Hello Dear Reader,
I was contacted a little while ago by Sykes Cottages and invited to enter their inaugural Haggis Championship. They had been very sad to discover that almost two thirds of people would not order haggis if they saw it on a restaurant menu. So they devised their Haggis Championship as a challenge to come up with new dishes that would change people’s minds and get them eating haggis!
I knew immediately that I wanted to create a dish that merged together the home of my childhood (Ulster) with the home of my adulthood (Scotland).
Ulster is an ancient kingdom comprising the nine counties in the North of Ireland, three of which are now in the Republic of Ireland and six comprise the country of Northern Ireland. The North East of Ulster had many connections with Scotland, a mere 21 miles away, including a common language called Ulster-Scots. The area of Scotland closest to Ulster includes Robert Burn’s birthplace of Alloa and is now known as “Rabbie Burns country”. The Burns Supper of haggis, neeps and tatties – now famous throughout the world is celebrated on Rabbie Burn’s birthday.
In Ulster a pastie is a delicious patty of sausagemeat and mashed potato, dipped in batter and deep fried. If you have ever been in Northern Ireland, I hope you have sought out this local dish which can be found in every fish & chip shop! I have made these at home a few times and wanted to try adapting the original Ulster recipe to incorporate haggis instead of sausage meat. This is a great way to use up leftovers from a Burns Supper, just like my Burns Pie from last year.
Ulster-Scots Pasties – recipe
Deep-fried little gems of such absolute deliciousness that your dining companions will have no idea they are eating haggis!
Ingredients (makes 6 pasties)
- Leftovers from a Burn’s Supper = 250g cooked haggis + 100g cooked mashed neeps (turnip/suede) + 250g mashed tatties (potatoes)
- 150g flour
- 2 heaped tsp baking powder
- 200ml ale/ beer
- flour for coating pasties
- oil for deep-frying
1) Mix together the haggis, neeps and tatties. Take 100g of the mix and form into a ball, pressing firmly. Flatten the ball into a round pattie about 7cm (3″) in diameter. Place on a baking sheet, form remaining patties and place in the fridge for about half an hour to firm.
For the batter I wanted to choose a Scottish drink. Melissa Cole (beer expert extraordinaire) has previously mentioned that the traditional dram of whisky is too harsh in flavour for haggis. She recommends Fraoch heather ale by the Williams Bros brewing company as her drink of choice to serve with haggis. The William Bros brewery is only about 20 miles from me and I love to minimise my food miles whenever possible, so this is the perfect ale for my Ulster-Scots Pasties.
2) Heat oil in a deep fat fryer or wok, to a depth of several inches. Make the batter while the oil is heating.
Measure out the 200ml of beer, measuring to the bottom of the head on the beer when freshly poured. Mix together the flour and baking powder, then whisk in the beer.
3) When oil is at temperature (i.e. a cube of bread fries to golden brown in about a minute), prepare the pasties for cooking.
Place each pastie on a plate of flour, turn over to coat other side and then roll edges in the flour so the whole pastie is covered in flour. Dip into the batter, turning to coat completely. Lift out and allow excess batter to drip off.
4) As soon as each pastie is coated in batter, gently drop into the hot oil and fry for about 2-3 minutes until golden and crispy. Lift out with a slotted spoon and drain on kitchen paper. You may be able to cook 2-3 at a time, depending on the size of your pan. Continue until all are cooked.
Serve as they are, or with chips for a pastie supper, or in a soft bread roll for a pastie bap.
The pasties can also be left to cool and then frozen. Cook from frozen by baking in a pre-heated oven at 180ºC for about 20 minutes.
Sykes Cottages sent all the entrants a personalised apron. I am so excited by this apron as it is the very first personalised Vohn’s Vittles item I have ever had. I was grinning like a child when I opened it and will treasure it always!
I do hope my recipe for Ulster-Scots Pasties might entice you to try haggis. It is not obvious there is haggis in it and it is truly delicious!
Legalese: I was invited by Sykes Cottages to enter their competition. I received my personalised apron and money for ingredients. It was my choice to enter the competition and this recipe and photographs are all my own work and property of Vohn’s Vittles.
P.S. I am entering my Ulster-Scot Pasties into a few blogger challenges…
Credit Crunch Munch run by Camilla at Fab Food 4 All and Helen at Fuss Free Flavours, but this month hosted by Elizabeth’s Kitchen Diary. This challenge is about saving money, like my use of leftovers here, and they also encourage frugal food photos with no extra props!
No Waste Food run by Elizabeth over at Elizabeth’s Kitchen Diary and this month hosted by Laura at I’d Much Rather Bake Than. This challenge, which was inspired by the Love Food Hate Waste campaign, is very dear to my heart as I find it shocking how much food is unnecessarily wasted in our country every day.
Shop Local run by the extremely talented Elizabeth at Elizabeth’s Kitchen Diary. I used lots of local ingredients in this recipe! Local haggis, local neeps, local taties and local beer!
Remember to share my Ulster-Scots Pasties to your favourite social media, so you can find them again…