Friday, January 23, 2015

Is Haggis Gluten Free?

File:Scotland Haggis.jpg
Updated January 2015

So, Robbie Burns Day is just around the corner, and people everywhere are planning their annual Robbie Burns Supper!  People in Canada celebrate too, in case you're wondering.  I'm not sure about here in France. I'll have to ask around!

But this isn't a post about the day, or the man, or the legend behind it all. 

 This is a post about Haggis. 

Haggis is the national dish of Scotland, and is most widely eaten on Robbie Burns Day, in a nod to the famous poet's love of the dish.  He loved it so much, in fact, that he wrote a poem about it!

For those unfamiliar with Haggis, it is a dish made with the heart and lungs of a sheep, mixed with spices and other ingredients, and typically cooked in the stomach of a sheep.  While it doesn't sound appealing to some, it is a dish that many adore> Haggis fans claim that the flavour of the herbs and spices season the meat nicely, with the end result being a delicious main dish, usually served accompanied with potatoes and turnips.

But is it gluten free?

Not necessarily, although it certainly can be. It can also be easily modified to be gluten free if you are making it at home.  Haggis is traditionally made with oatmeal, so if you are able to tolerate oats, and buy certified gluten free oats, then Haggis can be safely consumed by someone who is gluten free. Don't tell purists, but if oats aren't safe for you, rice or even quinoa flakes could be used.

That's great news for anyone who has been missing out and is curious about trying this traditional dish that is loved by so many.  And in case you're wondering, it's not just consumed on Robbie Burns Day, although today is the day that those who normally wouldn't eat it dare to give it a try.

Want to make some for yourself? 

Of course you do! 

The BBC has a recipe for Haggis HERE.  Many people cook their haggis in sacs other than sheep stomachs, including just wrapping it all up in aluminum foil.  Not authentic, but certainly an option, and a way to avoid soaking the stomach lining overnight.

Fun Fact: Traditional haggis is banned in the United States.  It is illegal to cook using sheep lungs (who knew?), so the haggis sold in the US is made from other cuts of meat.  Huh.

So in honour of Robbie Burns, and haggis, let us enjoy his poem, before setting off in search of some gluten free haggis.

Address to the Haggis (first published in 1786)

Fair fa' your honest, sonsie face,
Great chieftain o' the pudding-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 sleight,
Trenching your gushing entrails bright,
Like ony 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 rive,
Bethankit! hums.

Is there that owre his French ragout
Or olio that wad staw a sow,
Or fricassee wad make her spew
Wi' perfect sconner,
Looks down wi' sneering, scornfu' view
On sic a dinner?

Poor devil! see him owre his trash,
As feckless as 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 Pow'rs, wha mak mankind your care,
And dish them out their bill o' fare,
Auld Scotland wants nae skinking ware
That jaups in luggies;
But, if ye wish her gratefu' prayer
Gie her a haggis!

1 comment :

  1. Robert Burns is rubbish. When he couldn't find a word that rhymed he just made one up.