Thursday, 25 September 2014
Haggis & Apple Cottage Pie - an act of union
So, to celebrate the continued existence of the United Kingdom, I bought a haggis. I was intending to serve it with chips, peas and gravy, but then Rachel McCormack tweeted her recipe for a haggis, apple and potato tart, which I thought was brilliant. Hers was very elegant-looking - a flat puff pastry tart, filled with slices of potato and apple with crumbled haggis. Mine is not elegant, but it is tasty and a good entry point for people who are scared of haggis but still intrigued.
Whenever I make a recipe that needs a carrot/onion/celery base, rather than trying to find a single stick of celery, I make a large quantity, sweated down in a bit of oil, and then freeze it in portions for later. A thawed bag of that - on this occasion celery, leeks, onions and carrots - was my base. A couple of dessert apples, peeled, cored and finely chopped, and a haggis, broken into large chunks.
I made up some instant gravy paste, and flavoured it with some cider brandy, and made a strongly mustardy mash (hence the lurid yellow colour). As I dolloped the Colmans mustard into the pan of spuds, I realised that I had ingredients representing all the parts of the United Kingdom - leeks for Wales, potatoes for Northern Ireland, apples and hot English mustard for England and the haggis for Scotland. My sense of kitsch got the better of me, and instead of roughing the mash up with a fork, I traced a union jack onto the surface with the point of a knife. When it came out of the oven, I was delighted to see that it had held. There's a metaphor there.