I’ve always been a big fan of Burns night, partly because I think any celebration of poetry and the arts should be honored without hesitation, and partly because Scottish single malts and Haggis are two of my most very favourite things.
One of the first Romantic’s, Robert Burn’s charming poetry and folk songs include beauties like ‘To a mouse’ and ‘Ae fond kiss’ as well as the Burns Night staple ‘Address to a haggis’ in which Burns refers to the Haggis as “Great chieftain o’ the puddin’-race” and I must say I have to agree with him. If you’ve never had haggis before because the guts and intestines and stuff makes you feel a bit sick then my strong advice is: get over it. You need to try Haggis.
This year, after one of those inspirational* (*drunk) trips to the pub, we decided to try someting new for our Burns Supper rather than the standard ‘Haggis wi neeps an tatties’ and stuff our Sunday roast chicken with the Scottish delicacy instead. And honestly, I think this may have been one of the best roast chickens I’ve ever had the good fortune of pulling out the oven.
Recipe – Robbie’s Roast
Take your chicken out the fridge half an hour before you want to cook it and pre-heat the oven to 220. In an oven tray roughly chop 2 onions (skin on) a couple of large carrots, 2 stalks of celery, half a dozen whole garlic cloves (skin on) some sprigs of thyme and any other spare bits of root veg that are surplus or need using up. Season and drizzle with olive oil. This will become your gravy after your chicken has been roasted on it.
I warmed the haggis through a little before I stuffed the bird to help make sure it would all be cooked right through and generally I use Macsweens a) because it’s pretty easy to come across and b) because it’s bloody delicious.
Carefully remove the string or elastic holding the birds legs snug so you can un-tuck the legs and fill the cavity with lots of delicious haggis. Tuck the legs back in and re-fasten the string or elastic. Rub the bird with a little olive oil and plenty of salt and pepper and sit her comfortably onto your tray of roughly chopped veg.
Stick her in the oven and after 10 mins turn the heat down to 180°C. Cook for the recommended time based on the size – I kept my bird in the oven for 20 mins longer than recommended as it was so tightly packed with Haggis. If you are unsure about whether it’s cooked I would recommend using a meat thermometer and make sure at it’s thickest part it’s reached 74°C (165°F).
Take the chicken out when it’s done and transfer just the bird to a warm plate, cover and let it rest for 20mins before serving. This is when you make your gravy with that lovely tray of chickeny roasted veg as Jamie Oliver will instruct you here…
My version of ‘neeps an tatties’ to serve alongside your chicken came in the form of roast potatoes (made with beef dripping – it’s my new favourite way) and mashed swede and carrots. Roughly chop about double the amount of swede to carrot, put the swede on to boil with a pinch of salt and about halfway through cooking time (15-20 mins) add the carrots. Drain and mash with generous amount of fresh ground pepper, a good pinch of sea salt and a nice big knob of butter. I know this isn’t the most traditional way to serve the accompaniments’ for Haggis wi’ neeps an tatties but neither is stuffing it up the chickens arse so I don’t think we need to dwell too much on tradition at this point.
When you’re ready serve on big platters and bowls in the middle of table – the Rustic Lace serve platemakes a perfect Sunday roast serving dish – and some Highland Fling tartan dinner plates could not be more perfect for serving up a Scottish feast. And don’t forget to raise that all important wee dram of beautiful Scottish whiskey to toast not just the Haggis but also that glorious old romantic Robert Burns for giving us and excuse to do this every year.
As an extra celebration of Burns Night we’re offering a whopping 20% off all Highland Fling products on our website till the end of today only.
Just enter the code KAhaggis20 at the checkout! Shop the Highland Fling collection here…