November 18th, 2011 | by CHEF GREG HIGGINS Food & Drink | Posted In: Higgins in Mongolia

Higgins in Mongolia: Hot Dogs, Pizza and Fries, Mongol Style

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Portland chef Greg Higgins (of downtown's Higgins restaurant) is in Mongolia, sharing his sausage and charcuterie making expertise with local butchers as part of Mercy Corps' Farmer to Farmer project, and he's blogging the whole trip for WW:

Life has been good here in the western Aimag of Khovd. The cooking's solid, the Mongol people are wonderful and our work has gone well. We've even had a chance to visit Khar Us Nuur, the black water lake, and Khan Jargalant, a sacred mountain that the sausage shop is named after. There on the shore of the great frozen lake we had a real Mongolian BBQ: bits of camel and horse grilled with wild mountain onions, eaten with our fingers and washed down with ginseng vodka in the sub-zero temperatures. That's kickin' Mongol style.

Real Mongolian BBQ

Monday was documentary film day. A crew came out from Ulaanbaatar for Mercy Corps to create a training video. They wanted us to make hot dogs—might have been nice to know that a day earlier, but oh well. Hot dogs we made, with the usual local meat twist: camel and goat. The filming progressed well and by late afternoon the wieners were out of the smoker and ready to eat. Earlier Ulziikhuu had asked for a pizza lesson so we made the dough from their good hard wheat flour. If we're to make pizza, why not some other American dishes? Upstairs in the restaurant kitchen I put together some batter and we made corn dogs, onion rings, and fries—all cooked in a blend of camel and sheep fat. Some thousand island dressing and a bunch of beers later we were a well-fed, happy bunch.

Tuesday was a travel day. We laid out a spread of the eight new products: Boudin Blanc, Frankfurters, Montbeliard, Tuscan Herb, Terrine de Campagne, Presskopf, Genoa salami and Black Forest style camel ham.

Another round of tastes and we said our goodbyes and hit the dirt ("road" is really not so applicable here). The five-hour jarring drive took us over passes onto desolate plains, across broad grassy steppes, through canyons and gravelly washes. The landscape is raw and rugged, strikingly beautiful and just plain majestic. The nomad's villages, soumme centers are few and far between. Other vehicles are a rarity, you see far more livestock than people. As we reached the outskirts of Ulaangom in the dwindling daylight we were ushered in to town by a bovine welcoming committee.

 

Read more of Higgins in Mongolia here.

 
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