A Scottish-Italian fusion recipe that will warm your belly and heart, this Zuppa Toscana with haggis marries the flavours of a hearty zuppa with the spiciness of the haggis into a truly unique taste.
This winter I have been a bit obsesses with Zuppa Toscana and I made it ad nauseam. It’s such a comforting dish that I couldn’t resist a hearty bowl with some of my crispy rosemary focaccia. Finding quality Italian sausage is a bit tricky in the UK, and I have often resorted to making my own.
But one day, I had a brilliant idea. What if I added some haggis to my soup instead of sausage? I have made several Italian-inspired dishes with haggis, like my creamy pasta with haggis and kale or my white pizza with haggis and mushrooms. What could possibly go wrong? Apparently nothing at all!
What does Zuppa Toscana with haggis taste like?
If you never had haggis, you should know that it tastes very similar to a spicy sausage and any negative stories you may have heard about it are simply not true. I am not Scottish by birth, but when I first tasted haggis, it was love at first bite. The oaty texture is delightful and the peppery taste is, as Larousse Gastronomique puts it, “a delicious savoury flavor.”
Haggis is banned in the U.S. because of the lung part, but I understand you can find American haggis versions that exclude lungs. I haven’t tasted them, but I assume they should tase rather similar to the real thing, so if you live in the U.S. and want to try this recipe, you can totally do it.
For those readers in the UK, particularly those in Scotland, there are multiple types of haggis to choose from. I prefer the one from Simon Howie that is available in most Scottish supermarkets. The Original version is my favourite, but if you want the zuppa to be suitable for vegetarians, you can go for the Vegetarian version instead.
What do you need to make this Scottish-inspired soup?
To make Zuppa Toscana with haggis, you start with the base ingredients for a regular Zuppa Toscana, but instead of using Italian sausage, you fry up some crumbled haggis instead.
- Haggis – you need about 250 g (8.5 oz) haggis for this recipe. Keep in mind that unlike sausage, haggis tends to self-destruct, so to speak, when cooked, so if you want bigger chunks in your soup, you’ll need to leave the chunks larger than you would do with sausage.
- Red potatoes or any kind that won’t fall apart easily when cooked. I use the Albert Bartlett Rooster potatoes in the UK.
- Double cream (heavy cream)
- Vegetable stock
- Italian seasoning, oregano, thyme
- Chopped kale – I used Cavolo Nero for this recipe, but it would work well with any other type of kale you may have.
Can you make this recipe in the pressure cooker?
I sometimes make Zuppa Toscana in the Instant Pot to save time, but I originally developed the recipe for the stovetop. The recipe card below lists the step for making Zuppa Toscana with haggis on the stovetop, but if you want to make in the pressure cooker, you can follow the first steps on the “saute” function of the pot, and then cook on high for 5 minutes with a rapid release, leaving out the double cream and kale. When it’s done, add the double cream and kale and close the lid for 2-3 minutes to allow the kale to wilt.
Can you freeze zuppa toscana?
This recipe makes about eight servings of Zuppa Toscana soup, so it’s perfect for batch cooking, and you can freeze the leftovers safely. Just make sure you use a freezer-friendly container and you allow the soup to cool completely before freezing. It will keep for one month in the freezer. I advise you avoid defrosting it in the microwave — instead, let it thaw and then reheat it on the stove.
How to serve this haggis soup?
I like to serve this soup with my crispy rosemary focaccia, but it goes well with just about any type of crusty bread. You can even have it on its own if you want to cut down on calories, as the soup is surprisingly filling.
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 250 g (8.8 oz.) haggis
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 5-6 cloves garlic, minced
- 1.5 litres (1 1/2 quarts) vegetable stock
- 5-6 red potatoes, peeled and cut into cubes
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tsp Italian seasoning
- 1 tsp oregano
- 1/2 tsp thyme
- 1/2 tsp chilli flakes
- 150 ml double cream
- 200 g kale, chopped
- In a heavy-based pot, heat up the olive oil over medium heat and fry the haggis for 3-4 minutes until slightly crispy. Break it up with a wooden spoon or spatula, keeping in mind that it will break up more on its own in the soup.
- Add the chopped onion and fry for 2-3 minutes until it softens. Add the garlic and cook for 1 more minute.
- Pour the stock in and bring to a boil. Add the Italian seasoning, oregano, thyme, chilli flakes, salt, and pepper. Now add the potatoes and boil for 10 minutes until tender when you stick a fork in them.
- Reduce the heat to low and stir in the double cream and kale. Simmer for 2-3 minutes until the kale softens. Season with extra salt and pepper if needed.
- Serve immediately with crusty bread.
You can add 50 ml white wine with the garlic and cook until it evaporates before proceeding to the next step.
To make the soup thicker, only use 1.2 - 1.25 litres stock.
To make the soup in a pressure cooker, follow the first three steps on the “saute” function of the pot, and then cook on high for 5 minutes with a rapid release, leaving out the double cream and kale. When it’s ready, add the double cream and kale and close the lid for 2-3 minutes to allow the kale to wilt.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 397Total Fat: 16gSaturated Fat: 8gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 81mgSodium: 773mgCarbohydrates: 52gFiber: 5gSugar: 6gProtein: 11g
Nutritional information is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator.