskey (60 mL)
  • 1 cup heavy cream (225 mL)
  • 14.5 oz can haggis (408g) See note below if you are using traditional haggis.

Instructions

  1. In pot #1, boil potatoes (tatties) with 1 Tbs salt until softened, about 30 minutes.  Mash with 1 Tbs butter and set aside.
  2. In pot #2, boil rutabaga (neeps) with 1 Tbs salt until softened, about 30 minutes.  Mash with 1 Tbs butter and set aside.
  3. While the neeps and tatties are boiling, prepare whiskey sauce as follows.  In pot #3 add 1 Tbs butter over medium heat, add shallot.  Cook until shallot is soft then add garlic, stir constantly for one minute.  Add broth and whiskey, simmer for 15 minutes.  Then add cream and butter, reduce heat to just under a simmer, stirring often.  The sauce will thicken a little while cooking.
  4. While whiskey sauce is simmering, heat haggis in pot #4 over low-medium heat, stirring often.  You may also heat in microwave.  See note below if you are using traditional haggis.
  5. When whiskey sauce is done and the haggis is heated/cooked, assemble as follows.  For a traditional plating, scoop haggis, neeps and tatties on plates and pour whiskey sauce over.  If plating the fancy way, scoop a wee bit of haggis in the food ring, pat down with a rubber spatula.  Then add the tatties and neeps, again patting it down to remove air pockets.  Then lift the ring carefully.  You can plate it out to serve right away or plate it on a baking sheet to keep warm in the oven on low temp, around 200F until ready to serve.  For a Burns Supper, it might be easier to plate it out on platters, family style.

Notes

  • If using traditional haggis, the kind that is cooked in the stomach or casing, you will need to start cooking this 1-2 hours before you start the rest of this recipe.  Simply place in large pot, cover with water and simmer for 2-3 hours total.  When done you may cut open and serve as usual.
  • If you can't find rutabaga, you may use turnips.
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1 Stack
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 604Total Fat: 50gSaturated Fat: 30gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 16gCholesterol: 227mgSodium: 460mgCarbohydrates: 23gFiber: 3gSugar: 6gProtein: 14g

Did you make this recipe?

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Donna

Monday 11th of November 2019

Historically I would definitely have had a turn up the nose reaction, but now I am leaning towards a more 'zero-waste' lifestyle this is definitely something I was keen to learn more about. I grew up in Ireland and we ate a lot of black pudding, and steak and kidney pie, but I have yet to try haggis - nice to learn so much about it, thanks for sharing :)

Tina

Tuesday 12th of November 2019

Hey Donna, that's great that you grew up there! I fell in love with Ireland and if I were going to be an ex-pat, it would definitely be Ireland. Scotland was beautiful too but I couldn't understand them. It's funny how food comes full circle. The way the farmed 80 years ago is called organic today. Nose to tail was out of necessity and now it's socially responsible. Glad you found this helpful. I want to try steak and kidney pie:)

Debra

Thursday 7th of November 2019

Oh My! Such decadence here...in every bite. Thank you so much for the education, I feel so enlightened. The step by step was helpful....I too am a virgin to this whole idea.

Tina

Friday 8th of November 2019

I hope that was helpful. I enjoyed making it and eating it and have fond memories of Dublin.

Trish Bozeman

Wednesday 6th of November 2019

I'm with Dana! I'm more than a just little Scottish, but learned so much about Scottish cuisine reading this post. So... pretty far removed from my heritage! I wish we could get back to the nose to tail way of eating animals and I would definitely give this a try. Especially with that whiskey sauce!

Tina

Friday 8th of November 2019

Scotland has such a rich past. I've learned so much through its food and The Outlander;P

Jenni LeBaron

Monday 4th of November 2019

I LOVE haggis! I think it's an intimidating dish for some people to try for some reason, but they are missing out, because the dish is legitimately so delicious. I ate traditional haggis at every opportunity when I visited Scotland and I love making an American version as well. Can't wait to try your version of this tasty dish!

Tina

Friday 8th of November 2019

How exciting for you to visit Scotland. I want to go back, do you have any suggestions Jenni?

Dana

Monday 4th of November 2019

I learned quite a bit in this post. Oddly enough, I'm part Scottish. A terrible Scot, it seems, because I've never had haggis and didn't know half of this stuff. Haha. I definitely lean toward the side of twisting my face at the mention of haggis. However, the French in me has enjoyed pate since I was a little girl and hey—that can be made with leftover unpopular bits. So I should put on my adventurer's bib and give it a go sometime. Give a nod to my Scottish side.

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