There is a dish in Scotland known as Balmoral chicken. It is usually served only in better quality restaurants but is actually very easy to make at home. It is basically a skinless chicken breast fillet, carefully cut open and stuffed with haggis before being wrapped in bacon to be cooked. A sauce made from single malt whisky* and heavy (double) cream is usually made to accompany the finished dish. This recipe is based on that dish but sees the chicken breast wrapped in the haggis rather than the other way around.
*There is no letter "e" in the word whisky when you are referring to the Scottish product.
In order to prepare this dish for one person, the haggis and chicken ingredients obviously had to be bought in larger quantities than were required. It is entirely possible to prepare the croquettes and store them uncooked in the fridge for a couple of days, or the freezer for two or three months, provided of course in the latter instance that none of the ingredients have previously been frozen and defrosted.
Ingredients (Serves 1)
- 2 golf ball sized balls of rolled haggis meat*
- 1/4 very small chicken breast fillet
- 1 small egg
- 2 tablespoons all purpose (plain) flour
- 4 tablespoons golden breadcrumbs (panko breadcrumbs would also work very well)
- 1 large, starchy (floury) potato - a baking suitable potato is perfect
- 1/4 small rutabaga (Swede turnip)
- 1/4 stick (1 ounce) unsalted butter
- 2 teaspoons freshly chopped chives, plus a little extra to garnish
- Salt and white pepper
- 1/2 cup frozen garden peas
*Due to the presently ongoing Scottish haggis ban in the USA, you could use blood pudding/sausage, hamburger meat or virtually any type of ground meat as a direct substitute.
Peel the potato and chop it in to approximately one inch chunks. Peel the quarter rutabaga and chop to a similar size. Add both to a large pot of cold water. Season with a little bit of salt. Put the pot on to a high heat until the water starts to boil then reduce the heat to achieve a simmer for around twenty minutes, until all the vegetable pieces are just softened.
Take one of the haggis balls and flatten it between the palms of your hands to an oval shape approximately a quarter of an inch thick. Lay the chicken piece in the center and lay on a plate. Flatten the second haggis ball in the same way and lay it on top of the chicken. What you now need to do is shape the combination between your hands in to the approximate shape of an egg, ensuring the chicken is fully encased in the haggis meat or equivalent. It's not really that awkward to do if you just take a careful minute or two to do it properly.
You will need three, flat bottomed serving plates or bowls for the next stage. Add the breadcrumbs to one, the flour to the second and break the egg in to the third. Beat the egg with a fork just until the yolk and white are fully combined.
The next stage is not particularly difficult but you need to be a little bit delicate and careful, so as not to damage the haggis and chicken parcel. Start by rolling it in the four to fully and evenly coat. Roll in a similar way in the beaten egg and finally in the breadcrumbs. You should hopefully find that the flour sticks to the damp haggis meat, the egg to the flour and the breadcrumbs subsequently to the egg. Sit temporarily on a holding plate while you prepare the pan for deep frying.
You can use a deep fat fryer but I prefer to use a deep frying pan filled with oil. It allows me to better watch the croquette cooking, turning it when I see fit. The oil should be brought up to a fairly high heat and the croquette added to deep fry for eight to ten minutes. It should be turned about every minute with a deep fat frying spider or metal slotted spoon.
When the croquette is beautifully golden and cooked, lift it to a plate covered with kitchen paper to drain off and rest while you prepare the clapshot and peas.
Drain the potato and rutabaga through a colander at your sink. Let them steam off for a few minutes. If you mash them straight away, the moisture that will otherwise escape in the form of steam will make your clapshot soggy and unappetizing. Add the frozen peas to a small pot of boiling water for three minutes.
Add the butter to the steamed off potatoes and rutabaga and season with white pepper. Mash with a hand masher just until no lumps remain.
Stir the chives in to the mash with a spoon. This completes the preparation of the clapshot, the invention of which is associated with the very far North of Scotland.
Drain the peas through a colander at your sink. Spoon the clapshot in to the center of a deep serving plate and arrange the peas as a border.
The haggis and chicken croquette can be served either whole or cut in half. Similarly, you may wish to prepare a simple the whisky and cream sauce to drizzle over the top, as would be the case with Balmoral chicken. Either way, garnish with the remaining chives before serving.
I served this dish with a beautiful Scottish real ale from the Orkney Islands called, appropriately enough, "Orkney Dark Island Ale."