Saturday, 23 August 2014

Recipe corner: Haggis stuffed chicken with carrot and ginger mash and orange and whisky sauce

As recipe titles go, it's not the snappiest, is it?  You will also, if you scroll down, see it is not the lowest points offering in the world BUT it is absolutely delicious.  And look, my food photography is as pitiful as ever, but the carrot mash was in a tower!  That's how I roll for Friday night suppers.

I have had a mild haggis obsession since our first trip up to Western Scotland - four years ago if memory serves (and it doesn't always, I drink a lot of gin).  This is the first time that I have used it as a stuffing and it worked marvellously well - it has a subtle, spicy warmth to it which is perfect as an accent.  Here, the mash and the sauce are both quite sweet (the sauce in particular, which I have vaguely based on a couple of whisky Cumberland sauce recipes that I found online, tastes a little like marmalade - don't let that put you off!)  But when eaten in conjunction with the meat they work brilliantly well.  I also roasted off some curly kale to sit underneath the chicken and I would recommend serving this dish with some sort of iron rich green vegetable for an additional savoury note.

To cut down on points you could use a skinless chicken breast and/or reduce the amount of butter used.  Don't skimp on the haggis though.  They don't call it the chieftain of the pudding race for nothing.


20g butter

2 medium, skin-on chicken breasts
100g haggis (we use MacSween's which is readily available in supermarkets)
Tbsp half fat creme fraiche

3-4 large carrots, peeled and chopped
Fresh grated ginger to taste (probably about a tbsp worth)

Shallot, finely chopped
Juice of 2 oranges
Zest of 1/2 an orange
50ml whisky
Tbsp redcurrant jelly
Tsp English mustard
Pinch of cayenne pepper

Serves 2, 16 pro points per portion

Weigh out your butter - you'll use this across all three aspects of the dish and can adjust what goes where to suit.

The carrot mash can easily be done in advance: boil the carrots until soft, drain and then roughly mash or crush - you are not looking for a smooth puree here.  Grate in the ginger and add seasoning and a knob of butter and combine over a gentle heat until the butter is melted.  Add enough ginger so that it gives your mash a mellow warmth but does not overpower the carrots themselves.

Prepare your chicken: carefully butterfly the breast.  Pop the haggis in a bowl, cover with cling film, pierce and microwave on high for 2 minutes.  Combine it with the creme fraiche to loosen slightly.  Spread the haggis on one half of the chicken breast and then fold up and secure with cocktail sticks.  Season the chicken skin well and set aside.

In a small pan, melt another knob of butter and gently cook the shallot until soft.  Add the whisky - you can light it at this point but, be warned, there is quite a lot of alcohol in 50ml and it will flame high and for quite a long time.  Act nonchalant.  Flamed or not, you want to reduce the whisky down to practically nothing.  Then you can add the other ingredients and stir over a medium heat until the jelly melts.  Don't reduce it here - you'll do that in a minute - you're just looking to get everything amalgamated.

Preheat your oven to 190.  Heat the remainder of the butter in a frying pan and place the chicken breasts skin side down.  Fry for about five minutes, so they get a good amount of colour and crustiness on the skin.  Then transfer, skin side up, onto an oven tray and thence into the oven for about fifteen minutes to cook through.

Keep the chicken pan over a low heat and pour in your orange sauce mix.  Use the liquid to scrape up all the lovely, crusty bits of chicken stuck to the pan and combine with the buttery meat juices.  Raise the heat and start to reduce the sauce down by around two thirds to a sticky, marmalade scented syrup.  If you have made the carrot mash in advance, be sure to reheat it at this stage.

Serve chicken, carrot and sauce preferably with some form of green vegetable.

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