Russell here for this post. When we lived in Dublin, we were very lucky to be so close to Leo Burdock’s, which is one of the best chipper chains in Dublin, if not in the whole of Ireland. It was the instant choice whenever there was no food in the house or we just felt like a lazy supper. Safe to say neither of us were ever disappointed by the selection or satisfaction. There were two things I knew I’d miss when I moved to the UK and they are a good pint of Guinness and an Irish chipper takeaway; this week I missed the latter quite a bit.
London is like a detox for me. As someone who adores chips, batter burgers and a tub of curry sauce as a treat, being unable to nip out and get your fried fix is quite difficult. Yes, there are chippers (or “chippys” I mean) here in the UK, and they are grand. But from what I have seen they don’t do batter burgers, and the fish is cooked with the skin-on, which instantly makes me gag (I do have acute ichthyophobia), and the chips (from my experience so far) are hit-and-miss.
As a result, this week I was dying for a taste of greasy home. We don’t have a deep-fat frier in our flat… just yet. Once we have a bit more storage space we may invest in one, but for now, we must do without. My cooking thermometer is still in Ireland, and I am not forking out for a new one, so deep-frying in a pan on the hob is also out of the question. This means that home-made batter burgers are simply of the question. So I went for my second preference from the menu; spice burgers.
Now you may think this is just a burger, with a little chilli kick to them. But you couldn’t be more wrong. In a strange way, they are almost like an Irish Scotch Egg. Spice burgers really are an Irish delicacy; taking mince and mixing some herbs, onions and spices into it, before covering in a unique crumb. You can buy them, deep-fried and fresh in the chip shop, or get them pre-cooked from the supermarket, ready to reheat at home.
In my house, we used to have store-bought spice burgers quite regularly. They were an after-school favourite of my dad’s and I. There was only ever one brand of them, and that was Walsh’s . A bit of research online yielded me towards a blog post on lecraic.com which gave some gruesome details about how they were made, which I ignored; keeping focus on the important bits and devised my own recipe for them.
What is most obvious about store bought spice burgers is the texture. It isn’t traditional minced beef as you know it, it seems a bit more finer. To achieve this, I sliced the mince down into smaller strips, resulting in something similar to steak tartare. I added in the other ingredients and then created a bit of a unique coating. In the style of Colonel Sanders, it is a top secret blend. However, the result is a gorgeous golden crispy outside, which acts as a strong housing to the juicy patty on the inside.
It may not taste exactly how they do at home, but they are a damn good, if not slightly better, alternative.