Camberley Reel Club

Library - Haggis

To A Haggis Tae A Vegetarian Haggis Recipe Cooking Instructions

Haggis, the indispensable dish for Burns' Night, is made from a sheep's stomach stuffed with the heart, lungs and liver of the animal, and oatmeal. The best haggis has venison liver instead of sheep's liver, as this gives a more robust flavour. The most commonly used recipe for haggis is based upon an old 1787 recipe by a Mrs. MacIver, who lived in Edinburgh.

To a Haggis

Robert Burns

Approximate Translation

by Stan Ward
Reprinted from Berkshire / Hampshire / Surrey Border Branch News, January 1993

Fair fa' your honest, sonsie face,
Great chietain o' the puddin'-race!
Aboon them a' ye tak your place,
           Painch, tripe, or thairm:
Weel are ye wordy o' a grace
           As lang's my arm.

The groaning trencher there ye fill,
Your hurdies like a distant hill,
Your pin wad help to mend a mill
           In time o’ need.
While thro' your pores the dews distil
           Like amber bead.

His knife see rustic labour dight,
An' cut you up wi' ready slight,
Trenching your gushing entrails bright,
           Like onie ditch;
And then, O what a glorious sight,
           Warm-reekin, rich!

Then horn for horn they stretch an' strive,
Deil tak the hindmost, on they drive.
Till a' their weel-swall’d kytes belyve
           Are bent like drums;
Then auld guidman, maist like to ryve,
           Bethankit hums.

Is there that o'er hls French ragout,
Or olio that wad staw a sow,
Or fricassee wad mak her spew
           Wi' perfect sconner,
Looks down wi' sneering. scrnfu' view
           On sic a dinner?

Poor devil! see him owre his trash,
As feckless as a wither'd rash.
His spindle shank a guid whip lash,
His nieve a nit;
Thro' bloody flood or field to dash,
           O how unfit!

But mark the rustic, haggis-fed,
The trembling earth resounds his tread,
Clap In his walie nieve a blade.
           He’ll mak it whissle;
An’ legs, an' arms, an’ heads will sned,
           Like taps o' thrissle.

Ye powers, wha mak mankind your care,
And dish them out their bill o' fare,
Auld Scotland wants nee skinking ware
           That jaups in luggies;
But, if ye wish her gratefu' prayer,
           Gie her a Haggis!

Good luck to your honest jolly face
Great chieftain of the pudding race
Above them all you'll take your place
Black puddings, tripe or sweetbreads warm
You are well worthy of a grace
           as long as my arm.

The groaning trencher there you fill
Your roundness like a distant hill
Your skewer would help mend a mill
           in time of need
While through your pores the dews distil
           Like amber bead.

The yokel's knife wiped - eyes alight
He cuts you swiftly with delight
Opening up your entrails bright,
           like cutting a ditch
And then - oh what a glorious sight
           Warm reeking rich.

Is there one that o'er his French ragout
Or in some oil a pig would stew
Or fricassee would make one spew and
           revulsion feel
Looks down with sneering scornful view
           On such a meal?

Poor foreigner, see him o'er his mush
As gutless as a withered rush
His skinny legs just like a thrush,
            with scrawny mit
Through bloody flood or field to rush
           Oh how unfit!

But see the farm hand - haggis fed
The trembling earth resounds his tread
Held in his ample fist a blade
            - hear how it whistles
And cuts off arm or leg or head
           Like tops of thistles.

You Powers, who make mankind your care
And give than food and light and air
Old Scotland wants no slops for fare,
           that runs or splashes,
But if you wish her grateful prayer
            Give her a haggis!

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“First car stopped suddenly, second car hit first car and a haggis ran into the rear of second car.”

From Norwich Union’s annual Christmas magazine

Tae a Vegetarian Haggis

by JAK Laidlaw
published in Scots Magazine, March 2002

Gae hide yer peely wally face
Incomer tae the pudden race
Ablow them a’ ye tak yer place
An’ there ye’ll bide.
Yer naethin’ but a waste o’ space;
Awa’ an’ hide.

Whit wierdit trencher wad ye fill
That widna win a score o’ “nil”?
Ye play yer pairt as meat gey ill;
Ye’re just a joke.
Tae dine on ye I hae no will;
Ye mak me boke.

Puir dell that ettles for this trash;
Wersh, mixtie-maxtie greens an’ mash,
Unchancy, gastrous, dreich an’ gash
On plate ye sit.
Tae fire a man his faes tae thrash
Oh how unfit!

Ye pooers wha mak mankind their care
An’ dish them oot their bill o’ fare
Whit gart ye fesh this unco ware
Tae staw an’ gag us?
Gin ye wad hae oor gratefu’ prayer –
Gie us a REAL Haggis.

Ettle - aim, to be eager

Gar't - compelled
Unco - strnge, uncouth
Staw - to surfeit

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Make Your Own Haggis

Introduction and haggis recipe from 'Cattern Cakes and Lace' by Julia Jones and Barbara Deer

1 sheep's paunch (stomach) or synthetic boiling bag

Sheep's pluck (heart, lungs and liver)

4 oz/100 g grated suet

1 large onion, chopped

1 lb/450 g pinhead oatmeal, toasted

8 oz/225g blanched chopped almonds

1 oz/25 g salt

Black pepper

Cayenne pepper

1/2 teaspoon mixed herbs

Juice and grated rind of 1 lemon

If using a sheep's paunch, wash it well in cold water, and scrape and clean thoroughly. Leave overnight in cold water.  Also the night before, was the sheep's pluck, put into a pan of boiling water and boil for 2 hours, with the windpipe hanging out of the pan (have a small bowl beneath to catch any drips). Leave the pluck in the cooking liquid overnight.

Next day, cut off the windpipe, and mince the liver, heart and lungs. Mix with the grated suet and onion, the lightly toasted oatmeal and the finely chopped almonds. Add the salt, pepper, cayenne pepper, herbs, lemon juice and rind. Blend in the strained liquid in which the pluck was cooked. Mix thoroughly and fill the sheep's paunch just over half full. Sew up the paunch and prick with a fork. If using a synthetic bag, tie firmly, but do not prick. Place the haggis in boiling water and simmer for 3 hours, pricking occasionally to prevent bursting.

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Cooking Instructions (for bought Haggis)

From The Mackenzie Fish & Game Co. who used to trade in Princess Way, Camberley, and for many years supplied Camberley Reel Club’s Burns’ Night Haggis.


Haggis has already been cooked but must be thoroughly heated either by steaming in a bowl, or wrapped in foil and simmered in water for at least an hour. Serve with champit tatties (mashed potatoes) and bashed neeps (mashed turnip/swede) on hot plates, with Gravy (see below).


Slice haggis into ½" slices and shallow fry with bacon. Serve with fried pre-mashed boiled potatoes.

Drink (or Gravy)

Malt Scotch (in ample quantities) *
* N.B. If Malt not available, any Scotch will do!

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