This haggis, neeps and tatties pie is perfect for celebrating Scotland’s national day and a delicious, hearty winter meal. Recipe in collaboration with Macsween.
First, a confession. Before Macsween asked me to create a haggis pie recipe to celebrate St Andrews Day, I had only tasted haggis once. It was on a two-week student backpacking trip around Scotland which may have been a very long time ago, but still shines in my memory as the most fun trip ever, travelling with two friends and staying in youth hostels.
Scotland is an insanely beautiful country and boasts the friendliest people – I long to visit again, this time with kids, husband and dogs in tow. I remember two weeks of sunshine in late September, of pints and drams drunk in pubs, of staying in a castle (which had been converted into a hostel), of long walks and staring at Loch Ness in the mist trying to spot a friendly monster.
I may have tasted haggis back in the day, but I was totally ignorant of how to serve them or what neeps and patties are. Researching ‘haggis pie’ on the internet proved equally fruitless – all I had to go on was a description: a Scotch pie with mashed potato topping.
Well, first things first. Neeps and tatties are not exotic ingredients, but humble turnips (swede) and potatoes, traditionally served mashed alongside haggis. And Macsween haggis (which can be found in all major supermarkets) comes in both meaty and vegetarian versions and is actually really versatile. My neighbours eat the veggie one sliced in hot sandwiches and shepherd(less) pies.
So for my haggis, neeps and tatties pie, I created a shortcrust base which was blind baked first then filled with haggis and topped with swede and potato mash. I was not prepared for how incredibly delicious it would be – so yummy even the kids ate it – and they are still notorious fusspots.
You can make shortcrust pastry yourself, but commercial versions work really well too and would cut the workload for this recipe in half. The pies can be baked, stored and reheated so you could prepare them in advance of St Andrews Day – they are rather labour intensive, but so worth it you won’t mind one bit. The pies are really rich so even though the recipe makes 3 smallish ones they would easily serve 6-8 maybe with some greens on the side. Use the vegetarian Macsween haggis for a vegetarian version of this pie.
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- For the shortcrust pastry
- 600 g | 1lb 3oz plain flour plus more to dust
- 200 g | 7oz cold butter cubed
- 50 g | scant 2oz cold vegetable shortening
- 1 large egg lightly beaten
- 1/2 tsp salt
- ice-cold water as needed (about 60ml)
- or use store-bought shortcrust pastry
- For the filling
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 large onion finely diced
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 500 g | 1 lb 1oz Macsween Haggis crumbled
- 250 ml | 1cup hot beef stock
- 2 tbsp tomato paste
- 2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tbsp plain flour
- a little freshly grated nutmeg
- 1 bay leaf
- salt and pepper to season
- For the topping
- 750 g | 6 large Maris Piper potatoes peeled and cubed
- 1 large swede turnip, peeled and cubed
- 4 tbsp unsalted butter divided
- whole milk as needed
- salt and pepper to season
- 4 tbsp unsalted butter melted, to brush over pies
- 1 tbsp flat leaf parsley very finely chopped
- Make the filling. Heat the oil in a large pan and sauté the onion over low heat for 5 minutes until softened.
- Add the garlic and continue to cook for a further two minutes.
- Add the crumbled haggis and stir to combine.
- Stir in the stock, tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce and flour. Bring to a simmer and cook for 15 minutes.
- Taste the filling and season with salt, pepper and a little grated nutmeg to taste. Cool the filling before using.
- Make the topping. Boil the potatoes and swede, in two separate pots, until fork tender. The swede will need boiling for a lot longer than the potatoes.
- Mash the potatoes with 25g of butter and enough whole milk to create a smooth mash. Reserve 50g of mash to mix in with the swede mash. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
- Mash the swede with 25g of butter and a little whole milk to create a smooth mash. Stir in some of the potato mash and mix together. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
- Make the shortcrust pastry. Put the flour and butter in a food processor fitted with a metal blade and pulse until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.
- Add the beaten egg and pulse again.
- Add some ice-cold water through the feeding tube, a tablespoon at a time, until the dough forms clumps around the blade.
- Line your worktop with clingfilm and tip the dough on it. Knead gently and bring together to form a disk. Wrap the clingfilm around it and chill for 30 minutes.
- Divide the dough in half, keeping any dough you are not using wrapped and chilled.
- Dust your worktop with a little flour and roll out the dough to the thickness of a pound coin.
- Roll over the rolling pin and drape over a 15cm (6in) cake or tart tin with removable base.
- Leave some dough to hang over the edges and use scissors to cut any excess off - this can be rolled out and used later. Score the base with a fork.
- Repeat the process to line two more tins. Chill all three in the freezer for 20 mins.
- Preheat the oven to 220 C (200 Fan). Place baking paper over the pies and weigh it down with ceramic baking beans or rice.
- Blind bake the pie bases for 20 minutes, then remove the weights and bake for a further five until golden.
- Use a serrated knife to make the pie edge neat, if needed.
- Fill the pies with the cooled haggis, filling 3/4 of the way up.
- Transfer the potato mash to a piping bag fitted with a large star tip. Do same with the swede mash.
- Pipe the mash over the pies - alternating the potato with the swede. Place the pies on a heavy baking tray.
- Reduce the oven temperature to 180C. Brush the pies with a little melted butter and sprinkle with the parsley.
- Cook for 30 minutes, until the pies are hot and the mash is lightly coloured.
- Carefully remove the pies from the tins and serve hot with some steamed greens on the side.
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