This past Saturday, Scottish transplants and local Haggis-lovers rejoiced as the popular dish made its way to the Glenmorangie 46th Annual Scottish Highland Games and Celtic Gathering at Phoenix's Steele Indian School Park. The import of Scottish haggis has been banned in the U.S. since the mad cow scare in the late '80s. Don't ask why, since there are absolutely no cows harmed in the making of haggis.
What IS haggis, you ask? (Weak Stomach Alert!!!)
Basically you take the castoff parts of a sheep -- the heart, liver and lungs or other offal -- grind 'em up and combine the "meat" with oats, suet and spices. The mixture is then stuffed inside a sheep's stomach, forming a giant globular sausage. Uh, yum?
Ok, so it wasn't that terrible. The Heritage Meat Pies version served at the Highland Games had a pungent, dark meat flavor complemented by the lighter gravy. A few people in our little adventurous dining party really enjoyed the haggis. For others of us, the tough skin and heavy taste were a little off-putting. The key here is to forget what you're eating, and use the bread/crackers provided to offset the offal taste.
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Good news for haggis lovers: looks like you might not have to wait another whole year to get your sheep offal fix. According to the BBC, a relaxing of the U.S. ban is currently under consideration. We'll just have to wait and see if imported haggis is something we're ready for.