Friday, July 15, 2016

Black Bean Burgers

Hamburgers are one of my favorite foods. Melt some cheese over it and I'd fall in love with you. (No, my wife didn't do that when we were courting. More's the pity.) But when two of your kids are vegetarians, more or less, you need to think about expanding the range of ingredients beyond just good ground beef. In fact, you've got to find some way to keep that rich meaty, charred, flavor without using meat.

There are plenty of high-sodium, low-flavor, variants available at the grocery store these days. I'm not a huge fan of processed cardboard, but if that's your thing, go right a head and spend more money on them that you would on ground beef. Which is saying something, these days. I've found several recipes for veggie burgers online, and black beans seem to stand out as a favored ingredient for many of them. Oh, there are others, for sure, but black bean burgers seemed like an interesting choice. That and the ingredients are all pretty common to my pantry.

This recipe is my take on a black bean burger recipe from America's Test Kitchen. I modified a few of the ingredients, and their ratios, to better fit my pantry, and my taste. I use rolled oats in this recipe because they're easy, and I like the added flavor. Bread crumbs, or any type, will do just fine, though. Cilantro can be substituted for the parsley, if desired.

Takes 35 minutes to make.
Makes 6 servings.

2 (15-oz) cans black beans, rinsed and drained well
2 large eggs
1 Tbl olive oil
1 tsp ground cumin
¼ tsp salt
½ tsp cayenne pepper (optional)
1 cup rolled oats
1 red or green bell pepper, cored, seeded, and finely chopped
1 green onion, finely chopped
1 Tbl dried parsley, or ¼ cup minced parsley
4 Tbl vegetable (or canola) oil for frying
6 hamburger buns
Favorite hamburger toppings

Place 2 ½ cups of beans in a large bowl, setting aside the rest for later. Mash them with a potato masher until mostly smooth. In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, olive oil, cumin, salt, and cayenne, if using. Add the egg mixture, the remaining beans, oats, bell pepper, parsley, and green onion to the mashed beans and stir until just combined. Let stand for 5 minutes so the oats can absorb some of the liquid.

Divide the mixture into 6 equal portions. Pack, lightly, into 1-inch-thick patties. These patties can be delicate, so take care when handling them.

Heat 2 Tbl oil in a 12-inch non-stick skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Working with three patties at a time, carefully lay them into the skillet and cook until well browned on both sides, about 5 minutes per side.

If you want to turn these into cheeseburgers, which I often do, drop a slice of cheese on top during the last 2 to 3 minutes of cooking.

Transfer cooked burgers to a plate and tent loosely with aluminum foil, repeat with the remaining three patties. Serve on hamburger buns with your favorite burger toppings.

Black Bean Burgers with Corn and Chipotle Chile varation:
To change things up a little, substitute 1 Tbl minced chipotle chiles (canned in adobe sauce) for the cayenne, reduce the red pepper to ¼ cup, and add ¼ cup of fresh or frozen corn, thawed and patted dry, to the bean mixture. I've tried it both ways and like them both, equally.

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