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26 Apr 2020

Arran Barrel Reserve Whisky Sauce with Haggis, Neeps and Tatties

“Fair fa' your honest, sonsie face,
Great chieftain o the puddin'-race!
Aboon them a' ye tak your place,
Painch, tripe, or thairm:
Weel are ye worthy o' a grace
As lang's my arm.”
- Robert Burns, Address to the Haggis

Haggis, Neeps and Tatties with Barrel Reserve
I remember clearly the very first time someone mentioned the word “haggis” to me. Working in the scotch whisky industry it was just a matter of time until this was going to happen. As an Italian that had just moved to the UK, London to be exact, I had no clue what to expect. Of course, all of my Scottish whisky friends told me about the same, old funny story and I, a naïve young Italian that was new to the Scottish world, believed every word.

“Haggis is a peculiar beast found only in the Scottish Highlands,” they said. “It likes to climb high to drink the freshest rainwater from the mountaintops, so is incredibly fast and super elusive. How does one catch such a tasty creature, you ask? The trick lies in exploiting their own anatomy, as the legs on one side of their body tend to be shorter than the other. So, if the haggis runs clockwise around a mountain, all there is to do is to chase it anticlockwise! Be sure to have folks stationed in the glen below with big nets to catch the slippery wee beasties!”

You will be happy to know that I understand the joke now and I have enjoyed haggis, neeps and tatties multiple times! Looking after the Robert Burns Malt Whisky as well for the past year, I had the chance to fall in love with the beautiful celebration that happens every 25th of January and share drams, stories and laughter over a warm, delicious meal. As I am quarantining with my Scottish family, we decided to cook the national dish last week to treat ourselves - I made sure that Arran Barrel Reserve was featured in the recipe using the delicious whisky for the sauce!

Ingredients

  • 500 g quality haggis
  • 450 g potatoes
  • 400 g turnips or swedes
  • 100 g unsalted butter
  • 30 ml double cream
  • Salt and pepper

For the sauce

  • 2 tsp soft unsalted butter
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 100ml Arran Barrel Reserve
  • 200ml beef stock or chicken stock
  • 200ml double cream

Method for Haggis, Neeps and Tatties

  1. Peel and quarter the potatoes and turnips or swedes.
  2. Place the haggis in a large pan of boiling water and cook according to the packet instructions.
  3. Cook the turnips or swedes and the potatoes in separate pans of boiling salted water for 20 to 25 minutes, or until tender. Drain the veg separately.
  4. Return the turnips or swedes to the pan, add half the butter and mash. Season to taste. Cover to keep warm.
  5. Add the remaining butter in the potato pan and mash until quite smooth, seasoning to taste. Cover to keep warm.
  6. Remove the cooked haggis, cut open and place a portion onto each warmed plate. Divide up the turnips or swedes and potatoes (neeps & tatties) and serve.

Method for Whisky Sauce

  1. Heat the butter in a small pan over a medium heat until the butter starts to foam. Fry the onion until soft but not golden, about 8 minutes.
  2. Add 100ml whisky and simmer until absorbed by the onions, and almost evaporated.
  3. Pour in the stock and simmer for 5-10 minutes until reduced by half. Stir in the cream and simmer for another 5 minutes until thickened slightly. Season with salt and taste the sauce. Stir in the remaining whisky for a stronger flavour.
  4. Serve on top or on the side of the haggis, neeps and tatties.