Why Are Sheep Lungs Illegal In The Us Rock Your Burns Night or Hogmanay with Haggis, Tatties, and Neeps

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Prep:
20 mins

Cook:
2 hrs 20 mins

Total:
2 hrs 40 mins

Servings:
4 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
1385 Calories
102g Fat
57g Carbs
59g Protein

Show Full Nutrition Label

×

Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4
Amount per serving
Calories 1385
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 102g 131%
Saturated Fat 55g 274%
Cholesterol 787mg 262%
Sodium 1177mg 51%
Total Carbohydrate 57g 21%
Dietary Fiber 9g 31%
Total Sugars 8g
Protein 59g
Vitamin C 63mg 313%
Calcium 124mg 10%
Iron 15mg 84%
Potassium 1607mg 34%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

There are a couple of special celebration nights in Scotland—Burns Night and Hogmanay—when the traditional dish of haggis, tatties, and neeps is served. Haggis is a famous Scottish preparation similar to black pudding in texture, made out of sheep’s offal (lung, liver, heart), spices, onions, and suet, and cooked in the animal’s stomach. Nowadays, it’s normally cooked in casings rather than the stomach. It is always served with mashed potatoes (called “tatties”) and mashed turnips (called “neeps”).

Keep in mind that depending on where you are located, neeps may mean something different. In England, neeps are considered turnips. However, in Scotland, neeps are considered rutabaga. Swede (Swedish or white turnips) are also called neeps.

The haggis makes or breaks this recipe, so make sure you buy a good quality haggis, be it traditional meat or a vegetarian type. A wee dram of Scotch whisky would be traditional to accompany this truly Scottish meal.

“This is traditionally eaten as a Burns Night dish, but is delicious all year round. The method of boiling the haggis is super-easy and ensures it is piping hot all the way through. Try crumbling the cooked haggis with a fork if you want an alternative presentation to slices.” — Julia Hartbeck

Haggis, Tatties and Neeps/Tester Image
A Note From Our Recipe Tester

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 to 3 1/2 pounds haggis

  • 1 1/4 pounds potatoes, peeled and coarsely chopped

  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt, divided

  • 4 tablespoons (2-ounces) unsalted butter, divided

  • 1/4 cup milk, divided

  • 1 pinch freshly grated nutmeg

  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

  • 1 1/4 pounds turnips, peeled, and coarsely chopped

Steps to Make It

Cook the Haggis

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Haggis, Tatties, and Neeps ingredients

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck


  2. Cook the haggis first by placing it in a large pot and covering it with cold water. Cover the pan with a lid and bring to boil over high heat.

    Cook the haggis by placing it in a large pot and covering it with water, bring to boil

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck


  3. Reduce the heat to a simmer. Cook for 40 minutes per pound; for a 3 1/2-pound haggis, cook for 2 hours and 20 minutes. While the haggis cooks, prepare the potatoes and turnips.

    boiling the haggis in a pot with water

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck


Cook the Potatoes

  1. Place the potatoes in a large saucepan. Cover with cold water. Add a pinch of salt.

    potatoes cooking in a pot with water

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck


  2. Cover the pan with a lid and bring the potatoes to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook until tender, about 20 minutes.

    potatoes boiling in a covered pot

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck


  3. Drain the potatoes. Do not wash the saucepan, you will use it again.

    drain the potatoes in a colander

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck


  4. Mash the potatoes with a potato masher or ricer. Set aside.

    Mash the potatoes with a potato masher

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck


  5. In the pan in which the potatoes were cooked, add 2 tablespoons of the butter and 2 tablespoons of the milk. Melt over medium heat.

    add butter and milk to a pan

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck


  6. Add the potatoes to the pan and mix well.

    add potatoes to the milk and butter

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck


  7. Add a pinch of nutmeg and pepper to taste and stir well to create a smooth, creamy mash. Set aside.

    add nutmeg and pepper to the mashed potatoes in the pan

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck


Cook the Turnips

  1. Add the turnips to a large saucepan. Cover with cold water. Add a pinch of salt.

    turnips in a pot with water

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck


  2. Cover the pan, bring the turnips to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Cook until tender, about 20 minutes.

    turnips cooking in a covered pot

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck


  3. Drain the turnips.

    drain the turnips in a colander

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck


  4. Mash the turnips with a ricer or potato masher. Set aside.

    mash the turnips with a potato masher

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck


  5. In the pan that you cooked the turnips, add the remaining 2 tablespoons butter and 2 tablespoons milk. Melt over medium heat.

    butter and milk in a pan

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck


  6. Add the cooked turnips and stir until smooth and creamy.

    add turnips to the milk and butter in the pan

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck


Serve Haggis, Tatties, and Neeps

  1. Once cooked, remove the haggis from the water, place on a serving dish and let rest for 5 minutes before cutting it open with scissors or a knife.

    cut the Haggis open

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck


  2. Slice the haggis and serve with tatties and neeps.

    Slice the haggis and serve with tatties and neeps, potatoes and turnips

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck


Traditional Haggis Dinner

Although a meal of haggis, potatoes, and turnips is hearty and filling enough, you can offer other dishes to make it a truly Scottish spread:

  • Start your meal with a small bowl of cock-a-leekie soup, a traditional chicken and leek soup, thickened with rice and flavored with carrots and spices.
  • Make the haggis your main dish, always making sure all guests have potatoes and turnips alongside their haggis.
  • Finish your dinner with Scottish cranachan, a delicious dessert made out of toasted oatmeal, cream, whisky, and raspberries, layered in a beautiful presentation.

What Do Haggis Taste Like?

Haggis are a unique food with an interesting taste. Many people agree that haggis has an earthy, nutty, and peppery flavor with a rather pungent odor. The texture is crumbly and grainy. Well-made haggis is quite delicious—comparable to black pudding, pâté, and even meatloaf—though lower-quality haggis can be disappointing.

Are Haggis Illegal in the U.S.?

Authentic Scottish haggis has not been available in the United States since the country placed a ban on the use and import of livestock lungs in 1971. In 1998, the U.S. also banned beef, sheep, and goat imports from the European Union due to concerns of Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE, commonly known as mad cow disease). However, American companies have been producing lung-free haggis for a number of years and you can get vegetarian haggis. In 2020, an inspection update found regions in the U.K. at a negligible or controlled risk for BSE. That may affect the import restrictions on animal product imports, though not for haggis that include lungs.


Article Sources

The Spruce Eats uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. U.S. Department of Agriculture. USDA APHIS | Animal Health Status of Regions. Aphis.usda.gov. 2020.

Video about Why Are Sheep Lungs Illegal In The Us

Top 10 Foods Banned In The United States

A chocolate egg, tea and Ackee fruit. No, it’s not my week’s grocery list, if that was your first thought. Sadly, it can’t be. Because what I’ve just listed are just some of the foods you can’t get your hands on in the United States. No matter how hard you try to sneak them in. In today’s video, let’s take a look at all the foods that are currently banned in the United States, and why a delicious chocolate egg somehow made it onto the list. And did we mention the cheese with worms in it?

#banned #food #foods

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#10 – Haggis
If you love to binge-watch cooking shows or watch a compilation of Gordon Ramsay getting angry at his chefs, then you’ve probably heard of this traditional Scottish food called – Haggis. Native to the land of the kilt, Haggis is a savory pudding that is made up of very special meat. Can you guess which meat? Nope, take another guess. It’s a mix of Sheep’s heart, lungs and liver, which is stored and served within the stomach of the Sheep. While this unusual pudding is often a go-to meal for most Scotts, for the citizens of the United States – it’s actually illegal. And here’s why. In 1971, the US banned all import of Sheep lungs, as phlegm and stomach acid of the animal might contaminate the organ. And so, while technically you can still cook up Haggis without Sheep’s lungs, ask yourself this – would Gordon Ramsay approve?

#9 – Ackee Fruit
Growing up, most of us heard that eating fruits and vegetables would make us strong and healthy. I don’t know about you, but I’ve heard that lecture a couple of times in my teens. But if fruits are so great for our bodies, why is the Ackee Fruit banned from the United States? Well, for those who don’t know, the delicious Ackee Fruit is actually the national fruit of Jamaica. The orange-colored and black-pitted sweet is extremely popular in East Asia and Africa as well. But the US – is definitely not a fan. And hasn’t been since 1973.

#8 – Japanese Puffer Fish
If you’re a big Sushi lover like me, chances are you are no stranger to Salmon, Shrimp or Tuna in your finger-tasting rolls. But did you know there is one type of fish that is completely banned from the United States? Take a look at the extremely poisonous Japanese Puffer Fish, also known as Fugu. Infamous for its super- dangerous tetrodotoxin, this Puffer Fish is definitely not one you should ever try. Why, you may ask? Well, as Fugu can cause dizziness, paralysis and even death, it’s best to stay clear of this Japanese delicacy. And I’m sure you will agree as well. That is why, ever since 1980, the United States has issued a ban, making the Japanese Puffer Fish illegal across the country. No Fugu in our Sushi anytime soon.

#7 – Sassafras Oil
OK, to be fair, we kind of understand why a deadly ocean creature had to be banned from the United States. And I’m sure you do too. But why is a tree, and it’s blossoms also deemed as dangerous as the toxic Puffer Fish? Well, ever since 1979, the Food and Drug Administration has put a ban on the infamous Sassafras tree, its roots and oil. And here’s why. Even though Sassafras was once used to treat many medical conditions and was a great tea flavor for most, the US found its potential cancerous risks. Maybe it’s best if we stick to Green or Breakfast Tea for now

#6 – Casu Marzu
While most of us may not be food experts, we do know the basics of how Cheese is made. If you answered by ‘curdling milk’ then you are absolutely right and you probably listened to your science teachers in school. Well, while most cheese types are made in the traditional way, there is one banned food that has a very special recipe behind it. Casu Marzu, a delicacy in the nation of Sardinia, is also known as ‘the world’s most dangerous’ cheese. Why? Because live maggots are used to infect the cheese and create that one-of-a-kind taste. Yes, you heard that right – once the larvae of the maggot’s hatch, they begin to digest and eat through the cheese – making it softer and helping its fermentation process. And that’s why Casu Marzu has a taste like no other. Fun fact, not only is this traditional Sardinian food banned in the United States, but it’s also illegal in the European Union countries! Who knew cheese could be so dangerous?

Keep watching for the top 5 foods that are banned in America!

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