I know. When you think of Scotland you imagine misty glens, kilts, bagpipes, and old castles. You probably do not however imagine fine dining. I’m going to change that for you. There are over a dozen Michelin-starred restaurants in Scotland, as well as a plethora of little local restaurants some of which are known throughout the world. Edinburgh’s Fishers in the City is just one example.
Today’s Scottish menu is inspired by the Sea Breezes Restaurant in Portree, Isle of Skye.
Start by Preparing the Chicken Breasts
1 Chicken breast per person
Preheat the oven to 350F. Slice through each chicken breast horizontally. Put each chicken breast half between two pieces of wax paper plastic wrap. Use a mallet or rolling pin to pound/roll each piece so that it is an even thickness – about 1/4 inch from edge to edge. It’s best to start in the center of the chicken breast and work outward. Put the prepared chicken breasts on a plat, cover them with cling wrap, and put them in the refrigerator.
Prepare the Stuffing
Sweet/Mild Italian Sausage, about 1 per person
2-4 strips of bacon
1 clove garlic
1/4 cup dry red wine (I used cabernet sauvignon)
4 ounces goat cheese
If you have Toulouse sausage then you can forgo the bacon, garlic and red wine because they are already in it.
Finely chop the garlic. Cut the bacon crosswise into 1/4 inch wide strips. Warm the goat cheese in the microwave to soften it.
Cut open the sausage links and break them up. Cook them in a sauté pan over medium heat. Cook for 3-4 minutes then add the bacon and wine, and garlic, and continue to cook until the sausage is done. I’m usually unable to break the sausage up fine enough, so when the sausage is fully cooked, put it in the food processor and pulse a few times. MOve the sausage back to the pan and add the coat cheese. Stir until the goat cheese is melted and fully combined with the sausage.
Make the Clapshot
Clapshot originated on Orkney, a group of islands off the northeast coast of the Scottish mainland. Orkney was settled by the Norse in the 9th century.. The Scottish Parliament then re-annexed it 1472, following the failed payment of a dowry for James III’s bride Margaret of Denmark. Orkney contains some of the oldest and best-preserved Neolithic sites in Europe,
Chapshot is a mixture (usually 50-50) of potatoes and rutabagas. In Scotland, a rutabaga is called a ‘Swede’ or Swedish Turnip. As a result, people often mistakenly use regular turnips instead. Rutabagas however have a slightly sweet flavor that is missing from turnips.
1 Pound russet potatoes
1 Pound Rutabagas
1/2 stick butter
1/2 cup cream
Salt and pepper
Peel the potatoes and rutabagas and cut them into hunks. Boil them until they can be easily pierced with a fork. Remove them from the boiling water and dump the water from the pan. Let the potatoes and rutabagas drain for a couple of minutes. Place them back in the still warm but empty pan. Shake the pan to remove as much excess moisture as you can.
Mash them just as you would regular mashed potatoes. I prefer to run them through a potato ricer. Put them in a bowl. Add the butter and cream and mix with a spoon to combine thoroughly. Add salt an pepper to taste. Place the clapshot on a warming tray until ready to serve.
Stuff and Cook the Chicken
Remove the chicken breasts from the refrigerator. Lay a chicken breast on the counter. Place a spoonful of stuffing neat one end. (Leave about half an inch of the end of the chicken breast showing.) Grab the end of the chicken breast nearest the stuffing. Pick it up and fold it over the stuffing, then roll the remainder up. Secure the end with toothpicks.
Place a sauté pan on the stove over high heat. Use a high smoke point oil such as safflower or canola. brown the chicken, then place them in the oven. Roast for 20 minutes.
Make the Whisky Cream Sauce
Did you know that the Gaelic term for whisky – Uisge Beatha – translates litterally to ‘water of life? And of course since this is a Scottish meal we would use a single-malt scotch.
1 Shallot, finely chopped
1/2 cup whisky
1/2 cup demi glace
1/2 cup cream
Cook the shallots over low heat until softened. Add the whisky and turn the heat up to medium-high. Let the whisky reduce to about a tablespoon. Add the demi glace and let it reduce my half. Add the cream. Reduce until thickened to your desired consistency.
Remove the toothpicks from the chicken rolls and slice then crosswise about 3/4 inch thick. Place a spoonful of clapshot on the plate. Place the slices of chicken roll on the plate, leaning then against the clapshot. Drizzle the whisky cream sauce over the chicken and clapshot.