Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Haggis Soup

So, there was lots of snow when we went away.  Please look at this lovely picture of a church and then we will never mention snow again...

It's time to talk about something serious - something some of you might find disturbing, but nonetheless, I think it's time we addressed this thing.


A word that  can often strike fear into the hardiest of souls.  But I come to praise offal, not to bury it.  I am an addict.  Liver and onions is one of my favourite dishes, the kidney in a steak and kidney pie is the bit I eat first.  On a recent trip to a Chinese restaurant, my starter was tongue, tripe and heart in a chili and peanut sauce.  I get stared by the women behind the checkouts in the supermarket for buying things their Grandfather probably ate.

And I think you should embrace the offal too!  It's cheap, it's tasty and it's a bit unusual (plus it appeals to the same part of my brain that made me giggle like a child when the fishmonger chap at my local Morrison's asked me if I wanted the tentacles with my squid (yes please!) so banish your memories of tough, overcooked liver for school meals, and explore the exciting world of innards!

Probably the most accessible of the offal based meats is haggis.  Pay no attention to the fact it is heart, liver and lungs wrapped up in a sheeps' stomach - just think of it as super tasty mince and you should be okay) And it's not just for Burns' Night either.  I've made lasagna and Shepards' Pie with haggis instead of minced beef and both were delicious.

So give it a go (and I'm sorry that today being Valentine's Day I didn't make a soup with heart in it, which would have been much more appropriate, don't you think?) This is another wintry warmer type of soup - very rich and great for this time of year.  Try and get good quality haggis for that extra special taste!

2 Red Onions
2 Turnips
2 Cloves Garlic
450g Haggis
1 Leek
1tbsp Oil
1.5l Chicken Stock
100g Pearl Barley
Salt and Pepper

1. Finely chop the onion, garlic and turnip - about 1cm sized cubs should be okay for the turnip

2.  Heat the oil in your soup pan.  Then add the onion, garlic and turnip and gently sweat for 5 - 10 minutes until they are soft.

3. Slice half of the leek and add that to the pan as well.  Save the rest for garnish

4.  Cut your haggis into chunks - this will help it break up in the soup.

5.  Add the haggis, stock and pearl barley to the pan. Bring up the heat and stir, breaking up the haggis even more.

6.  Simmer the soup for 35-40 minutes, until the haggis and barley are thoroughly cooked. Remember to stir regularly, so nothing sticks to the bottom of the pan.  Check the seasoning at this point, and add more salt or pepper to taste.

7.  Cut the remaining leek into thin strips.  Place them in a pan of boiling water for about 1 minute, then remove.

8.  Serve the soup and then dress with the strips of leek



  1. I'm all for trying offal. But... I can not stand kidneys. Sorry.

    I've tried curried sweetbreads, ox heart ragu, deep fried haggis, and liver & onions. All on varying scale of "ok to good".

    1. I know a few people who can't stand kidney either - they can't stand the smell when you fry them. I know offal can be a bit of an aquired taste - I just like to try new things...

  2. I wish I'd seen this soup when all the haggis were in the shops for Burns' Night. I have become a massive fan of offal in the last few years, but have a particular adoration of haggis so this soup is a must have next time I get my hands on one.

    I actually did stuffed hearts for Valentine's Day. So very tasty, but too gruesome for most. All the more for me though!

  3. Stuffed hearts on valentines, that's brilliant! I must do a heart soup nxt year on v.day. Hope you like the soup when you get another haggis!

  4. Awesome! Haggis from scratch isn't that hard to make - the difficult part is getting a stomach or bung to stuff it in. I'll definitely make this next time there's haggis in the house!

  5. Can I just ask, where was the church picture taken?