Haggis, the national dish of Scotland, is the last thing you might expect to find veganized. We can fully capture the flavor of haggis by keeping the traditional ingredients of oats, barley, onions, and spices. The notorious organ meats can be replaced with mushrooms for a much improved meal!
Gather your ingredients!
In two separate pots, pour ½ cup of dry peas with 1 1/4 cups of water; and ½ cup dry, rinsed barley with 1 1/4 cups water. Raise the water to a boil, then simmer while covered to allow the peas and barley to absorb the water.
Both yellow and green peas will serve here. Yellow peas have a less sweet flavor, which goes well with this savory dish. However, green peas are more visually appealing.
Chop off any grainy spots on your carrots, and peel them.
Finely mince the two peeled carrots, 8 oz of brown mushrooms, and two onions. What kind of mushrooms are best? Personally, I enjoy the rich flavor of shiitake mushrooms, but a more affordable option like portabella will more than suffice.
You’ll want the pieces to be quite small so that the filling can be neatly and tightly packed into the pie.
Heat two tablespoons of vegetable oil for sautéing. Leave a fleck of onion in the oil. You’ll know the oil is ready for use when bubbles start appearing around the onion.
Add 4 teaspoons of garlic and the minced mushrooms, onions, and carrots to the pan. Lower the heat to medium and cook, stirring occasionally.
Once the onions have become translucent, stir in the cooked peas and cooked barley. Also sir in 1 cup of rolled oats.
The rolled oats will absorb some of the moisture, so be sure to mix them in thoroughly.
Mix together 3 cups of vegetable stock with 2 tsp of nutritional yeast, 4 tsp brown sugar, 1 1/3 tsp ground allspice and 2 tsp of black pepper.
Pour the stock and spice mixture over the filling in the hot pan. Cover and simmer this wet mixture at least five minutes, until the rolled oats are soft.
Afterwards, uncover and boil off the moisture until you can pass your spatula through the mixture and leave a fairly dry pan beneath. If the mixture is too wet, you’ll have pies with soggy, under-cooked bottoms.
Taste the mixture and add salt to your liking.
Flour a working surface and gently roll out one of the sheets of puff pastry.
It is so important to defrost these in the fridge overnight. If left to thaw at room temperature for too long, it can turn into a sticky, blobby block that is quite hard to roll out. Left frozen, and you won’t be able to manipulate it without cracking. The fridge is the perfect temperature to thaw puff pastry.
Use your pie tins to measure the pastry you must cut.
First, cut a circle slightly wider than the bottom of the pie tin to make the bottom of the pie.
Next, cut a rectangle with dimensions equal to the height and circumference of the tin to make the sides of the pie.
Finally, press the pie tin like a cookie cutter to make the top of the pie.
I made 6 small hand pies using tins with a 4″ diameter, 13″ circumference, and 3″ height.
A small, compact pie gives the best pastry-to-haggis ratio.
Line the pie tins with parchment paper so that your pie can be easily removed.
Fold the rectangular pieces of puff pastry into rings, pinching the two small ends of the rectangle together to make a seal. Place the rings into the tins to make the sides of the pies.
Take the slightly larger circular pieces and drop them to the bottom of the tins. Using your fingers, press the edges of the circles into the rings to seal the bottom of the pies to the sides of the pies. Don’t leave any open holes where filling could boil out.
Using a slotted spoon, tightly pack filling into the pies. If moisture drips through the slots, your haggis filling is still too wet. Return it to heat and boil off the excess moisture.
It’s important to pack the pies tightly. If they are packed loosely, the will likely fall while baking, giving the top of the pie a crater-like appearance.
Place the smaller pastry circles on top of the pie filling in each tin. Curve the sides of the pie over the tops, pinching to make a seal.
Poke the tops of the pies with a fork to add vents. Without this, the steam would puff up in bubbles and pockets throughout the crust, which would make some parts of the crust cook too quickly and also result in an uneven surface.
Bake the pies at 425 °F until the pastry puffs up and turns rosy brown. This may be as quick as ten minutes. Check the pies frequently to avoid burning.
Serve the pies warm and enjoy! A classic pairing would be to serve this with “neeps and tatties.”