Haggis bon bons are essentially just breaded balls of haggis, but the combination of crisp outside and softer, meaty inside makes them a delicious finger food appetizer. Perfect to snack on, especially with dipping sauce on the side.
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Haggis is on many people's list as one of the things you must try when visiting Scotland. True, some are more wary, especially as the ingredients may not appeal to all, but if you try it, you may well find you really enjoy it.
And whether you are already a fan, or just want to give it a trial run (or want to introduce others to it), these haggis-based bites are a great way to enjoy haggis in a crisp little bite.
What is haggis?
Haggis is often considered the national dish of Scotland. It's a combination of coarse oats (pinhead oatmeal), lamb offal, onion and spices. You traditionally serve it with mashed rutabaga (swede) and mashed potato, aka "neeps and tatties". I've previously shared a simplified haggis that keeps the general flavors with slightly easier to find (and easy to like ingredients, but the same general flavors.
For a while, haggis was for many something you ate once a year for Burns Night, if that, and was seen as a bit old fashioned or just for tourists. But these days a number of chefs have started treating it as more of an ingredient to experiment with and bring in to modern Scottish cooking in different ways.
These haggis-y bites are another great easy way to cook with haggis that are perfect for introducing people to it, and for entertaining.
What are haggis bon bons?
These crisp little haggis fritters are simply crispy breaded balls of haggis. They're a more recent creation, though it's not entirely sure who should get the credit for coming up with them. You could think of them as kind of like a Scottish take on arancini (crisp risotto balls), except due to the filling, more meaty. They are easy to make, a great use of leftover haggis, and perfect finger food to snack on.
You will find a couple slight variations in how to make these, with the main differences being slightly different seasonings. Also, some add egg or something else to the haggis to help it stick together.
Personally, I find haggis sticky enough that it doesn't need any additions. But I do like a bit of paprika in with the flour to add a bit of extra flavor.
How to make haggis bon bons
These are really easy to make, with only a few ingredients, and minimal prep time. The main tip is to get things ready before you start so you can have a relatively smooth process for rolling then cooking.
You can roll the haggis into balls a little ahead of time, as suits, and then just chill in the fridge. Alternatively, just set them aside while you get the ingredients for the breading ready.
To make sure you get a nice crisp crust, you use the fairly typical three step dipping:
- Flour - as mentioned above, I like to season with a little paprika. You can also add salt and pepper but I find haggis is usually well enough seasoned it's not necessary.
- Beaten egg - simply beat the egg enough to ensure mixed and no thick bits are left.
- Breadcrumbs - plain dry breadcrumbs are fine for this. You can make your own but sore bought are fine and will help ensure an even coating.
Once you have plates/bowls with each of these all prepared, get your oil ready for cooking. I suggest using vegetable oil as it works well with with higher heat and since it's relatively flavorless. Another neutral oil suitable for higher heat is also fine.
Traditionally, you deep fry these to crisp them up, but it also works shallow frying. You just need to make sure you have enough oil to at least cover halfway so that you only turn them once. This just helps avoid any part over-cooking.
With both ways of frying, you want the oil to be a medium-high heat. It should be hot enough that it crisps the breading rather than soaking in, but not so high it burns. Keep an eye as they cook as you may need to adjust to have them sizzle but not cook too quickly.
Roll your balls of haggis in the seasoned flour, then egg, then breadcrumbs and set on a plate. Make sure you gently shake off excess at each stage so you don't have a clump build up. Also, try to handle the balls as little as possible and clean your hands as you go. This helps avoid getting clumps from your hands on the bon bons (or pulling bits off).
Warm the oil, fry until crisp all over, drain on paper towel to remove excess oil then enjoy warm.
How to serve haggis bon bons
As mentioned, these are great as a finger food so would work well as part of an appetizer spread. They'd fit in perfectly for New Year's Eve or Burn's Night. Really, they're great for any excuse for a tasty finger food.
They're perfect for dipping in some kind of sauce, and you can go with pretty much any of your favorites. Ketchup, mayonnaise or even barbecue sauce would all work.
Here I have followed in the footsteps of a few other recipes with a whisky spiked sauce, in this case a honey mustard mayonnaise. It's a delicious combination and I highly recommend it, not just for these but other things that are dippable too.
If you want to make them that little bit fuller a dish, you could add some mashed rutabaga/swede and potatoes, or make it a little lighter with some salad. Though to me, they are best for snacking on.
Haggis bon bons are a great way to get a little taste of Scotland without much effort. They're crisp on the outside, while soft, meaty and peppery on the inside. Perfect for parties, Burns Night, as finger food or as an appetizer. Be sure to give them a try soon.
Try these other tasty finger foods:
- Sausage rolls (crisp pastry around a flavorful meaty filling)
- Gougères (French cheese puffs)
- Cauliflower pakora (gently spiced and crisp)
- Plus get more snack recipes, both sweet and savory, as well as British recipes (including Scottish) in the archives.
Haggis bon bons
- 9 oz haggis
- 3 tablespoon flour
- ¼ teaspoon paprika
- 1 egg
- ¼ cup dry breadcrumbs
- neutral oil for frying
For dipping sauce
- 3 tablespoon mayonnaise
- ½ tablespoon mustard eg Dijon
- 1 teaspoon whisky (Scottish best fit)
- 1 teaspoon honey
- Form small balls from the haggis - I suggest using a 1tbsp/15ml measuring spoon then press the haggis together to form a ball. Repeat until you have formed all of the haggis into balls and set aside (you can also chill them in the fridge if preparing ahead).
- Add the paprika to the flour and stir to mix through. Place in a small, shallow dish ready to roll the haggis balls in.
- Lightly beat the egg in a small dish to break it up and mix, without becoming too frothy. Place the breadcrumbs in a third small, shallow dish and line them all up so you can easily go from one to the next.
- Take each ball of haggis and roll it in the seasoned flour then gently shake off any excess. Next, roll in egg to coat, let any extra drip off then roll in the breadcrumbs. Repeat until all of the haggis balls are coated.
- Warm a layer of oil in a small skillet/frying pan over a medium-high heat - the oil should form a deep enough layer that the haggis balls would be half-covered (around ⅓in/1cm). (You can also use a deep fryer, if you prefer.)
- As the oil is heating, mix up the sauce - place the mayonnaise, mustard, whisky and honey in a small bowl and mix well to combine.
- Once the oil has heated, add the haggis balls in batches (you don't want to add too many at a time as it reduced the temperature and can be overcrowded). Cook for a couple minutes on each side until golden brown.
- Remove the cooked haggis bon bons form the oil using a slotted spoon or similar, then drain on kitchen paper for a minute to remove excess oil. Repeat with additional batches then serve with the honey mustard sauce.
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