Haggis and Scottish recipe black pudding are fairly similar in many ways and I've always thought they go pretty well together on a plate. They are both made from oatmeal, spices and what may be described as offal; but even in Scotland, it seems that they only time they are occasionally served together is as part of a full Scottish fried breakfast. This recipe idea came about when I was spending some time experimenting with different pasty filling possibilities and I had to give it a try. The bacon proved a tasty addition but was included in the first instance as a simple barrier to prevent the haggis and black pudding juices combining during cooking.
Note - The present haggis ban in the USA would of course make the literal preparation of this dish difficult but burger meat can be used or virtually any combination of ground meats and seasonings.
A pasty of this size makes for a fairly substantial offering. A whole pasty on its own would be likely to serve as a meal for one person but in this instance I elected to serve half a pasty per person with accompanying deep fried potatoes and spiced Brussels sprouts.
Ingredients (Serves 2)
- 1/2 pound puff pastry
- 6 ounces (3/4 cup) haggis meat, approximately
- 4 ounces (1/2 cup) black pudding (blood pudding/sausage) meat, approximately
- 2 slices Ayrshire middle bacon*
- Flour for rolling pastry
- Beaten egg for glazing pastry
- Vegetable oil for greasing roasting tray
- 12 to 16 baby new potatoes, as desired
- 8 Brussels sprouts
- Pinch of ground nutmeg
- Malt vinegar
*While bacon in the US is taken from the belly of the pig, bacon in the UK is normally taken from the back. Ayrshire middle is actually taken from the side of the animal so is almost a cross between the two. If using traditional British bacon, three rashers are likely to be required, while four or even five slices of US bacon may be necessary. Do note however that belly bacon may make the finished dish a little on the fatty/greasy side.
You should start by cooking the potatoes by boiling them in water and subsequently allowing them to cool completely before they are deep fried. Simply wash them thoroughly and add them unpeeled to a pot of cold water. Season with salt and bring to a simmer for around twenty minutes until just softened. Drain and set aside to cool while you prepare and cook the pasty.
A large dinner plate is used as a template to cut a circle from rolled pastry
A clean, dry working surface is required to roll out the pastry. Scatter the area lightly with flour and also flour your rolling pin. Roll out the pastry to a square large enough that you can use a large dinner plate as a template to cut from it a circle with the blunt edge of a dinner knife. This plate was thirteen inches in diameter.
Start by cutting open the skin of the haggis and squeezing out the meat. Use your hands to mold it in to a roughly semi-circular shape that it will cover one half of the pastry circle with a border of about an inch around the edge. This is fairly easy to do provided you take your time and make sure you get it right. You may not need all of the haggis as the pastry must not be over-filled. Half an inch to three-quarters an inch thick in the middle is about right, with it being slighter thinner the closer it gets to the edge.
The bacon should now be carefully arranged on top of the haggis. As the bacon's primary function is to keep the haggis and black pudding from combining during cooking, do make sure it is made to fully cover the haggis.
Just as with the haggis, the black pudding should be squeezed from its skin and shaped by hand before being laid on top of the bacon. A pastry brush should then be used to glaze the semi-circular pastry border with a little bit of the beaten egg.
Very carefully, fold the empty half of the pastry over the filling and crimp it securely all the way around the edge. Try not to pull it too tight as this could cause the pasty to burst in the oven as it cooks. Leave the assembled pasty where it is to rest for the fifteen minutes or so it will take your oven to preheat to 400F/200C/Gas mark 6.
Lightly oil a baking sheet or tray. Lift the pasty with a large spatula on to the tray and glaze all over with more of the beaten egg. A steam vent must also be cut in the pastry to allow steam to escape as the pasty cooks. Put it in the oven to cook for thirty to thirty-five minutes, by which time the pastry should be a beautiful, rich golden color.
Lift the cooked pasty with your spatula to a wire rack to rest for ten minutes or so while you attend to the sprouts and potatoes.
Wash the sprouts, remove any damaged or loose leaves and add them to a pot of boiling, salted water for about eight minutes. Carefully rub the skin from the potatoes with the ball of your thumb.
I use a deep frying pan of oil for cooking potatoes in this way but you could of course use a conventional deep fryer. Either way, bring the oil up to a fairly high heat before deep frying the potatoes for five minutes or until crisp and golden.
Lift the pasty to a chopping board and cut it in half across the way with a sharp knife. Lay one half on each of two serving plates.
The potatoes should be removed from the oil to a plate covered with kitchen paper to drain off for a couple of minutes.
Drain the sprouts through a colander at your sink and allow them to steam off for a minute or two. Return them to the empty pot and add a little bit of butter. Scatter with some nutmeg and gently swirl the pot to evenly coat all the sprouts in the seasoned butter.
Divide the sprouts and the potatoes equally between the two serving plates. Season the potatoes with a little bit of salt and a splash or two of malt vinegar before serving.