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Health Food of the month - Haggis

January 2018

haggis

Previous Health Foods of the Month...

Mincemeat

Mascarpone

Chesnuts


 

Diet & Supplements Index

Waitrose Recipes

Most people have heard of haggis; the traditional Scottish dish that is closely associated with Burns night in January each year.

Burns suppers, or Burns nights, are held on or around the Scottish poet’s birthday on January 25th and along with special readings and other foods, a major aspect of formal events is the piping in of the haggis. 

This is when a haggis is brought in on a large dish accompanied by a piper playing the bagpipe. But what exactly is a haggis and is it good for you?

The true origins of this very Scottish dish seem to have been lost in the mists of times, and there are many different stories as to how it originated.  But possible the most reliable albeit one of the least glamorous is that it was a way of cooking and preserving offal that would otherwise have quickly gone off after a major hunt.

Basically haggis comprises a sheep’s “pluck”. This means its heart, its liver and its lungs. To make it edible and tasty, these are traditionally minced down with onions and then mixed with oatmeal, suet, salt and a variety of spices, held together with stock. 

The thing that creates the most comment is its method of cooking. Traditionally all these ingredients were rolled up and then stuffed into the animal’s stomach and then boiled. It doesn’t sound very appetising but it worked well creating a really tasty dish that has been hugely popular across Scotland for generations.

Today modern haggis is usually made with a commercially prepared “thin” sack instead of an animal’s stomach, but other than that the dish has remained pretty well the same for decades.

There are lots of benefits from haggis as offal particularly is really nutritious. For a start, as a meat, the offal is packed with proteins and amino acids. The heart and liver is packed full of vitamins including A, C B6, B12, Niacin and vitamin D. It is also full of iron, magnesium, selenium, calcium, zinc and copper, all essential minerals that can contribute to numerous aspects of health including bone strength, resistance, circulation and even oxygen transportation in the body.

The oatmeal in a haggis is also full of good nutrition and fibre too. The downside comes from the suet, there can be a lot of fat and salt in a haggis so while the meal is fine as a one off treat, it is not a food that should be eaten everyday by any means.

Today you can find a range of commercially prepared haggis in the shops, many which have been prepared with specially created healthy recipes. Vegetarian haggis is also available although the taste won’t be quite the same.

You can also try and make your own which can be fun as you can alter the flavour by adjusting the spices.

bbc.co.uk/food/recipes/haggis

greatbritishchefs.com/traditional-haggis-recipe

 

 


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