Balmoral haggis and chicken pie with neeps and tatties recipe

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Balmoral chicken is an old-fashioned ‘dinner’ dish, chicken breasts stuffed with haggis and wrapped in bacon, with a creamy peppercorn sauce. Many Scottish butchers have turned it into a cake – genius. Here’s my version with neeps and tatties.

times

40 minutes, plus cooling time
Preparation time: 1 hour 30 minutes

Serves

6-8

Ingredients

  • 8 large chicken thighs, skin and bone on
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 130 g bacon strips
  • 300 g haggis, in pieces
  • 3 large leeks, trimmed, coarse leaves removed
  • 50g butter
  • leaves from 4 sprigs of thyme
  • 70 g of flour
  • 500 ml chicken stock
  • 4 tablespoons whiskey (not your best single malt)
  • 200 ml whipped cream
  • 1¼ tbsp grain mustard
  • 550 grams of puff pastry
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten

For the mash

  • 800 g potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 500 g turnip, peeled and cut into pieces
  • 50g butter
  • 50 ml milk, warmed

Method

1. Preheat the oven to 190C/180C fan/gas mark 5.

2. Place the thighs in a roasting tin and brush with one and a half tablespoons of oil. Season. Roast for 40 minutes until the skin is golden brown and the chicken is cooked through.

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3. Meanwhile, fry the bacon in the rest of the oil until golden brown. Transfer to kitchen paper with a slotted spoon.

4. Add the haggis pieces and fry, trying not to break them up. Transfer to kitchen paper with a slotted spoon.

5. Cut the leek into rounds of 1.5 cm. Heat 15g of the butter in a saucepan or frying pan and fry the leek with the thyme leaves for about 15 minutes on medium heat. Add a tablespoon of water if necessary to keep the pan moist. The leeks should be soft and not falling apart. Put aside.

6. When the chicken is cooked, let it cool and then remove the skin. Remove the meat from the bones and place in a bowl. You would end up with 500g of meat. If you have more, save it for something else.

7. Cut the meat into pieces (small pieces don’t give the pie enough body).

8. Melt the rest of the butter in a large pan. Stir in the flour with a wooden spoon until it starts to smell slightly toasty. Remove from heat.

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9. Slowly add the stock, stirring well after each addition. Once you’ve added half the stock and the mixture is smooth, add the rest all at once. Stir in the whiskey and cream. Bring to a boil and stir all the time. The mixture will thicken considerably.

10. Season well and bring to a simmer and cook for another three minutes, longer if the mixture is thin. Stir in the mustard.

11. Carefully add the chicken, haggis, bacon and leek.

12. Spoon the filling into a tart tin (mine is about 25 x 30 cm; shallow is best for the largest surface), cover with cling film and refrigerate. The filling must be cold before the dough goes on it.

13. Set the oven to 200C/190C fan/gas mark 6 and place a baking tray in it.

14. Roll out the dough to about 2 cm larger than the top of the cake. Brush the edge of the pie pan with water. Make a border with strips of dough that are the same width as the border and press them on. Brush the puff pastry edge with water and put the lid on. Press firmly to seal. Cut off the excess and decorate the top with trimmings if desired.

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15. Refrigerate for 15 minutes.

16. Brush the top with the egg and make four small indentations to allow steam to escape. Pat the edges of the dough up to make it rise. Slide the pie onto the preheated oven tray and bake for 35 minutes until golden brown and puffy.

17. Meanwhile, cook the potatoes and rutabaga separately in boiling water (the rutabaga will take longer). drain.

18. Put the potatoes back on the fire in the pan, with a clean tea towel and lid on it. Heat on a very low heat to dry for about four minutes. This makes a better, fluffier puree.

19. Add the rutabaga and mash together with the butter. Gradually add the warm milk. Season well and serve with
the pie.

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