Balmoral chicken

  • Serves: 4
  • Preparation time: 30 minutes
  • Cooking time: 30 minutes
  • Total time: 1½ hour

Ingredients

  • 4 skinless chicken breasts, whole
  • 16 rashers smoked bacon
  • 200g haggis
  • For the mash
  • 1.25kg/2¾lb floury potatoes, peeled
  • ½ cup crème fraiche or milk (Optional)
  • 25g/1oz butter
  • Salt & black pepper
  • For the sauce
  • White wine sauce
Balmoral chicken

Haggis is traditionally served with neeps (turnip/swede) and tatties (potatoes), but I find that doesn't always do haggis justice. A more modern take is Balmoral chicken - chicken breast stuffed with haggis and wrapped in bacon.

Rather than cutting into the chicken breast I think its better to roll the haggis in chicken, for a start you can get more haggis in them, and secondly this way involves hitting some chicken with a rolling pin and that's more fun!

I also cannot stress enough the importance of using good quality haggis. Many people read the description of haggis and dismiss it, but to me thats down to misconception - haggis has a lovely peppery, nutty taste, and shares much of it's make up with the humble sausage. The quality really matters as a quality haggis will taste far better, and contain less fat and salt, and be much more enjoyable.

I would like to say a thank you to Macsween Haggis who kindly provided the Haggis used in the recipe. Macsween is a family ran business that has been producing quality haggis in Edinburgh for over 50 years and I can recommend them highly.

Preparation

The chicken breasts are going to be filled with haggis and rolled up. To do this, butterfly each chicken breast to open each of them up, place between two sheets of cling film and beat the chicken out into 1cm/½in thick rectangles. The size should be about the same as the four rashers of bacon.

Method

  1. Butterfly each chicken breast and beat them out until flat as described above, and leave the breast sitting on a sheet of cling film as it will help you roll it tightly.
  2. On another sheet of cling film lay out four strips of the bacon, try to avoid gaps as this will be the outer layer of the chicken and how neatly this is done will affect the final appearance of the dish.
  3. Lay the flattened chicken breast on top of the bacon.
  4. Place 100g of quality haggis inside the center of one edge - I found that chopping the haggis up then squeezing it together into a semi solid sausage shape was easiest way to do this.
  5. Wrap the haggis inside the chicken breast by gently lifting the cling film where the haggis is, and as it lifts pull it slightly over the rest of the chicken breast, and it should start to wrap the haggis inside a sausage of chicken. Take care to keep it all together neatly - and keep the chicken tucked in.
  6. You should now have the haggis wrapped in chicken and then in turn wrapped in bacon. Keep the cling film on and wrap up the parcels tightly and place on a plate ready to refrigerate.
  7. Repeat the process for the four chicken breasts - don't worry it will get easier and neater each time!
  8. Put the plate in the fridge and refrigerate the parcels for about 15 minutes - it helps them to stay together.
  9. Preheat your oven to 160ºC/325°F or Gas Mark 3.
  10. Remove the cling film from the parcels, place on to a baking tray with some foil on and place in the oven for about 25 minutes.
  11. Start boiling the potatoes now and they should be ready around the same time as the parcels.
  12. After 25 minutes, switch the oven off, spoon over some of the cooking fats from the chicken and bacon, and grill the parcels until the bacon takes some colour and crisps. This should only take a few minutes.
  13. Drain and mash the potatoes and add the cream to make a smooth rich mash.
  14. Remove the parcels from the oven and rest them a little and let the fats drain away.
  15. Season to taste and serve with a creamy potato mash, your sauce, and some broccoli or green beans.
A tale often told to tourists is that the haggis is actually an animal, with one set of legs shorter than the other, allowing it to stand on the Scottish hills. It is killed and its legs removed, then cooked and served. A survey conducted on American visitors to Scotland found that nearly a third of them believed this to be true!

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