Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Balmoral Chicken with Neep and Tattie Rosti

Having singularly failed to cook something Chinese themed on Monday and something with peanut butter yesterday - apparently it was National Peanut Butter Day, but I have a feeling this was an American celebration and us Brits used it as an excuse to jump on the bandwagon and scoff lots of peanut butter - I felt I should really make up for it today and do something Scottish-themed for Burns Night.

I tweeted my lovely Twitter chum Alison, aka @hungrysquirrels and she very kindly furnished me with not only a recipe for Balmoral Chicken, but also a recipe for Neeps, Tatties and Whisky gravy.  I duly hopped off to Sainsburys with the child last night but after a tantrum in the cafe over coffee (me) and a tantrum over bananas (her),  I managed to forget bacon, whisky and cream.  Thinking cap on and determined to break my haggis-virginity, I restyled it with a modern, Wiltshire twist.  More of that later.

Losing my haggis virginity at the tender age of *ahem* thirty-something was an interesting experience.  We spent many family holidays in Scotland when I was a child.  During my teenage years, we even stayed with relatives of my first stepfather and they had the kind of diet that us English rather blindly assume is the norm in Scotland.  Full fried breakfast every morning with links (normal sausages), puce coloured Scottish sausage, black pudding and slicing haggis.  If they were feeling healthy, breakfast was a choice of sausage or haggis with fried egg in a morning roll.  I lived on chocolate porridge for two weeks.

But as I'm supposed to be trying different things, I figured I had to go the whole sheeps-innard and try the real thing.  Normally, I would've wigged-out and just gone for the veggie version, but Alison's recipe was for haggis wrapped in chicken, which in turn was wrapped in bacon and baked.  It seemed to me the right balance of trying something new and not quite diving in at the deep end.

So I set about creating my take on this dish.  The original recipe is here.  I replaced the bacon with some prosciutto and with the absence of the cream required for the neeps and tatties recipe, I decided to make a rosti instead.  Just a touch of butter was required for this, so it kept the calories in check.

Spot the spare 'neep'
I didn't have the requisite hours to labour over the dish and was also doing my usual trick of cooking two separate dinners and making everyone's lunches for tomorrow all in the space of thirty minutes, so in my haste, my rosti fell to bits when I turned it over.  It probably would've browned more if I'd not been so stingy with the butter.  But the combination of the potato and the turnip was really pleasant.  I'd chosen not to put any onion in because I've never eaten turnips before either and wanted to distinguish the flavour from the potato.  It was kind of like eating nicely fried potato and swede.  Save for it not being yellow, in my book, I wouldn't have been able to tell the difference in a blind taste test.

As for the haggis - well it was interesting.  Wrapped inside the chicken, it was almost just like a random type of tasty stuffing.  It was a little soft for my liking and I know if I'd just had the haggis by itself, I wouldn't have finished it.  But the flavours were lovely and the chicken stayed lovely and moist.

Trouble is now, my freezer has 460g of sliced haggis in it.  So I've now got to hop around and see what else I can find to do with it.  Or if I leave it long enough, my dogs will be in for a treat!

Anyway a huge thanks to Ali for encouraging me to try haggis.  I will definitely make this again if I'm cooking on Burns night for people who aren't quite so 'discerning' in what they eat (if you're a regular follower, this is the politically correct way I will now try to refer to my husbands 'delicate' palate)

This is my take on Balmoral Chicken, which comes in at just shy of 500 cals per portion, including the rosti.

Serves 2

  • 2 chicken breasts, approx 150g each
  • 4 slices prosciutto or 6 rashers of bacon (bacon increases the calorie count)
  • 85g haggis
  • 100g potato, parboiled and grated
  • 100g turnip, parboiled and grated
  • 15g butter
  1. Make a slit along the thick part of each chicken breast.  Divide the haggis into two and mould each piece into a sausage shape.  Tuck the haggis into the slit in the chicken.
  2. Wrap each chicken breast tightly with the prosciutto or bacon.  Secure with cocktail sticks if necessary.
  3. Bake for 30 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, to make the rosti, combine the grated potato and haggis in a bowl and season to taste.  Divide the mixture in half and shape into flat discs.
  5. Melt the butter in a frying pan over a medium heat until it foams.  Carefully place one of the rosti discs into the pan and cook until browned.  Carefully turn the rosti over and cook until brown.  Keep warm and repeat with the other rosti.
  6. To serve, put a rosti on each of the serving plates.  Slice the chicken breasts on the diagonal and arrange on top of the rosti.  Serve with vegetables and gravy.

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