Canned haggis

Some people bring fridge magnets, T-shirts, or shot glasses back from vacation. I haul back weird food. While strolling through the Saint John City Market, I was distracted by this shelf of Scottish haggis in a can ($8.99).

It’s from the same place I picked up the Yorkie “It’s not for girls!” chocolate bar.

Canned haggisThe only time I’ve tried haggis was at a Burns supper in Ottawa, and the only thing I really remember was a terribly dry mealy texture.

Traditionally, haggis is made of sheep’s heart, liver and lungs, minced with onion, oatmeal, suet, spices, and boiled in the animal’s stomach for approximately three hours.

This can, under the brand of Scotland’s Stahly Quality Foods, actually came from its manufacturer in Chicago. Exporting offal is harder from the U.K., I guess.

The can’s ingredients, in order, were: water, lamb hearts, oats, pork fat, lamb liver, pork, salt, and dehydrated onion. With no preservatives, and at 180 calories and 11 grams of fat for one-third of a can (78 grams), it didn’t sound so bad.

So we cracked open the can, and Jason yelled, “OH MY GOD, IT SMELLS LIKE DOG FOOD.”

Undaunted, I took a closer look. It looked like dog food.

The back of the can suggested a traditional meal of haggis, tatties and neeps (mashed potatoes and turnips). I wasn’t sure we could stomach it as an entire dinner, so I modified another idea from the can.

Instead of warm haggis on toast with melted cheese, I grabbed some Melba rounds and sliced up some pickles.

Canned haggis

The haggis did look half decent once we spooned it out and heated it — in the microwave.

It tasted like a very rich, mediocre pâté, and much more moist than the version I first tried years ago. However, there’s no way I’d be able to eat a whole plate of it as a meal, and now I have three-quarters of a can of haggis sitting in my fridge.