Wednesday, January 28, 2009


There was a recent post on slashfood about haggis, which included a link to an interesting YouTube video. Of course this got me thinking. I've come across medieval recipes for haggis before, but I hadn't compared them to modern recipes. How different was medieval haggis?

The recipe in the program seemed pretty simple: onion, suet, sheep's offal, cracked wheat, and spices, all stuffed into a casing (traditionally a sheep's stomach, but in this case beef intestines) and boiled.

After a brief search I found a recipe in Two Fifteenth-Century Cookery-Books (England, 1430) titled Hagws of a schepe. It calls for sheep's offal, suet, spices, bread, egg yolks, and cream. All mixed, stuffed into the sheep's stomach, and boiled. That's very close - even the name is similar - all that's missing is the onion.

Here's the part that surprised me. After looking further, I didn't find any other recipes like this one. Nothing earlier from England, and nothing from any other country. This suggests that haggis is not only a very English dish, but it also hasn't changed in over 500 years.

Now the remaining question is: can I get my family to eat it? The kids maybe, but my wife hates the taste of liver. Maybe I can make a pseudo-haggis using ground lamb ...

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