Margaret Bryant with her version of haggis.
Margaret Bryant with her version of haggis.

Mum has haggis art in the bag

IF reality cooking shows ever get serious about Scottish delicacies and need to master the art of washing the stomach bag of a sheep, first stop would be Margaret Bryant’s kitchen.

The Goomburra grandmother is a haggis specialist.

Although she boasts a notable Scottish heritage – her great grandmother was a Campbell – it wasn’t until 1976 that she actually tried her hand at making haggis.

A traditional meaty delicacy: haggis is made from minced liver, heart and lungs, which is cooked then secured in the “brine-soaked, washed” stomach bag of a sheep.

“My husband Tom became head of a Scottish lodge, and the traditional occasion required a haggis, so the duty fell to me,” Mrs Bryant said.

At the time she was employed at Warwick State High School where by chance two Scottish teachers were doing work experience.

“I got lots of advice from them and from a fellow who was pipe master, and then I put my own version together,” Mrs Bryant said.

The personalised recipe must have been a hit because she had special request for hundreds of haggis dishes since.

“I make about 50 haggises a year for different groups, and they have gone as far north as Townsville and south to Murwillumbah,” she said.

“Fortunately they freeze well and I find that adds to the flavour.”

Mrs Bryant said the dish was a time-consuming recipe choice.

The sheep’s stomach bags are ordered from Carey Bros soaked in brine and washed.

“Then the meat which has been boiled and then minced with onion, suet (fat), oatmeal and salt is sewn into the bag,” Mrs Bryant said.

“And the whole lot is boiled for about three hours.”

From start to finish she estimates the whole “rather messy” procedure involves two days “give or take a few hours”.

“I love haggis, the secret is plenty of salt,” she said.

While her four daughters have yet to take up the culinary quest that is haggis, she said the meal was a family favourite.

“I was reading my 17-year-old grand-daughter’s Facebook page the other day and she listed haggis as her favourite food too,” Mrs Bryant said.



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