How to Make a Haggis, Neeps and Tatties Stack

by Scottish Scran - Phil
Haggis neeps and tatties stack

Haggis is probably the definitive food of Scotland and unsurprisingly crucial to a haggis, neeps and tatties stack! If you ask someone what they know of Scottish food, haggis will invariably come up.

Before we lived in Scotland we both assumed the use and popularity of haggis must be overrated. Surely people didn’t want to eat haggis all the time? 

Then we realised that haggis is, in fact, everywhere in Scotland. You’ll easily find it on menus in the form of haggis, neeps and tatties towers, haggis bonbons with whisky dipping sauce, and in Chicken Balmoral, just to name a few dishes.

It’s readily sold in supermarkets, plus there’s haggis supper at the fish and chip shop, and even haggis pizzas and burritos to be found too.  Yum!

So what would our website about Scottish scran be without a post on how to make your own Haggis, neeps, and tatties tower? 

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Haggis neeps and tatties stack with a whisky sauce

What is a Haggis, Neeps and Tatties Stack?

You’d be surprised how often we get asked about Neeps and Tatties. As in, what they are how to make them and how to make and serve them. We’ll be answering all of these questions and more… Hint, serve them in a haggis, neeps, and tatties stack!

A Haggis Neeps and Tatties Stack on a plate

Haggis:

Ah Haggis, such a famous food but one whose ingredients can put those with a weaker stomach off before they’ve even tried it.

Haggis is made by mincing the lungs, liver and heart of a sheep, adding suet, oats, onion and herbs, and seasoning with spices like pepper and nutmeg. Once the mix is right it is packed into a sheep’s stomach to be cooked, although these days most commercial haggis is wrapped in a synthetic sausage casing.

The result? A deliciously earthy and peppery flavoured meat dish bursting with spices that leaves a pleasantly warming aftertaste. The texture is like no other as the oats add a certain rustic element to this nourishing dish. 

The downside? Not everyone is happy with the idea of the offal involved, and haggis is even banned in certain countries, (USA we’re looking at you!). Though you can buy it in a can in the same certain countries.

Though it may not suit everyone’s palate the dish means that every part of the animal is used so it avoids wastage and when times have been hard haggis has been crucial to survival.

So whatever your thoughts on the humble haggis’s ingredients you have to respect its heritage and cultural relevance. 

Upside? If you really don’t like the idea of trying haggis never fear, we have an amazing Vegetarian Haggis for you to try instead!

Neeps:

Neeps are the colourful element to your Haggis, neeps and tattie stack and the name short for turnip.

But wait! Before you start writing your shopping list, a neep/turnip in Scotland in England is referred to as Swede and in America as a Rutabaga. 

Turnip and Neep in Scotland can be used interchangeably to describe either a turnip or a swede and can cause some confusion if you’re not local. 

Confused? As non-Scots, we were too! Basically, when you’re making your haggis, neeps, and tatties stack, buy a swede.

Tatties:

Tatties are the easiest of the three to understand and the most likely to have been eaten before. Tatties simply means potatoes, in this case, mashed potatoes.

The word comes from the ’tatos’ part of the word potatoes and became abbreviated to ‘tatties. The first recorded use of ’tattie’ was as far back as the late 1700s! 

Haggis neeps and tatties and whisky sauce on a white plate

History of Haggis

Everyone knows that haggis is universally linked to Scotland and has been since the mid 18th century. However, it’s a little known fact that Scotland’s famous food was actually popular in England as early as the 15th century! 

But the Haggis origin story doesn’t begin in merry England, Homer actually eludes to a very similar dish in his classic The Odyssey, back in 800 BC.

So how did it become Scotland’s national dish?

As we mentioned, when times were tough (and they often were in Scotland) then it was essential to eat as much of an animal as possible. Internal organs perish faster than other parts and so using them in haggis meant avoiding wastage. It was served as a meal on to go and thus fueled travel around Scotland.

It’s now a celebrated dish, with poems written about it and special days like St Andrew’s Day and Burns Night where it is as cherished as a turkey at Chrismas.

Things you’ll need to make a Haggis, Neeps, and Tatties Stack:

The ingredients for this are not surprising but the way to create the stack needs a little explanation.

  • Steel Ring – we used the ones in this set.
  • Small round bowl/dish at least 3 inches deep. Like a small individual pie dish. (If you’re not using a steel ring.)
  • Cling film (If you’re not using a steel ring.)
  • Masher
  • Two saucepans

Ingredients for a Haggis, Neeps and Tatties Stack:

To serve 4 people:

  • Haggis – We use Macsweens Haggis or our own Veggie Haggis for the all-important haggis layer.
  • 1 kg Potatoes – whichever you prefer for making mash
  • 1 kg Swede/Neeps
  • 100g Salted Butter
  • 50ml Milk – we use full fat
  • Salt and Pepper to taste 

How to make a Haggis, Neeps and Tatties Tower – Step by step method

Haggis

Follow the instructions on the Haggis you’ve chosen for your meal. 

Neeps and Tatties

  • Fill both saucepans half full of water, adding a pinch of salt to both
  • Peel the potatoes and swede
  • Chop the potatoes roughly into quarters and the swede into small cubes
  • Once the water is boiling add the potatoes to one pan and the swede to the other
  • Boil for 20-30mins or until you can easily slide a knife into either
  • Drain the potatoes, season and allow them to release any steam
  • Drain the neeps and also allow to steam
  • Add 50g butter and 50g milk to the potatoes
  • Mash potatoes until creamy and all lumps have been removed
  • Taste for seasoning, stir more in if required
  • Add 50g butter to the swede and roughly mash, leaving some rough texture to balance the creamy texture of the potatoes. 
  • Serve both while hot with the haggis

How to build your Haggis, Neeps and Tatties Stack

With a Steel Ring

  • Place your ring on the plate you wish to serve on
  • Add a layer of haggis, filling roughly a third of the ring or 1 inch.
  • Push down on the haggis using the back of a spoon to make sure it’s firm
  • Repeat this with the neeps and then the tatties
  • Carefully slide off the ring, using the back of your spoon to ease the ring up without losing the shape of the stack

Without a ring

Making a haggis, neeps, and tatties tower with a ring is much easier and will get you the desired ‘stack’ look. However, we did try this with our small round pie dishes and we achieved the layered look if not quite a straight up and down stack due to the shape of the dish.

  • Take a small bowl and line with clingfilm with some hanging over the edges
  • The bottom layer in the bowl will be the top layer of your stack, so put a layer of tatties in the bottom and smooth with a spoon
  • Follow with a layer of neeps, and finally the layer of haggis
  • Smooth both down with a spoon so the layers are compact
  • Place a plate on top, face down, and then flip the bowl and plate so the bowl is upside down in the middle of the plate
  • Twist the bowl a little to loosen the wrap, hold down the clingfilm and gently lift the bowl, then peel back the cling film and you have your stack!
A haggis neeps and tatties stack, close up

Variations and additions:

Whisky Sauce

As if a haggis, neeps and tatties stack couldn’t get any more Scottish we would also suggest adding a whisky sauce! Our creamy whisky sauce really works well with the pepper of the haggis and the soft mashed potato. You can find our Creamy Whisky Sauce recipe here.

Vegetarian Haggis

As we mentioned earlier some people, and not just vegetarians, just can’t get away from the ingredients of haggis and will never try it. We would really encourage you to give it a go, but if you just can’t, then that’s perfectly fine. But this can be a little awkward where the highlight of the meal is the haggis as in Burns night!

To counter this and to make sure everyone is included we have devised our own Vegetarian Haggis Recipe which, like the above recipe, can easily be made vegan by using a butter substitute.

And that’s it. The Haggis, neeps and tattie stack. We used Macsweens haggis which we’re big fans of and would certainly recommend. Enjoy your stack and don’t forget a wee dram to go with it!

Yield: 4 Servings

Haggis, Neeps and Tatties Stack Recipe

Haggis Neeps Tatties Stack

Haggis is probably the definitive food of Scotland and unsurprisingly crucial to a haggis, neeps and tatties stack!

Learn everything you need to know to make the perfect stack of this delicious dish.

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 kg Potatoes - Whichever you prefer for making mash
  • 1 kg Swede/Neeps
  • 100g Salted Butter
  • 100ml Milk - We use full fat
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

Instructions

Haggis

  1. Follow the instructions on the Haggis you’ve chosen for your meal. 

Neeps and Tatties

  1. Fill both saucepans half full of water, adding a pinch of salt to both
  2. Peel the potatoes and swede
  3. Chop the potatoes roughly into quarters and the Swede into small cubes
  4. Once the water is boiling add the potatoes to one pan and the swede to the other.
  5. Boil for 20-30mins or until you can easily slide a knife into either.
  6. Drain the potatoes, season and allow them to release any steam.
  7. Drain the neeps and also allow to steam.
  8. Add 50g Butter and 50g Milk to the potatoes.
  9. Mash potatoes until creamy and all lumps have been removed.
  10. Taste for seasoning, stir more in if required.
  11. Add 50g butter to the Swede and roughly mash, leaving some rough texture to balance the creamy texture of the potatoes. 
  12. Serve both while hot with the haggis.


How to build your Haggis, Neeps and Tatties Stack


With a Steel Ring

  1. Place your ring on the plate you wish to serve on
  2. Add a layer of haggis, filling roughly a third of the ring or 1 inch.
  3. Push down on the haggis using the back of a spoon to make sure it’s firm.
  4. Repeat this with the neeps and then the tatties.
  5. Carefully slide off the ring, using the back of your spoon to ease the ring up without losing the shape of the stack.


Without a ring

With a ring is much easier and will get you the desired 'stack' look. However, we did try this with our small pie dishes and we achieved the layered look if not quite a straight up and down stack.

  1. Take a small bowl and line with clingfilm with some hanging over the edges.
  2. The bottom layer in the bowl will be the top layer of your stack, so put a layer of tatties in the bottom and smooth with a spoon.
  3. Follow with a layer of neeps, and finally the layer of haggis.
  4. Smooth both down with a spoon so the layers are compact.
  5. Place a plate on top, face down, and then flip the bowl and plate so the bowl is upside down in the middle of the plate.
  6. Twist the bowl a little to loosen the wrap, hold down the clingfilm and gently lift the bowl up, then peel back the cling film and you have your stack!

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11 comments

Burns Supper: All About the Bard & Planning the Best Burns Night Menu - Scottish Scran January 18, 2021 - 5:12 pm

[…] Haggis with Neeps and Tatties, and a Whisky Sauce. […]

Reply
Kish Woolmore January 20, 2021 - 11:27 am

Looks good, but what size/diameter Ring would you recommend

Reply
admin January 20, 2021 - 5:35 pm

Thanks! Our ring was 8cm across and 4cm high so it wasn’t really big. I would say this is a small to medium portion.

Reply
17 Scottish Foods & Drinks You Have To Try - Scottish Scran January 20, 2021 - 5:11 pm

[…] out our Haggis, Neeps, and Tatties Stack Recipe and Vegetarian Haggis […]

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Simple Scottish Tattie Soup Recipe - Scottish Scran January 29, 2021 - 5:27 pm

[…] why we have so many Scottish recipes with potatoes, like Stovies, Tattie Scones, Cullen Skink, and Haggis, Neeps, and Tatties of […]

Reply
Traditional Food Around the World: 30 Famous Dishes You Can Make at Home - Green Global Travel January 30, 2021 - 6:58 pm

[…] so you can find a Haggis recipe here. Otherwise stick to buying the ready-made stuff and create a Haggis, Neeps, and Tatties Stack of your own!  -Sonja Bolger of Scottish […]

Reply
Traditional Food Around the World: 30 Famous Dishes You Can Make at Home - THE WALDEN POST January 30, 2021 - 7:14 pm

[…] so you can find a Haggis recipe here. Otherwise stick to buying the ready-made stuff and create a Haggis, Neeps, and Tatties Stack of your own!  -Sonja Bolger of Scottish […]

Reply
Traditional Food Around the World: 30 Famous Dishes You Can Make at Home – World Travel Blogger January 30, 2021 - 7:44 pm

[…] so you can find a Haggis recipe here. Otherwise stick to buying the ready-made stuff and create a Haggis, Neeps, and Tatties Stack of your own!  -Sonja Bolger of Scottish […]

Reply
Traditional Food Around the World: 30 Famous Dishes You Can Make at Home – Bret and Mary – The Knowing Today January 30, 2021 - 11:56 pm

[…] so you can find a Haggis recipe here. Otherwise stick to buying the ready-made stuff and create a Haggis, Neeps, and Tatties Stack of your own!  -Sonja Bolger of Scottish […]

Reply
Traditional Food Around the World: 30 Famous Dishes You Can Make at Home - Bret and Mary - The Daily Grand January 30, 2021 - 11:56 pm

[…] so you can find a Haggis recipe here. Otherwise stick to buying the ready-made stuff and create a Haggis, Neeps, and Tatties Stack of your own!  -Sonja Bolger of Scottish […]

Reply
Traditional Food Around the World: 30 Famous Dishes You Can Make at Home - Easy2book January 31, 2021 - 2:11 pm

[…] so you can find a Haggis recipe here. Otherwise stick to buying the ready-made stuff and create a Haggis, Neeps, and Tatties Stack of your own!  -Sonja Bolger of Scottish […]

Reply

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