Haggis Is Here


V. Miller Meats, the craft butcher shop in East Sac, has a new meat goody in the case: haggis.

In case you’re not familiar with haggis, it’s a sausage-like pudding made of sheep’s heart, liver and lungs. The organs are poached, chopped and mixed with suet, oatmeal, onion and spices. The mixture is then stuffed into a sheep’s stomach and boiled. Haggis, the national dish of Scotland, is traditionally served on or around Jan. 25, the birth date of the 18th century Scottish poet Robert Burns. In Scotland, Jan. 25 is known as Burns Night, and Burns suppers are popular events.

Whatever possessed V. Miller owner Eric Miller to make haggis?

“When we first opened, we used to get lamb from Skyelark Ranch in Capay,” explains Miller. Every January, ranch owner Gillies Robertson (“a poster child for Scotland,” says Miller) would ask the butcher to make haggis. Miller demurred until one year when the rancher showed up with a lamb delivery and a hand-written haggis recipe from his mother in Scotland. Miller decided to give it a try.

The butcher tweaked the recipe a bit, adding salt, toasting the oats and sweating the onions. He had to leave out the sheep lungs in order to comply with local food regulations. And instead of a sheep’s stomach, he used a beef casing typically used in making mortadella. The resulting product? “It’s very rich,” says Miller. “I would put it in the category of a pâté.” Miller concedes that the taste of haggis is very “organ-y.” “If organ meats aren’t your thing, you’re probably not going to enjoy it,” he says.


These days, Miller makes haggis using lamb offal sourced from Emigh Lamb in Dixon. He sells whole haggis for $19.95 a pound, with most weighing in at around 2 pounds. Right now, there are fewer than two dozen whole haggis in the meat case at V. Miller. Once they’re gone, they’re gone.

When you get your haggis home, you need to warm it through by simmering it in water, baking it in the oven or sous-viding it. In Scotland, haggis is traditionally served with mashed potatoes and mashed yellow turnips—or, as the Scots call them, “mashed tatties and bashed neeps.”

Still not sold on haggis? Miller likes to quote a line from the 1993 movie “So I Married an Axe Murderer”: “Most Scottish food is based on a dare.”