When I tweeted the meat version haggis recipe, I was asked on twitter whether I had a recipe for a vegetarian haggis. I did not and said that I would develop one. I’ve now done this and it’s below. Modesty isn’t going to prevent me tooting my own horn: I think it’s really good. I blind tested it on my 16 year old son, who wolfed down a big portion eagerly before asking “Ok, what is it? It’s lovely!”
While researching ideas I checked online. Most of the recipes appear to be the same or similar to the Vegetarian Society recipe. To be honest, I wasn’t very impressed. It reminded me of the plethora of 70s & 80s standard ‘veggy’ recipes that tried to mimic meat meals and that all seemed to taste & feel the same. When I started cooking veggy in the 80s I got tired of seeing and tasting under-flavoured, under-seasoned ‘veg-mush’.
My blogging friend Monica Shaw tasted one the leading brands of commercial vegetarian Haggis, McSweens and blogged about it on the Great British Chefs site. And it started a bit of a debate on Facebook about whether such stuff could legitimately be called ‘haggis’. I have strong feelings about this sort of “authenticism”. To avoid boring the folk just here for the recipe, I’ll return to this in another post later this month.
Some of the comments in the GBC Facebook discussion also commented on ‘veg-mush’ state of veggy haggis offerings. I tried hard to match the texture/feel of the meat version in the veggy version. The choice of the grain and pulses and their cooking is important to get this right. Most of the veggy recipes I’ve seen online don’t get this. In addition the oats and nuts are roasted for added flavour. The nuts are only coarsely chopped for the texture they give.
Apart from the olive oil, there’s no added fat, unlike some of the commercial versions. I don’t think there’s a mouthfeel need for the fat, so I didn’t add any veg suet although I’d bought some in case.
This makes a fair old quantity – about 2.7kg. I did this because there’s a deal of prep and the haggis will freeze well, so I’ll have some ‘free’ meals to hand. It’s probably not worth making much less than half the recipe.
Another bonus of this recipe is that it is very economical indeed to make. The total cost of the 2.7kg is about £6 which means a 150g portion comes out at £0.33.
If you’d like to know how to make this delicious dish, please read on… Continue reading »