Hack pudding is a version of Haggis made in the Lake District of England, in Cumbria (formerly Cumberland.)
It is a meat pudding, sweetened, stuffed in an animal skin and simmered to cook it.
The stuffing consists of minced meat (and suet), fruit such as apples, dried fruits such as currants, oats soaked overnight in milk, and beaten eggs as a binder, all sweetened with sugar. Spices might be nutmeg, mace and pepper. About half the mixture would be oats.
The meat could be lamb, mutton, sheep offal such as heart, or occasionally beef.
Intestines can be used as packing for small Hack Puddings, a calf’s stomach for large ones, and a horse’s stomach for very large ones.
Slices of Hack Pudding can be toasted or grilled over the fire.
Hack Pudding was traditional in the Lake District first thing on Christmas morning until the mid 1800s.
Literature & Lore
“Sir, There are some Counties in England, whose Customs are never to be set aside and our Friends in Cumberland, as well as some of our Neighbours in Lancashire, and elsewhere, keep them up. It is a Custom with us every Christmas Day in the Morning, to have, what we call an Hackin, for the Breakfast of the young Men who work about our House; and if this Dish is not dressed by that time it is Day-light the Maid is led through the Town, between two Men, as fast as they can run with her up Hill and down Hill, which she accounts a great shame. But as for the Receipt to make this Hackin, which is admired so much by us, it is as follows.
Take the Bag or Paunch of a Calf, and wash it, and clean it well with Water and Salt; then take some Beef-Suet, and shred it small, and shred some Apples, after they are pared and cored, very small. Then put in some Sugar, and some Spice beaten small, a little Lemon-Peel cut very fine, and a little Salt, and a good quantity of Grouts, or whole Oatmeal, steep’d a Night in Milk; then mix these all together, and add as many Currans pick’d clean from the Stalks, and rubb’d in a coarse Cloth; but let them not be wash’d. And when you have all ready, mix them together, and put them into the Calf’s-Bag, and tie them up, and boil them till they are enough. You may, if you will, mix up with the whole, some Eggs beaten, which will help to bind it. This is our Custom to have ready, at the opening of the Doors , on Christmas-Day in the Morning. It is esteem’d here; but all that I can say to you of it, is, that it eats somewhat like a Christmas-Pye, or is somewhat like that boil’d. I had forgot to say, that with the rest of the Ingredients, there should be some Lean of tender Beef minced small.” — Richard Bradley, The Country Housewife and Lady’s Director. London: 1736.
Some people surmise that the word “hack” basically means just that, referring to been that was “hacked at”, or minced, from the French word “haché.”
Is Haggis English and Not Scottish? Carlisle, Cumbria: News and Star. 5 August 2009.