Tender juicy chicken stuffed with haggis, wrapped in bacon, and smothered in a rich whisky cream sauce, this Balmoral Chicken recipe is the perfect entree for any occasion.
Balmoral Chicken Origin
What is the origin of Balmoral Chicken? This is a traditional Scottish dish that showcases Haggis. The specific origin of a Balmoral Chicken recipe is unknown. So why make it? Years ago, my wife and I had the opportunity to visit Scotland. I am a big fan of Scotch whisky so I was very much looking forward to the trip.
Honestly, I hadn't thought too much about Scottish cuisine. I was focused on the beverages. However, my favorite dish that I had when we were there was Balmoral Chicken.
Another fave was the traditional Scottish breakfast with black pudding.
I love the gameyness of the haggis, the crispy bacon, the tender chicken, and the creamy whiskey sauce. Since then, I have been trying to find haggis to recreate this dish. I was very excited that I had this opportunity. I hope you enjoy it.
Haggis - Traditionally, haggis is a mixture of minced sheep's organ meat and onions, oatmeal, spices, and stock cooked and encased in the sheep's stomach.
Due to international laws, traditional haggis is not available in the United States. I was able to purchase some through Scottish Gourmet USA. This one is a US-approved recipe that is made from American lamb meat, beef liver, oatmeal, onions, and spices. It comes in a plastic casing like some ground or sausage meat.
If you prefer to use a vegetarian haggis you can.
Chicken - For this chicken balmoral recipe, we are going to use chicken breasts. You can either butterfly them open or make an incision down the side to create a pocket that we will stuff the haggis into. The key here is to try and use similar-sized chicken breasts so that they all cook at the same rate. We want all of them to finish cooking at the same time.
Bacon - We will use the bacon to fold and wrap it around the haggis stuffed chicken. Wrapping the chicken breasts in bacon keeps the haggis in while it cooks. It adds flavor and a natural baste as these bacon-wrapped parcels of yumminess roast away in the oven. When they are done, the bacon adds create color to the presentation and a wonderful crispy texture.
Whisky Sauce Ingredients
Whisky - "If you won't drink it, don't cook with it." I don't know who said that, but I probably heard that on one of the thousands of cooking shows that I have watched. It was probably either an Italian or French chef discussing wine. This truth can also be said about whiskey. You don't need to use your $400 bottle of scotch.
But pick something that has the right flavor profile that you are looking for and something that you can enjoy a wee dram of as you cook. You can also use some chicken stock to deglaze the pan if you want to go light on the whisky. But the more whisky, the stronger flavor you will have.
Heavy Cream or Double Cream - This is what adds a smooth texture and the body to our sauce. It is really all you need, as it blends so well with the mature flavors of the scotch. You don't need to add butter, the cream and residual bacon fat help to add additional creaminess to this sauce.
How to make Balmoral Chicken
Step One: We will start with the chicken and haggis. Make a cut on the thick side of each chicken breast. The easiest way to do this is to lay the chicken breast smooth side down on your chopping board. Gently slide your knife in and run it almost through the length of the chicken without going through the opposite side. If the knife pokes through, you'll be fine. The bacon will help hold it all together.
Step Two: Stuff the haggis into each chicken breast. You want to make sure they are filled, but too much that you can not close the incision you made in the chicken.
Step Three: Lay the strips of bacon out on your cutting board. You will need about two slices of bacon per chicken breast. Next, take the chicken breast stuffed with haggis and roll each one up in the bacon slices. Be sure they completely seal the haggis into the chicken breast. The nicer you roll them up, the better your presentation will be.
Step Four: Pre-heat oven to 350°F while you also fire up the stove and pre-heat a heavy-bottomed frying pan over medium-high heat. Once the pan is hot. Drizzle a little olive oil into the pan and then place the bacon wrapped chicken into the pan. Allow the bacon to sear and cook for approximately two minutes on each side.
When you place the chicken in the hot pan, place the presentation side down first. This ensures that when you present the Balmoral Chicken, the nicest side will have the best sear.
Pro Tip: When you are searing a large piece of meat on the stove. Be sure to get your pan very hot, basically to the point of smoking. The reason is that as you put the meat in the pan to sear it, the meat temperature cools down the temperature of the pan. If you are using a very thin pan, or if your temperature is low and your pan is not pre-heated, you will not get the sear that you are looking for.
Step Five: If you are using an oven-safe frying pan, you can place the whole pan and chicken into the oven. If not, place the chicken into a baking tray and cook in the oven until the internal temperature reaches 160°F. This will take about 40 minutes at 350°F. Once the chicken is golden brown and thoroughly cooked, remove them from the pan and allow it to rest on a cutting board or serving dish.
How to Make Whiskey Sauce
This delicious recipe to make a flavorful whisky cream sauce is very easy. As mentioned above, only use a whiskey that would drink. This ensures you will have a flavor you love but also allows you to enjoy a dram of your favourite scotch as you cook.
Step One: Once the chicken is done cooking, there will be browned bits of meat and flavor built up in the pan.
These cooked bits are called fond. They will be the foundation of our sauce. There will also be a good amount of grease from the bacon. Carefully pour the grease out into a cup or bowl to dispose of later.
Next, deglaze the hot pan with scotch. I recommend removing the pan from the area of the flame to ensure you don't start a fire. Use a whisk or spoon to loosen up the fond from the pan.
Step Two: Slowly pour the heavy cream into the pan as you whisk. Continue to whisk and cook over medium heat until the sauce begins to thicken. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Step Three: Once your sauce is done, pour it through a thin strainer to remove any bits or small chunks out of it. I like to serve it in our little gravy boat. It makes it easy to serve and pour over the Balmoral chicken recipe.
Expert Tip - If you are fond of peppercorn sauce simply add peppercorns in step one and then strain them out as noted.
What to serve with your Balmoral Chicken recipe
Traditionally, haggis stuffed chicken is served with neeps (mashed turnips) and tatties (mashed potatoes). For me, I want to serve it with whatever can help soak up the delicious sauce. I love smoked mashed potatoes to sit there and absorb that sauce.
If you are on a low carb or keto diet, try substituting mashed cauliflower for mashed potatoes. You can serve it with other vegetables like broccoli, asparagus, squash, carrots, or other roasted vegetables.
- 2 lbs boneless skinless chicken breasts 4 chicken breasts
- ½ lb haggis
- ½ lb bacon
- 1 cup heavy cream
- ½ cup scotch
- Make an incision in the thick side of each chicken breast. Run your knife through the entire length of the breast without going through the other side.
- Stuff the chicken breast with haggis. Don't make it too full that the side can't fold back over to seal.
- Use two slices of bacon to wrap each chicken breast.
- Heat a large, thick-bottomed, oven-safe skillet. Once the pan is hot, drizzle a little olive oil to grease the pan and then sear each bacon-wrapped chicken breast on all sides. As you turn them in the pan, be careful not to allow the bacon to unwrap.
- Next, place the skillet with the chicken into 350°F preheated oven. Cook the chicken until it reaches 160°F internal temperature.
- Once the chicken is done, set aside onto a cutting board to rest.
Whisky Cream Sauce
- Drain any excess bacon grease out of the pan.
- Turn gas off the stove and deglaze the pan with scotch. Turn the stove back on to medium heat and whisk the scotch around the pan loosening up all the fond.
- Next pour in the heavy cream and continue to mix. Cook and allow to thicken.
- Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Strain the sauce as you pour the sauce into a gravy boat or small pitcher.
How to Serve
- Slice chicken on a bias and place atop mashed potatoes or other veggies. Generously pour the whisky sauce over the chicken and serve.
Originally Published November 4, 2021. Revised and Republished October 24, 2023.