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Scottish Chicken & Apple

In 1941 the merchant ship Politician bound for America, carrying 20,000 cases of whisky, foundered off the Island of Eriskay in the Outer Hebrides. Some 5,000 cases of the whisky was 'liberated' by the islanders and the incident provided the basis of the humorous novel 'Whisky Galore' by Sir Compton Mackenzie ( a founder member of the National Party of Scotland in 1928 ).


At the time Mackenzie was resident in Barra and was well acquainted with the Politician incident. The book was first published in 1947 and Compton Mackenzie dedicated it to ' all my dear friends in Barra in grateful memory of much kindness and much laughter through many happy years.' The book's popularity was enhanced when in 1948 an Ealing comedy film of 'Whisky Galore' was made in Barra with the author himself playing a cameo role, In America the film was released under the title 'Tight Little Island.'
 
Mackenzie set the story on the ficticious Islands of Great and Little Todday which, owing to war-time restrictions , ran out of whisky! The foundering of the Politician, disguised as the 'Cabinet Minister', with her cargo of whisky solves the 'dry' problem and allows the reiteach for the love interest in the story to go ahead.
 
In the Western Isles a reiteach, or formal betrothal, was a complicated affair which usually took place after it was tacitly known that a young couple were contemplating marriage. There was a gathering of friends at the bride-to-be's home, one of whom had been appointed to ask her father on the bridegroom-to-be's behalf. After much talk, and with the subject on hand never directly referred to, it would ultimately fall to the father to agree to the match and then the party could begin. A sit down meal, provided by the mother and other relations - broth, chicken and potatoes - which would be attended, miraculously, by musicians as well as the best maids and bestman-to-be, although everyone was expected to pretend that it was all a great surprise. Then the ceilidh could go on for hours. Our recipe for this week - Scottish Chicken and Apple - would grace any such occasion and it has the added bonus "o haen a drappie o The Cratur!"
 
Scottish Chicken and Apple
 
Ingredients: 1 chicken breast ( skinlesss ) per person; 1 eating apple, peeled, cored and sliced, per person; 1 tbsp whisky per person; cream
 
Into a large enough frying pan to fit the chicken put a knob of butter per apple and saute the apple slices until golden brown on both sides. Cook enough to fill the pan and continue until all sauted. Put aside until later.

Saute the chicken both sides, then add water, enough to come halfway up the chicken. A sprinkle of salt and half a teaspoon of Swiss Veg bouillon or veg stock for each two chicken breasts. Simmer with a lid on the pan until tender. Lift the chicken onto a serving plate. To the remaining stock in the pan add cream, about a small carton for two people. Stir and simmer to reduce slightly. Put the whisky into the stock and cream, replace chicken and apple and simmer. The chicken and apple will absorb some of the sauce, simmer only for about 1-2 minutes. Serve and pour the remaining sauce over. Delicious!!

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