Monday is Burns’ Night and in honour of the occasion, I’m sharing my homemade Haggis Balls recipe.
Burns’ Night is a celebration of all things Scottish and a tribute to Scots poet Robert (or Rabbie) Burns, who was born on 25 January 1759. Celebrations include a Burns’ Night supper which centres around the haggis, a traditional Scottish dish to which Robert Burns dedicated an ode (poem).
Beloved and I only discovered haggis a few years ago, having been introduced to it by the Scots/English Besties, but it immediately made the favourites list. We’ve cooked it several ways – in its traditional casing in the slow cooker as well as from the tin, where a fried slice is delicious either with a cooked breakfast or in sandwiches.
The only question was why it took us so long to try it!
Haggis is one of those things many people turn their noses up to, me included. I don’t do innards, YUK! But it really is very tasty! It’s like a slightly peppery mincemeat.
This recipe was the result of a particularly whisky-fuelled weekend in Edinburgh with said Besties, where I had the pleasure of sampling my first Burns’ Balls.
Deep-fried (or maybe oven baked), balls of haggis were breaded and served with the most humungous, beautifully cooked hand-cut fries – the perfect snack to enjoy with a wee dram or three. In fact, I enjoyed them so much, I came straight home and cooked up a version of my own which, in the words of Beloved, were a “triumph”.
Burns’ Night Haggis is traditionally served with neeps (turnips) and tatties (potatoes), but if you fancy something a little different, my Haggis Balls might be right up your street.
How to make Burns’ Night Haggis Balls
Plain flour (seasoned if you wish)
x1 beaten egg
Breadcrumbs (I use Paxo Golden Breadcrumbs)
Makes around 20 meatball-sized balls, which can be prepared in advance and refrigerated overnight before cooking.
- Create yourself a production line of three bowls – one with flour, one with egg, and one with breadcrumbs.
- Break off small chunks of your uncooked haggis and roll into balls. Remember, the bigger they are, the longer they’ll take to cook and the fewer you’ll get from your haggis.
- Make as many balls as you can from your haggis and put aside ready for coating. I get roughly 20 from a standard-sized haggis. I haven’t tried it with the tinned version, but I imagine you might get about the same number, or maybe a few less.
Here’s where the production line comes in.
- Take each ball, roll it first in the flour, then dip it in the egg, and finally roll it in breadcrumbs. I find this an unbearably messy process – I cannot stand all that gunk on my hands! So, to make it easier, I like to flour up the balls in batches and use a slotted spoon to dip each ball in the egg, before using two teaspoons to roll the ball in the breadcrumbs. Hey presto! Clean fingers!
- Once you have all your balls covered in breadcrumbs you can either cook them straight away, or cover with Clingfilm and pop them in the fridge overnight, ready to cook the following day.
- I guess you could oven-cook these, but I like to deep-fry mine. We don’t do it very often, so it’s a bit of a treat. As it is such a rarity, I don’t possess a fryer, so I use my wok. I heat up enough vegetable oil to cover the entire ball and then fry all the balls together (if they’ll fit) or in batches. They take no time at all to cook, about 5 minutes or so, until golden brown.
- Remove, drain on paper towels and serve while hot.
You can serve these babies with anything you choose. They go brilliantly a salmon fillet and a salad and on New Year’s Eve, I served them with mini jacket potatoes, cooked to perfection using this method. (Although you might want to reduce the heat, if you are using smaller potatoes.)
For Burns’ Night, I think we’ll go down the traditional route, with mashed tatties. And of course, no Burns’ Night supper would be complete without a wee dram.
Last year, we cracked open a bottle of Cao Ila 5 year old. This year… well, I haven’t decided yet. I have several new options on my shelf, it’s hard to choose!
I hope you enjoyed this recipe. If you decide to give it a go yourself, don’t forget to let me know, by dropping a comment below.
PLEASE be careful when cooking with oil.
Do not overfill your pan with oil and NEVER leave the pan unattended. For ANY reason!
Never, EVER THROW WATER. I was always taught to have a damp tea towel on standby that will cover your pan. Should the worst happen and the oil catches light, DO NOT PANIC! Calmly turn off the heat and cover the pan with your damp tea towel to smother the flames. If necessary, call the fire brigade.
Let’s be safe out there!