Fresh Mackerel Stuffed with Haggis

… fresh mackerel stuffed with haggis, and served with three vegetable mash and whiskey sauce.

Trust me, this was wonderful!

fresh mackerel with haggis

It is difficult not to be decadent when my good friend ‘Winemaker Sarah’ (so called because she makes wine for a living, and I have many Sarah’s in my life) comes to stay. Sarah always arrives with a car full of delicious goodies from which we create weird and wonderful things. Two of the ingredients for this meal came from Sarah’s car – whiskey-infused cheese and, bizarrely, a swede.

The mackerel was from the reduced section of Tesco and was a whole 68p. Because it was in the reduced section it was already wrapped and I wrongly assumed that it was a couple of fillets – as it turned out I was glad that my mum brought me up to be able to gut fish!

The haggis came from the freezer, the last of the leftovers from Burns Night. I used the rest a few weeks ago wrapped in chicken and bacon. Yum.

This served three, despite only having one small fish (slightly biblical?) and I am at at loss to describe just how delicious it was.

Ingredients

  • One mackerel
  • a few tablespoons of haggis
  • flat leaved parsley
  • splash of lemon juice
  • splash of ginger wine
  • a small swede
  • two carrots
  • a few potatoes
  • 1/2 pint of milk
  • tablespoon of flour
  • whiskey-cheese

Method

A ready gutted and filleted fish would be easiest to work with, but briefly a word on gutting fish:

Take a very sharp knife and carefully open up the belly of the fish from tail to head. Remove the innards then take the knife and use it to break the spine at the tail, gently lift the spine trying to bring as many of the little bones with it as possible. Rub the inside of the fish with course salt to clean it.

gutting and stuffing fish

Fill the cavity of the fish with the haggis and a couple of sprigs of parsley and then wrap snugly in foil. Bake in the bottom of the oven at 160oC for 25 minutes.

When you have put the fish in the oven chop the carrot and swede and bring to the boil. The potatoes won’t take as long to cook, so chop them and add them when the rest of the vegetables have been bubbling away for about five minutes. When each of the vegetables can be easily pierced with a fork drain and then mash them with some butter and pepper.

Because I have stripped my kitchen down to (less than) the bare essentials as part of the Basic Kitchen Project I put the vegetables to one side, cleaned the pan and then made white sauce.

Heat the milk slowly, do not allow it to boil. Put a heaped tablespoon of plain flour into a mug and add a splash or two of milk and mix to a paste. Pour some of the warm milk into the mug and mix thoroughly, then return the mixture to the pan. Maintain the low heat and stir the sauce as it thickens – keep a close eye on it! When it has begun to thicken crumble the cheese into the sauce and allow it to melt. If (like most people!) you don’t have a friend who rocks up at your house with whiskey cheese then you can add a tablespoon of whiskey to the sauce at this stage.

For the last five minutes turn up the oven to 200oC, open up the foil from around the fish and add a splash of lemon and of ginger wine then return to the oven for 5 minutes.

Cost

This one is a little difficult to cost, mostly because I cannot find where I wrote down the weight of the haggis which I used. The haggis was a ‘leftover’, but I appreciate that most people won’t have this kicking around at the back of their freezer! ‘Winemaker Sarah’ found the ginger wine while she was poking around in my drinks cabinet – a common occurrence when she comes to stay.

  • One mackerel – £0.68
  • a few tablespoons of haggis – ?
  • flat leaved parsley – from my garden
  • splash of lemon juice – ?
  • splash of ginger wine – ?
  • a small swede – this was a (bizarre) gift, but if I had bought it at Asda it would have been £0.50
  • two carrots – £0.30
  • a few potatoes – £0.30
  • 1/2 pint of milk – £0.25
  • tablespoon of flour – ?
  • whiskey-cheese – a gift. If I had used cheddar  I reckon it would have been about £0.30

So, not the best costing I have done as part of this project! I will go with it being approximately £2.30 plus gifts and leftovers – still, not too bad for a particularly decadent evening.

Chicken, Bacon and Haggis

Last night Steve and I had a delicious and very simple meal. There isn’t much to be said about it – it was proper old fashioned meat and two veg for a cold snowy night. I couldn’t even be bothered to do mashed potato so I bunged a couple of baking spuds in the oven.

I adore haggis. I had some in the freezer left over from Burns Night – I have a habit of buying far too much haggis (as you do). I defrosted more than would fit in the chicken so we had the extra wrapped just in bacon, a bit like a stuffing ball. If you don’t like or can’t get hold of haggis then stuffing would be a nice substitute.

A word on chicken thigh – it is tastier than chicken breast and quite a lot cheaper. What’s no to like!

I could have done much more interesting vegetables, and probably would have done at a weekend – but it was a tired Thursday evening and my husband and I were more in the mood for a card game than for cooking! A chuck it in the oven and ignore it meal was definitely the order of the day.

chicken bacon and haggis

Ingredients

  • A boned chicken thigh per person
  • Four rashers of bacon per person
  • A handful of haggis each (possibly not a very helpful measure! I had frozen the (uncooked) haggis chopped into chunks so I could grab one or two at a time as needed)
  • Potatoes, vegetables and gravy – if the mood takes you you can be rather more creative with this than I was!

Method

Pre-heat the oven to 180oC; put the potatoes into the top of the oven straight away if you are baking them. The potatoes take longer than the chicken so there is no need to rush the next bit (I was impatient and ended up having to give the potatoes a blast in the microwave for five minutes part way through cooking, which disrupted the card game somewhat!).

Flatten out the chicken; you will find that because the thighs have been boned there is an obvious place to open it up.

Take about a tablespoon of haggis and wrap the chicken around it. Next, wrap a couple of rashers of bacon around the chicken to hold it together as a parcel. Any remaining haggis after you have done chicken for everyone can be made into balls  with bacon wrapped around. Place in an oven dish and bake in the bottom of the oven for half to three-quarters of an hour.

Serve with vegetables and gravy (I ‘cheated’ at gravy; I found instant granules at the back of the cupboard, doctoring it just a little by using the boiling water from the carrots and adding a little of the juice from the cooked meat).

Simples!