Balmoral chicken

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Balmoral Chicken
Balmoral chicken is a dish made from a chicken breast cut open on one side to create a pocket which is then stuffed with delicious Scottish haggis. The chicken is then wrapped in bacon and lightly browned before being cooked through in the oven.
Balmoral chicken is traditionally enjoyed with a delicious whisky sauce drizzled liberally over it. Balmoral chicken, also known as; Chicken Balmoral or even Highland Chicken.
Haggis is one of the national foods of Scotland and is traditionally served with neeps (turnip/swede) and tatties (potatoes), but I find that doesn't always do the haggis justice; this is a much more refined way to enjoy it.
As the dish contains haggis, this recipe for Balmoral Chicken is especially popular on Burns Night; January 25th – a national Scottish celebration of the birthday of the famous Scottish poet Robert Burns who famously wrote Address to the haggis. On the eve of his birthday, it's tradition to enjoy haggis and whiskey in his memory.
Whilst the origins of Balmoral chicken are not known, it is likely the dish gets its name from Queen Elizabeth II's grand Scottish estate, Balmoral Castle.
Rather than cutting into the chicken breast though I think it's 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 when making Balmoral Chicken. Many people read the description of haggis and dismiss it, but to me, that's down to misconception – haggis has a lovely peppery, nutty taste, and shares much of its makeup 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 this Balmoral chicken 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.
Our American readers may be saddened to know that haggis has been banned from import into the United States since 1971 and there isn't really an alternative to use instead – perhaps this is best enjoyed in the country of its origin, Scotland, anyway!
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Total Time 45 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine British
Servings 4

Ingredients  

  • 4 chicken breasts (skinless)
  • 16 rashers Smoked bacon
  • 200 g Haggis

For the mash

  • 1.25 kg Floury potatoes, peeled
  • 0.5 cup Crème fraiche or milk
  • 25 g Butter
  • Salt & Pepper

Instructions 

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Lay the flattened chicken breast on top of the bacon.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.Repeat the process for the four chicken breasts – don't worry it will get easier and neater each time!
  • Put the plate in the fridge and refrigerate the parcels for about 15 minutes – it helps them to stay together.
  • Preheat your oven to 160ºC/325°F or Gas Mark 3.
  • 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.
  • Start boiling the potatoes now and they should be ready around the same time as the parcels.
  • 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.
  • Drain and mash the potatoes and add the cream to make a smooth rich mash.
  • Remove the parcels from the oven and rest them a little and let the fats drain away.
  • Season to taste and serve with a creamy potato mash, your sauce, and some broccoli or green beans.

FAQ

What is balmoral chicken?

Balmoral chicken is a traditional Scottish dish made from chicken breast stuffed with haggis.

What is haggis?

Haggis is a savoury pudding containing sheep’s pluck (heart, liver, and lungs), minced with onion, oatmeal, suet, spices, and salt, mixed with stock.

Whilst it can sound a little daunting, the texture is like a dry, crumbly sausage, and it pairs well with many sauces, and meats like chicken.

What to serve with Balmoral Chicken?

Also known as Chicken Balmoral, it is a hearty food, and pairs well with root vegetables like potatoes, turnip/swede, carrots or greens broccoli or asparagus.

Traditionally it would be served with a whiskey sauce, but a peppercorn sauce works well too.

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.
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