Cross your fingers that this works… Vegetarian Haggis(!!)

Well… cross your fingers and hope this works.

Saturday is the annual Rabbie Burns night dindin at J & Miss R‘s and this year a wrench was thrown into the works: a vegetarian is attending.
Since none of us are vegetarians, this poses a bit of a problem seeing as more than likely everything will have at least a small meat component to it.

After discussing the situation with Miss R, I was originally going to bring a side dish of some sort (ie: neeps, tatties, whatever), but we realized that I have an impressive pantry of vegan friendly ingredients which could be used to make a vegetarian haggis. Those two words are a bit of an oxymoron, no?

Vegetarian + Haggis.

The thought alone is sacrilege.

*sigh*

So the veg-haggis is currently in the oven doing whatever it’s supposed to be doing — my assumption is that it’s trying to suck up as much fluids as possible to soften things up and make them more palatable. I’m a little worried that the red lentils I used weren’t 100% softened when I mixed them into the haggis mixture. All the other ingredients seem to be the proper texture, I’m hoping that the veg-haggis will solidify a little bit by the time we reheat & serve it on Saturday.

Pulling it out of the oven and uncovering after 30 minutes, the veg-haggis seems pretty soft and fluffy (o_O) so I hope that it develops a bit of a golden brown crust on it once I uncover everything for a final 15 minute baking. If not… oh well.

I’ve been discussing the flavour of this thing for the last forty-five minutes with one of the boys and he pointed out that what a lifestyle-vegetarian would find tasty is completely different compared to what an omnivore would find tasty and if they’ve been vegetarian for quite awhile, their sense of taste with respect to what’s good and what’s not changes quite a bit.

Thing is, I want the food that I put effort into making to still taste good! Worried about the blandness of this thing, I texted J a picture of the veggie haggis and he asked if I had tasted it yet. I had tasted it a few times while cooking to see if I could get it to taste decently (that is still to be decided) and I am slightly amused by the text message I received back: “with you making it, it has the best chance a veggie haggis has of being good.”

That certainly made me smile.

So cross your fingers! The veggie-haggis is cooling on the stove, it’s gonna go into the fridge for a couple of days and hopefully the flavours and textures improve with age like regular haggis & meatloaves do when given the same treatment.

Veggie Haggis for Rabbie Burns Night 2012

Veggie Haggis

1L veggie stock, divided
1 can kidney beans, drain
3 oz red lentils
2 oz pearl barley
2 bay leaves
2 oz steel-cut oatmeal
1/4 cup regular oatmeal
1/4 cup TVP granules
1 large carrot, minced
1 medium onion, minced
1/2 pack (4oz) mushrooms, minced
3 cloves garlic, minced
juice of 1/2 lemon
1 generous tsp Marmite/Vegemite
2 Tbsp soy sauce
1/4 tsp sage
1/4 tsp rosemary
1/4 tsp paprika
1 tsp dried parsley
grating of fresh nutmeg
1/4 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp tumeric
sprinkle of cinnamon
1/2 tsp white pepper
salt and black pepper – to taste

Put the oatmeals and the tvp together in a bowl and cover with about 1 cup stock. Leave until the mix has absorbed all the liquid and is dryish.
In a medium pot, boil 3 cups of stock to cook the lentils, barley and bay leaves. Simmer until lentils and barley are softened, remove bay leaves, drain pan very well, saving the cooking water and set aside.
Set aside 1/3 cup whole kidney beans and puree the remaining until smooth, adding in a little bit of the lentil cooking liquid to help loosen things up, then set aside.
Preheat oven to 375F
In a large frying pan, saute the onions, garlic, mushrooms and carrots in a little bit of oil until they go soft.
Add the lemon juice, Marmite, soy sauce, spices and stir well.
Add all the kidney beans, oat and tvp mixture, and lentil and barley mixture.
Stir well and taste for seasoning.
If needed, add a bit more of the reserved lentil cooking liquids if it looks too dry.
Line a large loaf tin with damp parchment paper, fold pieces of overhang to cover veggie haggis to keep it protected and bake for 30 minutes.
Remove veggie-haggis from oven, uncover and bake for another 15 minutes until golden brown.
Serve with scotch, neeps & tatties.

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