Today we have eaten leftover vegan haggis for breakfast, lunch and dinner in our house. It’s the day after Burns Night, and I am officially done with haggis for another year. As I’m not going to be making haggis again for some time, I thought I would just make a note here of how I made it, so next year I won’t need to start from scratch all over again.
I did kind of throw this together in a bit of a cloud of flour and frenzy yesterday (we had guests arriving, and I left it a bit late), so I didn’t manage to measure/write down any amounts or take any photos apart from a few rather poor efforts on the iPad. Then again, in reality that is generally how I cook. I never use recipes myself apart from to get a vague idea of what I’m doing – then it’s a case of what feels/tastes right and what I have in the cupboards.
So this is a very approximate recipe, which I will no doubt have refined into a family classic by the time my children leave home! I don’t think the amounts really need to be exact anyway…
Serves: the hungry hoards
Contains: soya, wheat
- Soya TVP (I used about half a packet of Tesco dried soya mince, which is fairly fine) – pre-soaked for a few hours
- Porcini mushrooms – 1 packet, soaked and finely chopped, plus the soak-water
- 3 small white onions (or 1 large) – peeled and finely diced
- 8 cloves garlic – peeled and finely diced
- 1 tablespoon of no-salt-added yeast extract (Meridian)
- 1 tablespoon blackstrap molasses
- Quite a lot of tomato puree
- ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- A twist or two of ground black pepper
- The leaves from a few stalks of fresh thyme
- Egg replacer sufficient for three eggs – I prefer Orgran: 1 teaspoon mixed with 1 tablespoon of water for each egg required, and beaten to a stiff consistency similar to egg white
- Strong wholemeal bread flour
- Olive oil, or other vegetable oil, to prevent sticking
Combine all the ingredients except the flour in a large mixing bowl, then add the flour a bit at a time. Using clean hands, incorporate the flour using a sort of squelching, kneading action. Keep adding flour until you have a fairly wet mixture that holds together and can be shaped. Form your haggis into a ball and place on a lightly oiled sheet of tin foil. Bring the edges up around the ball and twist at the top to seal. Place on a baking tray and bake in a pre-heated oven at 180°C for 30-40 minutes.
[N.B. I made so much of this mixture that I also filled a loaf tin and baked this. It was a bit crustier than the round haggis-like creation, but would make a perfectly decent alternative to nut roast on any festive occasion. You could also use this mixture to make burgers or sausages for regular consumption, so it’s a fairly versatile, all-round kind of concoction really.]
Of those guests that had previously eaten “real” haggis, two felt that the texture was quite realistic, although the flavour was different, and one thought real haggis was a bit crunchier. This may be because I forgot to add oats, which are an important ingredient. A quick survey of the top few vegan haggis recipes available online produced a quite extensive list of other possible ingredients: pearl barley, kidney beans, lentils, nuts, walnut oil, margarine or vegetable suet, carrots, mushrooms, parsley, sage, rosemary, nutmeg, cinnamon, allspice, lemon or lime juice, vegetable stock, and whiskey, to name just a few. I decided to keep mine fairly simple, and I’m glad I did. I was going to add breadcrumbs (to help with binding), but it didn’t need it in the end.
Personally I have never eaten “real” haggis and never will, so it doesn’t really matter to me whether it tastes at all the same. As long as it tastes nice and looks broadly similar – enough to enable some participation in the big night at least – then that will do. Any excuse to wear my Tam o’ Shanter really 🙂