Morbid Meals – Haggis Burgers

EXAMINATION

MM21Contemplating The World tarot card was tricky. I wanted to prepare a dish that would represent the melding of more than one culture. But, which cultures? Plus, this being Morbid Meals, I wanted something… unusual. Bizarre even. That’s when I thought of one of my favorite chefs, Andrew Zimmern, host of the fun-filled Bizarre Foods TV show. Zimmern calls Haggis the “quintessential bizarre food.”

Therein lay a challenge, but one which fit my theme. I have no choice but to modify a haggis recipe in order to prepare it here in the U.S.A., thanks to F.D.A. regulations that ban the sale and import of various parts of lamb that go into making haggis.

Simply making a version of haggis that lacked the requisite offal, however, didn’t seem all that appealing, and it wouldn’t truly be haggis, would it? Instead, I decided to give it a proper American twist and create Haggis Burgers!

ANALYSIS

Makes 8 patties

Ingredients

1/4 cup oats
1 lb ground beef
1 lb ground lamb
1/2 lb lamb liver
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp ground allspice or ginger
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground dried coriander

Apparatus

  • Food processor
  • Large bowl
  • Frying pan or skillet

Procedure

  1. Cook the oats per oatmeal instructions, then set aside to cool.
  2. Wash the liver and then add to a food processor. Pulse until you have a fine puree of liver.
  3. In a large bowl, combine all of the ingredients and mix well to incorporate everything together.
  4. Divide the meat into about 8 patties.
  5. Drizzle a teaspoon of oil into your frying pan or skillet and heat on medium-high until the oil shimmers, about 3 minutes.
  6. Cook the patties until golden brown on one side, about 4 to 5 minutes. Flip the patties and cook on the second side, another 4 to 5 minutes. If you have a meat thermometer, ground meat needs to reach 160°F for safety.
  7. Serve immediately with your favorite buns and fixins.

DISSECTION

If you can’t find lamb liver, you can substitute with veal/calf’s liver, beef liver, or even chicken livers. (I used beef liver, and was able to buy only 1/2 lb.)

For those who’d rather avoid liver altogether, you could skip it, if you must, but then you won’t have any offal at all. Trust me, try it with the liver. Yeah, it can be a strong smell while cooking, but it’s hardly noticeable when you eat it.

Apparently, there exists cheese made with whisky, like Laphroaig Cheddar, but I can’t find it locally. If you can find it, I imagine it would bring another wonderful dimension to this burger.

POST-MORTEM

It is tradition to serve haggis with “neeps and tatties”, which is mashed potatoes and turnips (aka swedes, or what us yanks call rutabagas). Since this is a burger, why not fry up some sliced neeps and tatties instead? (We opted for cross-hatch potato fries and sweet potato fries because we had them on hand.)

Everyone enjoyed these burgers, and we’re a pretty picky bunch. We all knew there was something different, but no one tasted any liver at all. What’s great about these burgers is they are a fun way to eat more liver, because you know it is good for you, but still enjoy a very nice. juicy burger.

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