One of the staples of the frozen section for vegetarians is Quorn, and although I’ve got a real love/hate relationship with it, I can’t deny that it comes in handy. Living with a meat-eater means that we can compromise by having something that is at least intended to be a bit like meat – and it’s an interesting exercise to see just how closely it hits the mark with someone who knows what it should taste like. For this review I’m looking at their Southern Fried Chicken Burgers, available frozen, which are the kind of thing you’d pick up for a proper burger in a bun or just to eat on the side with fries. The cooking time is around 16 minutes, which is a little better than some burgers from the frozen section, and could make them quite a convenient choice when you’re in a rush. Here’s what the burgers look like frozen, before going into the oven:
They are coated with a peppery crust of breadcrumbs, which is pleasantly crunchy but not so much as to be sharp. They go very well indeed with ketchup, not as good with mayonnaise, although that may be down to personal preference. We enjoyed them with skin-on chips and mushy peas, and they tasted great, although you could also put them with a more American-centric line up if you wanted to match the theme. After you get through the crust, you of course get to the quorn itself – and this is smooth enough that you can quite cleanly pull off the whole “skin” and eat them separately (although I’m not sure why you would want to do this). The quorn itself is very soft in your mouth, which makes it a nice comparison against the breadcrumbs.
The taste is rich and buttery, but it has to be said that any kind of chicken flavouring is quite faint and not really what you would taste if you just had some chicken. This is one of the reasons why the concept of the veggie burger is so frequently mocked, particularly when it comes in this kind of format – why bother eating fake chicken if you’ve chosen to be vegetarian? Why bother eating it at all if it doesn’t even taste like the real thing? Perhaps we just need to take it on its own merits as a piece of food which happens to be burger shaped and happens to look a bit like chicken and leave it at that. When you look at it that way, they are quite pleasant to eat – although they would be too bland to eat on their own or have several at once, and they are quite small compared to most quorn or other frozen veggie burgers. Those are the main downsides, but if there are two of you, you could always have two each for a meal as they come in a packet of four. In that case, I would suggest using burger buns or adding plenty of condiments to liven the flavour up a bit more.
On the VegBurge scale, I give this…
Taste – 5/10
Price – 6/10
Rest of experience – 8/10