Haggis and winter tzatziki wraps

by sophie on January 24, 2008 · 20 comments

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Friday is Burns night, a celebration of all things Scottish and first proper foodie celebration of the new-year for many. By all means serve your haggis in the traditional way with neeps and tatties (mashed swede and potato for the uninitiated) but make sure that you shop generously and have some leftovers to play with. Warm haggis served with soft floury tortilla wraps and creamy tzatziki is an unexpected match made in heaven!

Wonderful Scottish food champion and cookbook author Sue Lawrence talked about this idea on Great Food Live last year and it was one of those combinations that made perfect intuitive sense. Haggis spice blends are closely guarded secrets but the spices at the core are also staples of Greek cookery (pepper, cloves and nutmeg), making haggis a natural match for tzatziki. I couldn’t bear to wait until January to try this out and hitting the shops to buy a haggis (veggie in this case) in mid-November I was pleasantly surprised at how easy it was to find one. This version of Sue’s dish is made with vegetarian haggis and a winter tzatziki, a fancy way of saying that it is tzatziki made with dried mint, thus neatly avoiding the need to buy air-freighted herbs from the supermarket.

Is Haggis good for you/and or sustainable? It probably doesn’t matter much if you only intend to eat it once a year, but then that would be a shame because haggis is really very good and deserves to be eaten a bit more often. Both the meat and vegetarian varieties are choc full of cholesterol lowering oatmeal and to my tastebuds anyway, both have the same wonderful nubbly texture and peppery spices. Vegetarian haggis would probably win in a serious debate; none of the ecological burden of meat production and no suet (a highly saturated animal fat). In fact vegetarian haggis is bursting out its skin with good stuff; beans, lentils, nuts, vegetables and oatmeal, and is usually held together with vegetable margarine as the replacement for the suet. Eaters of the traditional meaty haggis can be a bit smug too, in the knowledge that haggis is the epitome of whole animal eating, arguably the most ethical approach to being a carnivore.

More haggis finds

  • Can’t get haggis round your way (or maybe it is banned where you are)? Check out fab Melbourne blogger Johanna’s recipe for vegetarian haggis
  • In serendipitous timing, The Times real food web site has an article from the aforementioned Sue Lawrence on Bonny fare for Burns Night, including a recipe for haggis lasagne
  • MacSween of Edinburgh is the most famous purveyor of haggis and has an information packed web site with plenty of background and information (there are other brand of haggis)
  • To see if your country has its own version of haggis, check out the surprisingly long similar dishes list on wikipedia.

Recipe for Haggis wraps with winter tzatziki

Serves four as a light lunch
Make the tzatziki about an hour in advance for the flavours to develop. I have used vegetarian haggis but this will work equally well with meat if you prefer.

1 vegetarian haggis, about 450g
4 soft flour tortilla
Mixed salad leaves

For the tzatziki

Half a cucumber
Half a shallot, finely chopped
5 heaped Tbsp thick plain yogurt (ideally greek)
1 heaped tsp dried mint, crumbled
1 Tbsp red wine vinegar
A small pinch of salt

Cut the cucumber in half lengthways and run a teaspoon down the middle to remove the seeds. Grate the cucumber and squeeze it out with your hands to get rid of any excess liquid.

Mix the cucumber with the remaining tzatziki ingredients and set aside for an hour.

Cook the haggis according to packet instructions or reheat safely if using leftovers. Remove the haggis from its outer skin and break up any large chunks.

Warm the tortilla.

Spread each tortilla thickly with tzatziki. Spoon over about a quarter of the haggis onto each one and top with a few salad leaves.

Roll up the tortilla and cut each one in half. Serve while still warm.


Pille January 25, 2008 at 06:53

MacSween of Edinburgh was my preferred choice of haggis when I lived in Edinburgh for seven years. I like both their meaty and vegetarian versions, and actually thought their vegetarian haggis was the only nice vegetarian haggis available.
I wouldn’t have thought of pairing it with tzatziki, but then I love Sue Lawrence (have two of her Scottish cookbooks) and if she said so (and now you:), it must be good!!

Johanna January 25, 2008 at 11:42

Happy burns day! Thanks for your kind words about the veg haggis I made recently. It is a great recipe and if I had more energy I would try some other haggis recipes but it comes too soon after christmas/new year feasts and right on the eve of Australia Day.
I love your recipe suggestions of tatziki wraps and lasange – I love vegetarian haggis but am always searching for ways to serve it.

Babeth January 25, 2008 at 19:38

Happy Scottish day! Thanks for the haggis recipes … interesting.

Wendy January 25, 2008 at 19:47

Hmmmmmmm, VERY skeptical about this recipe. Just cannot imagine it. Plenty of leftover haggis from this evening’s dinner though. May try it out tomorrow…

Deb January 25, 2008 at 21:30

This is my “learn something new everyday” lesson for the day. I have never heard of haggis, but from your description and how you are serving it, I will be checking this one out! The photo looks marvelous!

Sophie January 26, 2008 at 10:05

Hi Pille – I don’t have any of Sue’s books but I’m really tempted after seeing her on the telly. She came across as very knowledgeable but friendly too.
Johanna – thank *you* for your veggie haggis recipe. It was really useful to have something to link to for everyone who lives in a country where you can’t buy a haggis
Hi Babeth – happy scottish day to you too!
Wendy – they go really together, honestly! Try it with your leftovers and let me know
Deb – I can’t believe you’ve never had haggis! I thought Burns night was a big thing across the water. Definitely look out for it from now on, though sometimes you have to try a few to find a good one (poorly made haggis can be a bit dry)

Pille @ Nami-Nami March 26, 2013 at 19:04

Sophie, time flies :) Just wanted to say that I made a big batch of haggis about a year ago, and while we ate most of the haggis as you’re supposed to, then I also made Sue Lawrence’s haggis lasagne and it was a real hit!
Photo here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/naminami/6794571528/ – but no blog post as of yet.

Annemarie January 26, 2008 at 11:45

How intriguing – not a combination most people would put together, but I’m willing to try it. Hope you had an excellent Burns Night, Greek stylee or not. :)

aforkfulofspaghetti January 26, 2008 at 12:07

What a great combo! I’ll have to try that next year…

kate January 26, 2008 at 16:28

Haggis is something i’ve heard of for the first time. I followed your link to wikipedia and wow ! intestines are just really not my thing :(
But i love the tzatsiki and of course the tortilla :D

Wendy January 27, 2008 at 08:41

I stand corrected. Used my leftovers to try this out and it was really quite nice! For some reason, I suspect it would be even better with the veggie haggis so will try it again next time I buy it. It’s not a once a year dish for us! :)

Jane Stewart January 29, 2008 at 23:23

I just love that leftover haggis idea, I will def try it thanks.

cookworm January 30, 2008 at 20:23

I’m thrilled to find others who are interested in Burns Night. Also very curious about the veg. haggis. Hope you had a lovely night!

Antonia February 11, 2008 at 21:12

What an interesting combination! I love haggis (though missed out on Burns Night this year) but would never have thought of serving it this way. Will try this next time I have some leftovers!

Peter March 4, 2008 at 21:29

Hi Sophie, Helene sent me your way and I must say, this is a creative way to use up your leftover haggis.
For a thicker tzatziki, after you’ve grated your cucumber, sprinkle some coarse salt on it to draw out more water before you squeeze it.

White On Rice Couple March 6, 2008 at 23:00

Hi! This is our first time here and you’ve got such a sharp, crisp and beautiful blog! We’ll be returning for more meals!

Lulu Barbarian June 29, 2008 at 22:45

Just came across your blog and love it! I know this is an older post to be commenting on, but when I saw ‘haggis’ and ‘tzatziki’ pop up in my reader, well, I had to investigate! What a combination (!?!), but I admit it looks great.

Shona January 6, 2010 at 21:10

Great ideas on here, I love them! big haggis fan, and even as a meat eater I mostly buy the veggie one if I’m cooking for myself.
It’s one of those rare dishes where the vegetarian “substitute” is, although obviously different, actually just as good as the real thing. Once in a while I can’t resist the true texture of a bit of lung though, yum!
Hehe, I’ll be adding this one to my list as well!

Kathryn January 21, 2013 at 22:07

This recipe is a real blast from the past. I trained at The Edinburgh School of Food and Wine and while I was there we had a day with Sue Lawrence. She demonstrated this recipe to us!

It was lovely, and at the time I hadn’t made the connection of harmonious greek flavours. Very clever!

I also haven’t had vegetarian haggis since I lived there , some three years ago, and now have a real craving for it. It was delicious!!

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