|Haggis and chicken croquette on clapshot bed with peas|
Burns' Night 2014 is less than two weeks away and all over Scotland and beyond many people will be turning their thoughts to serving up haggis, tatties and neeps in honour of Scotland's Bard. While many will favour the established way of serving haggis with some boiled - perhaps mashed - tatties (potatoes) and neeps (Swede turnip/rutabaga), others will be like me and be looking for something just that little bit different this year without losing touch altogether with the tradition of the occasion.
Clapshot is simply tatties and neeps mashed together with some butter, pepper and chives. I've used the clapshot in this instance as a bed for a creation loosely based on the classic Scottish dish Balmoral Chicken, which sees a chicken breast stuffed with haggis. The chicken breast piece is here wrapped in haggis before being breadcrumbed and deep fried.
|Haggis and chicken breast meat|
Ingredients per Person
2 golf ball sized balls of haggis (I use MacSween's haggis)
1 small piece of chicken breast (approximately 1/6th small breast fillet)
1 small egg
2 tablespoons plain (all purpose) flour
4 tablespoons golden breadcrumbs
1 large floury/starchy potato
1/4 small Swede/rutabaga
1 ounce unsalted butter
1 teaspoon freshly chopped chives, plus extra to garnish
Salt and white pepper
2 tablespoons frozen peas
|Haggis and chicken parcels ready to be breadcrumbed|
Start by peeling and chopping the potato and turnip in to large chunks. Add to a pot of cold, salted water and bring the water to a simmer on a high heat. Reduce the heat and continue to simmer for about twenty minutes or until the pieces are just softened.
Flatten a ball of haggis between the palms of your hands in to a disc of approximately a quarter inch thickness. Lay a chicken piece in the centre. Flatten a second ball of haggis in the same way and lay on top. Carefully shape the creation in to an approximate egg shape, ensuring the chicken is completely encased in the haggis. Alternatively, you could roll the haggis between two sheets of clingfilm, as you would do when making a Haggis Scotch Egg.
|Breadcrumbing ingredients for haggis and chicken parcels|
Put the flour in one small flat bottomed bowl, the breadcrumbs in a second and lightly beat the egg in a third.
|Haggis and chicken croquettes ready for deep frying|
Carefully roll each haggis and chicken parcel in turn in the flour, then the egg, then the breadcrumbs. By then repeating the egg and breadcrumbs dip, you will get a nice, thick breadcrumbs coating.
|Deep frying haggis chicken croquettes|
Deep fry the croquettes in moderately hot oil for about ten minutes or until the breadcrumbs are nicely golden. Don't have the oil too hot or the breadcrumbs will burn before the chicken is cooked and as always, it is imperative that the chicken be fully cooked!
|Draining haggis chicken croquettes|
Lift the haggis chicken croquette(s) to a plate covered with kitchen paper to drain while you finish preparing the clapshot and simmer the peas in boiling water for three minutes before draining.
|Boiled potatoes and turnip are allowed to steam before being mashed|
Drain the potatoes and turnip and let them steam off in the pot for a few minutes to avoid soggy mash.
|Mashing potatoes and Swede turnip for clapshot|
Add the butter to the potatoes and turnip, season with white pepper and mash with a hand-masher.
|Chopped chives finish off clapshot|
Stir the teaspoon of chives in to the mash with a spoon.
|Clapshot bed and garden peas|
Arrange the clapshot as a bed in a circular serving plate and spoon the peas around it.
|Haggis and chicken croquette|
The haggis chicken croquette can be served either whole or halved. The benefit of serving it halved is that it allows you to see immediately whether the chicken is indeed fully cooked. In the unlikely event that it is not, you can simply deep fry the two halves for a further minute or so before draining again to serve.
Garnish your dish with the remaining chives. While haggis, tatties and neeps will often be served with a wee dram of Scotland's national drink, I prefer to enjoy a fine single malt before and after my meal, not with it. A fine Scottish real ale such as Orkney Dark Island I find an infinitely more appropriate and satisfying option.
|Scottish ale is served with haggis chicken croquette and clapshot|