The Perfect Vegetarian Haggis for Burn’s Night
January 25th marks the annual celebration of Scotland’s national poet, Robert Burns. The Burn’s Night Supper is celebrated by Scots the world over and customarily involves a meal of haggis, neeps and tatties, all washed down with a wee dram of scotch whisky. Although Burn’s night is traditionally a carnivorous affair to say the least, vegetarians needn’t miss out on the festivities with this meat-free haggis.
This veggie haggis has all the herbs, spices and oats of a conventional haggis, is suitable for vegetarians and vegans, and with a delectable mushroom and lentil mix is a hearty dish that makes for a delicious Burn’s Supper.
• 100g green lentils
• 75g pearl barley
• 2 tbsp olive oil
• 1 large onion, finely chopped
• 2 cloves of garlic, crushed and chopped finely
• 1 large carrot, finely chopped
• 100g mushrooms, finely chopped
• ½ tsp ground allspice
• ½ tsp ground nutmeg
• ½ tsp ground mace
• 100g rolled oats
• 75g cashews, chopped roughly
• 1 tsp fresh thyme or ½ tsp dried
• 2 tbsp soy sauce
• 1 tbsp dark miso paste
• 500ml hot vegetable stock
• Generously oil a large pudding basin or individual ramekins.
• Cook the green lentils and barley in separate pans until just tender, for approximately 20 minutes. Drain and leave to one side.
• Heat the stock in a pan and keep on a low heat.
• Heat the olive oil in a large pan, and on a medium to low heat, fry the onion for 5-10 minutes till soft and beginning to go translucent.
• Add the carrot and cook for a few minutes, till just beginning to soften and brown.
• Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute, then stir in the mushrooms (you may need an extra tbsp or two of olive oil) and fry, adding the spices after a minute or so. Add the lentils and oats, stirring well to combine with the vegetables.
• Add the hot stock, the soy sauce, and miso, and simmer until the mixture is very thick, adding a little water if necessary.
• Heat the oven to 180C/350F/gas mark 4. Stir in the pearl barley, cashew nuts, and chopped thyme, and taste the mix for seasoning. Remove from the heat.
• Spoon into the basin, ramekins or moulds, cover with a piece of baking parchment, and a piece foil scrunched around the rim to seal, and bake for 20 minutes, then remove the paper and foil and bake for another 20 minutes.
• Turn out onto a plate and serve with mashed turnip (neeps) and mashed potatoes (tatties)
Recipe by Lydia Downey.
Now for the verdict.
Packed with hearty oats and barley, this haggis makes a perfect comforting dish on a winter’s night. The allspice and nutmeg bring a subtle sweetness to the haggis, and served with warming mashed potatoes and turnip, this haggis could easily give the traditional version a run for its money.
Many hardened Scots may scoff at the idea of a meat-free haggis but why should vegetarians miss out on a satisfying Burn’s Supper? What are your thoughts? Veggie haggis – a step too far, or a tasty alternative even for non-vegetarians?