Thursday, 26 January 2012

Haggis Pie with Swede Crust (A Scottish Shepherd's Pie?)

It was Burns Night yesterday. That probably doesn't mean anything much to anyone outside of Scotland, but I'm always fascinated by the many odd festivals and days here in the UK, and really, any reason to celebrate something is worth grabbing onto, what with all the January blues. I tried haggis when I first went to Glasgow, and the sound of it- a sausage/savoury pudding made of sheep's heart, liver and lungs, oatmeal, spices, wrapped in a sheep's stomach- may have put most people off, but I totally loved it. Haggis, neeps (mashed turNIPS, i.e. swede) and tatties (mashed poTAToes).The dish, and the name, and the way the scottish say it with their thick unfathomable accents.

This is a combination of that with another great English dish, the shepherd's pie, hence "Scottish shepherd's pie". I was thinking of calling it a poor shepherd's pie, offal being a lot cheaper than mince, but that didn't sound right.

Haggis Mushroom Pie with Swede Crust
part of a haggis, about 300g, removed from casing (a whole haggis is massive)
1 swede, about 500g, chopped
1 small onion, chopped
handful of mushrooms, chopped
2 generous tbsp grassfed butter
unrefined sea salt, black pepper (to taste, be generous)

1. For the crust, boil the chopped swede in salted water till tender, drain, and mash. Season generously with salt and pepper and 1 tbsp of butter.

I love that shocking orange-yellow colour that cooked swede turns

2. For the filling, saute onions in another tbsp of butter till softened and golden-translucent. Crumble in the haggis, cook for a while more, before adding in the mushrooms to sear and sweat.

3. Put filling into an oven-safe baking dish, or many mini ones, top with the mashed swede, and dot with remaining butter. Bake at 180 degrees celsius for about 20 minutes till the top is nicely golden.

Because haggis is made with the addition of oatmeal and lots of black pepper and spices like nutmeg and oatmeal, this pie filling definitely had some very more-ish intense flavours going on. The sweet swede was brilliant against its savouriness, the reason why I go mostly for the neeps over the tatties when I eat haggis, and the reason why I decided to ditch the usual mashed potato crust. Swedes are especially good this time of the year, so I would happily have them plainly mashed with lots of butter and sea salt.

But do it with potatoes if you will! Pies of any crust, filling, or nationality are great anyway. See Indian shepherd's pie, with a masala kheema filling, made about a year ago (:

This recipe is also featured as part of the column for the London Farmers' Market in East End Life!


  1. That looks VERY tasty. I have my Burns Night Supper tonight with my work but I think I'll try your pie some weekend. Love the way you have served it too - brilliant!

  2. This sounds utterly delicious and is such a good idea! I'm so glad that you enjoy haggis – so many people get put off from trying it when they find out what's in it, or just decide that they don't want to like it. I don't know how easy they are to find in London, but here in Scotland you can get packs of little one-portion haggises – they are so adorable! I used to use those when I was cooking for just myself at uni, because as you say the next size up is massive for one person!! They freeze really well, too, which is always handy!

  3. Wow, this looks great! Most of these ingredients I have never used, but this looks like a beautiful dish. Oh, how I love ANY festival!!! :)

  4. I've never tried haggis, would love to, I know I will like it.

  5. That's a really clever idea, my husband will love it. You have made it look irresistible!

  6. Shu Han, it doesn't look at all like a poors' dish! You are so creative! I'm sure all the Scots would love it!
    Strangely, I have never been put off haggis (remember? I'm a big black pudding fan so blood or offal don't scare me!) and as soon as I find myself in Scotland I will run to taste it! Many people told me it's delicious.
    Congratulations for the creativity!

  7. Sorry, I meant "a dish for the poor". My English can really be hopeless sometimes...

  8. Looks delicious - although I have to admit I'm not too sure about haggis!!!

  9. Hi Shuhan - I only tried haggis once before, and have to say it was with many misgivings, but I'm glad I did. It's actually really not bad at all. A bit like a black pudding with less of an irony flavour, so I think I'd definitely be up for eating a haggis pie. The filling with the haggis looks great, and I love the topping - really rich colour! Nice one :)

  10. the first time i had haggis, thankfully i didn't know what it was made of, because i would have refused to eat it, but it was rather...interesting ;p love the combination of haggis and swede crust though - shepherd's pie is one of my fave english dishes to have, after fish&chips!

  11. This looks absolutely delicious! Do you know any places you can get haggis outside Scotland? I'm in NY.

  12. pdnfta: hope you ha a lovely burns night supper (:

    mel: oooh got to keep a lookout for the mini-ones! they make so much more sense than the massive one ><

    ashlea: I know!! a festival makes life a bit less boring.

    three-cookies: I think you'll like it, get some!!

    elaine: thanks elaine(:

    sissi: I know for sure you'll like it! fellow offal lover (:

    brownieville girl: aw, I think it's a love/hate thing. some people just hate it, but I love it!

    charles: yup, I would say it's easier to like than black pudding (: glad you didn't give up the chance to try it due to your misgivings!

    janine: haha, when i was young, my mum cheated me into eating frog's legs, saying they were very tender baby chickens. it did taste exactly like that though, so I was fooled for years..

    julia: ah, I really don't know where to find haggis in new york, but ny being such a cosmopolitan city, should probably have a good european supermarket nearby? good luck!

  13. thanks! I'm a high school student passionate about real food, and I really admire your blog! Your recipes are delectable. I loved your post about cooking on a student budget. Do you have any other advice for a college-bound girl who is committed to real food, not dorm food?

  14. These haggis pies looks lovely! I've never had haggis pie before but I would love to try your recipe. :)

  15. I happen to love haggis and this is a really fun way to serve it. Perfect for this cold wintery time of year!

  16. julia: hey julia! that's awesome(: I'm glad you foudn that post useful, and i really still stand by all the things I've written there. I would say, the most helpful thing that has helped me to eat a lot better for less, and to stay connected to the source of my food, is by getting my food from the local farmer's market! (I work there actually) It's also what inspires me for all my recipes! I'll be glad to help in any way, you can find me at shuhan90(at) if you like, any time, or just leave a comment on my blog posts (: x

    i-thank you! i hope you try it one day, it's brilliant!

    laura: it was freeszing today! definitely pie weather.

  17. Oooooh haggis pie - love the swede on top.