In previous posts (Ode to a haggis part I and II) I have discussed the history of the haggis in great detail. The main point was that these puddings were originally found in both Scotland and England, before becoming known as the national dish Scotland. A secondary point was that even during the period that the haggis was becoming known as a purely Scottish dish, not all Scots were over-joyed with the prospect of eating it.
In part, this is likely to account for the lack of a recipe for haggis in early Scottish printed cookbooks. A recipe for a haggis only appeared at the end of the 18th century in Mrs Maciver's cookery book. The recipe in is essentially identical to the modern recipe. However, I recently came across a haggis recipe in a Scottish recipe collection manuscript. This collection of over three hundred recipes is in a leather-bound volume originally belonging to Martha Lockhart, Lady Castlehill and was written 1712-13. It is now kept in the Mitchell Library in Glasgow. A selection of these recipes was published in 1976 by Hamish White.
The obvious recipe of interest is titled: To make a Haggas Pudding
The ingredients for this haggis are:
Lights (lungs), heart and kidney (no liver) of a sheep or lamb, beef suet, currants, nutmeg, salt, grated bread, sweet herbs, egg yolks and cream.
These items are stuffed into a sheep paunch as per normal, and boiled for 4 hours, with the final instruction to "gash it carelesly, then it will rune out green". Hopefully due to the sweet herbs.
This is a very different recipe then given by Mrs Maciver in 1773:
A Good Scotch Haggies
Make the haggis-bag perfectly clean, parboil the draught ; boil the liver very well, so as it will grate ; dry the meal before the fire ; mince the draught and a pretty large piece of beef very small ; grate about half of the liver ; mince plenty of the suet and some onions small ; mix all these materials very well together, with a handful or two of the dried meal ; spread them on the table, and season them properly with salt and mixed spices ; take any of the scraps of beef that are left from mincing, and some of the water that boiled the draught, and make about a choppin of good stock of it ; then put all the haggis meat into the bag, and that broth in it ; then sew up the bag : but be sure to put out all the wind before you sew it quite close. If you think the bag is thin, you may put it in a cloth. If it is a large haggis, it will take at least two hours' boiling.
However is near identical to a whole bunch of recipes published in the 16th and 17th century. For instance:
The Second Part of a good Huswifes Jewel by Thomas Dawson 1597
To make a Haggas pudding
Take a peece of a Calves Chaldron and parboile it, shred it so small as you can, then take as much Beefe Sewet as your meat, ten shred likewise, and a good deale more of grated bread, put this together, and to then seven or eight yolkes of egs and two or three whites, a little creame, three or four spoonfuls of rosewater, a little Pepper, Mace and nutmegs, and a good deale of sugar, fill them and let them be sodden with a very soft fire, and shred also with a little Winter savoury, parsely and Time, and a little Pennyroyal with your meat.
The Compleat Cook or, The Whole Art of Cookery, 1694
Take a Calves Chaldron, boil it, and when it is cold mince it very small, then take the yolks of four eggs, and the whites of two, some cream, grated bread, sugar, salt, currans, rosewater, some beef-suet or marrow, sweet herbs, marjoram, thyme, parsley, and mingle together; then having a sheep-maw ready dressed, put it in the aforesaid materials and boil it. .
Others take a good store of Parsely, savoury, tyme, onions and oatmeal groats chopped together; and mingled with some minced beef suet, with cloves, mace, pepper and salt, fill the paunch, so it up and boil it: when boiled, cut a hole in it and put in some beaten butter, with yolks of three eggs.
Another very good way.
Take a Calves chaldron or muggets, boil it tender and mince small, put to it grated bread, the yolks of six eggs, with as many whites, some cream, sweet herbs, spinage, succory, sorrel, strawberry-leaves minced small, a little butter, pepper, cloves, mace, cinamon, ginger, currans, sugar, salt dates, and boil it in a napkin or calves-panch; being boiled, dish it and trim with scraped sugar, stick it with sliced almonds, and run over with beaten butter
In fact it is quite likely that the Castlehill recipe has been copied from one of the many such examples as given above. Interestingly these recipes are from English cookbooks, so does this mean that the Scottish haggis is English? Not possible to say I'm afraid. It is a possible that the origin is English and the "modern" haggis of Mrs Maciver represents a local adaption, but it is equally possible that Lady Castlehill simply copied a recipe from an English cookbook because it was an upmarket version of a familiar, pre-existing dish.
Certainly we know that haggis type puddings existed in Scotland before Lady Castlehill's time, what we don't know is what these haggis were like. It would be interesting to know of other haggis recipes contained in early recipe collections and if so, what these recipes were like.