It’s Robbie Burns Day, which marks very nearly a year since I started this blog. I hadn’t actually been planning to blog this meal, so please excuse the relative lack of pictures, but when I realized it was almost my blogiversary, I took a picture of my plate just before I dug in. Good thing too. Because my impromptu creation in honour of Rabbie Burns turned out truly delicious.
Last year, I made a modern haggis in the slow cooker, eschewing the traditional sheep’s stomach casing as well as the sheep’s heart, lungs, liver and whatever else goes into traditional haggis. This year, however, I decided to take modernizing haggis a step further. I decided to turn it into burgers.
While my haggis burgers looked just like regular burgers, they didn’t taste like McDonald’s. They were earthy and quite heavily spiced. This year, I decided not to forgo the offal entirely and added a small amount of chicken livers (sheep’s livers not being readily available), though not so much that my kids might object. Next time I might actually add a bit more, since the liver taste was barely detectable.
I really wanted to add gluten-free oatmeal, since oatmeal is after all one of the main ingredients of haggis, but my older daughter has just been diagnosed with celiac disease (more about this in another post) and has been told not to eat oats for a year, so I substituted the Alara Luxurious Gluten-Free Porridge we’ve been eating. It contains rice, millet, buckwheat and flax, and while it didn’t taste exactly like oatmeal, the resulting burgers turned out great.
I also added shredded zucchini (courgette) and carrot, as I usually do to my burgers and meatballs, so as to sneak vegetables into my children. This was, as always, totally successful. Next time, however, I may try using finely minced celery instead of zucchini, because it would probably more closely approximate the traditional onion. We were out of celery this time.
The recipe below makes lots of burgers, enough for our family of two adults and two young children to freeze half and still have leftovers from the non-frozen burgers. If you like, you might want to separate out half the meaty mix before you add your spices in case you feel like non-haggisy-tasting burgers the next time.
If you do want to freeze uncooked burgers, I put them on non-stick baking paper on baking sheets and put them in the freezer for several hours until they’re hard. I then transfer them to a resealable freezer bag, folding over the paper to separate burger patties. They’ll keep for a few months in the freezer.
- 500 g lean beef mince, preferably organic
- 400 g lamb mince, preferably organic
- 100 g (or more) chicken livers, preferably organic
- 1 cup gluten-free oatless porridge (uncooked) or gluten-free oatmeal
- 1 large zucchini (courgette) or 2 stalks celery, preferably organic
- 1 large carrot, preferably organic
- 1 tablespoon sage
- 1 tablespoon thyme
- 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon allspice
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2-1 teaspoon pepper
- In a food processor, chop the chicken livers and put in a large bowl along with the beef and lamb mince.
- Finely grate the carrot and zucchini (or celery). Add to the bowl. Next, add the dry porridge/oatmeal and all the spices. Mix well.
- Shape into large flat patties.
- Fry in a frying pan, flipping once, until both sides are well browned and interior is thoroughly cooked.
- Serve on a gluten-free bun with the toppings of your choice as well as neep and tattie chips (see below).
Neep and tattie chips
Neeps are the Scottish word for swedes/rutabagas and you might be surprised at how nicely they turn into oven-roasted chips/fries. While traditional haggis is normally served with mashed neeps and tatties (potatoes), I thought I would serve my haggis burgers with a more expected-looking accompaniment.
- 1 large swede
- Potatoes, approximately the same total weight as your swede (preferably organic)
- Olive oil
- Sea salt
- Preheat oven to 200 C / 400 F.
- Peel the swede and cut into french fry shapes.
- Also cut the potatoes into french fry shapes. Peeling is optional.
- Put it all in a large bowl. Drizzle fairly generously with olive oil and sprinkle, again fairly generously, with salt. Mix it all together until all pieces of swede and potato are fairly evenly coated.
- Place swede and potato pieces on baking sheets topped with non-stick baking paper, in a single layer with some space between each chip – don’t crowd! You’ll probably need at least two baking sheets.
- Bake until vegetables on top rack are browned on top. Flip them and, if you’re using two baking sheets, switch them so the one that was formerly on the bottom now goes on top.
- Bake until all vegetables are tender and well browned (mine came out just a tad more browned than truly desirable). Serve with haggis burgers.