Saturday marks the 255th birthday of the great Scottish poet Robbie Burns, and as such, we are celebrating a Burns Night with a group of friends. Every Burns Night needs three things: good Scotch whisky (single malt, please), incomprehensible poetry, and haggis.
What is a haggis? You may be afraid you asked. A traditional haggis is a pudding of spiced organ meats stuffed into a sheep’s stomach. We don’t quite do the traditional version here!
Instead of kidneys, I use kidney beans, and instead of stomach, I use pastry. According to those who have eaten the original, this version is true to the overall feel of the dish, and is surprisingly delicious. The first time I made it, our guests tentatively raised the tiniest portion on the tip of a fork tine to their lips, but after that first quavery bite, gobbled down the rest.
I believe a traditional dessert is deep-fried Mars Bars, but my guests will have to be satisfied with shortbread and strawberries.
If anyone is brave enough to try this, do let me know what you think of it. I will try to add photographs next week, once I make my pièce de résistance.
Yuba-Wrapped Vegetarian Haggis
From Fresh From the Vegetarian Slow Cooker (Robin Robertson, The Harvard Common Press, 2004)
- 2 TBSP olive oil
- 1 large yellow onion, chopped
- 2 large carrots, finely shredded
- 4 ounces white mushrooms, chopped
- 1 ¾ cups vegetable stock or water
- ¾ cup rolled oats
- 1 ½ cups cooked kidney beans, drained and rinsed
- 2/3 cup chopped pecans
- 2 TBSP minced fresh parsley leaves
- 2 TBSP Scotch whisky (optional)
- 1 ½ tsp tamari or other soy sauce
- 1 ½ tsp dried thyme
- 1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
- 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
- Salt and black pepper
- 1 large sheet fresh or frozen yuba (bean curd skin), thawed if necessary
- Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and carrots, cover, and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the mushrooms and stock, stir in the oats, reduce heat to low, and simmer, uncovered, for 10 minutes.
- Mash or coarsely chop the kidney beans and stir into the oat mixture. Add the nuts, parsley, whisky (if using), tamari, thyme, nutmeg, and cayenne, and season with salt and black pepper to taste. Mix well to combine.
- The bean curd should be soft, not brittle. If it is brittle, soak in a shallow bowl of water for a few seconds to soften. Line a lightly oiled 4-quart slow cooker with the yuba and spoon the stuffing mixture inside. Fold the yuba sheet over onto the mixture to enclose it. Cover and cook on Low for 4 hours.
NOTE from me – never having found yuba, I just make a soft pastry (like for samosas) and roll it as thinly without worrying about it breaking. I use that instead of the yuba, and bake the whole thing in the oven. The pastry is then crispy, instead of soft, but we like the texture.