As the 25th January is Burns Night, it felt fitting to serve a Burns style supper this evening. I decided to upscale the traditional haggis, neeps and tatties with Balmoral Chicken (a chicken supreme stuffed with haggis). It’s a dish that creeps onto restaurant menus at this time of year and then off again shortly afterwards, so it feels seasonal.

I’ve also had to divert slightly from the neeps and tatties. My son has an aversion to potatoes, regardless of how they are cooked. He’ll not touch a roast potato and will push chips or fries around should they ever find themselves onto his plate. I’ve always suspected he may be sensitive to the toxicity of the glycoalkaloids present in potatoes, but haven’t tested this.

His dislike of the potato is fine by me. Research shows their high glycemic load means they are digested rapidly by the body causing blood sugar and insulin to surge. Surprisingly, just 200g (or a cup) of potato is thought to have a similar effect on blood sugar as drinking a can of coke. Consequently, I usually choose to use white beans if there’s a call for mash. Let’s be clear though, and as is apparent on this site, my willingness to avoid potatoes doesn’t stretch to the roastie and we do occasionally embrace the sweet potato.

This evening’s mash embraced the neep, mixing swede with carrots (swedes are also referred to as turnips in Scotland). I chose cavolo nero as an additional side to add some colour to the plate and up the nutrient density.

The whisky sauce, uses Craigellachie 10 Year Old Mossburn No. 5 Single Speyside; a vintage cask single malt scotch whisky. Although this bottle wasn’t distilled locally, Mossburn has established a distillery in Jedburgh, making it our local whisky distillery.

Ingredients

4 chicken breasts
200g haggis
Salt and pepper
3 large carrots, cut into approx. 2cm chunks
½ swede, cut into approx. 2cm chunks
200ml double cream
200ml chicken stock, plus a little extra if you like your mash a thinner consistency
3 shallots, finely chopped
2 tbsp whisky
1 tsp grain mustard
Extra virgin olive oil
Cocktail sticks

Method

Heat oven to 200 degrees / 180 degrees fan.

Divide the haggis equally into four portions. Butterfly the chicken breasts and then fill with haggis. Use the cocktail sticks to seal the breast parcels shut around the haggis. Season with salt and pepper.

Heat a couple of tbsp of EVOO in a pan.  Add the chicken breasts and fry for 3 minutes on each side. Remove from the heat and transfer to a roasting tin and bake in the oven for 25 minutes until the chicken is cooked through.

Meanwhile, steam the swede and carrots for 15 minutes. Tip into a food processor, season with salt and pepper and blitz. Add a little stock to loosen if you prefer a smoother consistency.

To make the sauce, soften the shallots in the pan used to pan fry the chicken, scraping up any bits of chicken which have stuck to the pan. After about 7-8 minutes add the cream, stock, mustard and whisky and simmer until thickened. This should only take a few minutes.

Spoon the sauce over the chicken and serve with the mash and vegetables of your choice.