Sunday, January 17, 2010

A New Twist on a Vegetarian Mainstay

I admit. Not a veggie burger fan at all. I actually cringe when I hear "Boca Burger," or "GardenBurger." Those sad thin patties just look unappetizing. The only time I've remotely expressed interest in a veggie burger is at Houston's (or I guess Hillstone now). It is a grain-based burger with a sweet glaze of sorts. Surprisingly tasty, but I prefer a bit more protein in my burger. Now that I'm playing with focusing more on plants in my diet and less on animal meat, I'm looking for delicious and satiating vegetarian options. This may be my new favorite.

A week ago or so, The New York Times published a series of recipes for vegetarian burgers. One immediately caught my attention: white bean burgers. The creaminess of white beans with some herbs. Between two slices of hearty nutty wheat bread? And hot pepper jelly? Yum! I planned on making this for another vegetarian special at school, only to learn we had no canned white beans and I needed these beans stat...I couldn't wait for the beans to soak and cook overnight. Problem quickly solved: I would swap out white beans for black beans, up the garlic and herbs, and then add a jalapeno-lime-cilantro creme to the mix. Though the recipe makes a very, very moist burger (I used brioche crumbs - fresh - so it didn't soak up much moisture, but the slight sweetness perfectly complimented the herbs and garlic), it can be quickly remedied with panko or normal dry bread crumbs.

Here is my recipe:

2 cans black beans, drained and rinsed
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
salt to taste
3-4 garlic cloves, minced
2/3 c finely grated carrot (or more)
3 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1/4 c (or more) finely chopped parsley
2 tsp minced fresh sage or thyme
1/2 c breadcrumbs
1 egg, beaten
salt and pepper to taste
Nutty, hearty whole wheat bread
Hot pepper jelly
Lime-jalapeno-cilantro crema (below)

Heat 1 tsp of olive oil in a medium skillet and add the onion. Cook until translucent. Add a pinch of salt, garlic, and grated carrot. Cook for a minute or two, until fragrant, and the carrot has softened slightly.  Remove from heat.

In a food processor, puree the beans with the lemon juice. Transfer to a bowl and stir in the onion mixture. Add the herbs, bread, and egg. Season to taste. Form into patties, 1/2" to 3/4" in thickness. Set on parchment lined sheet and cover with plastic wrap. Chill for 2 hours.

Heat oil in a large heavy skillet (nonstick is nice). Brown patties, about 4 minutes per side (they should release). Be very careful when you turn them over as they are moist patties. Finish in the oven (350 degrees) for 3-5 minutes. Serve hot on toast with condiments above, or of your choice.

For the lime-jalapeno-cilantro crema, we simply combined jalapenos finely chopped, with chopped cilantro, in a combination of mascarpone and sour cream. I liked the more mascarpone to sour cream ratio (not too sour), and when cut with lime juice and salt and pepper it tasted magical. Smeared on the warm burger, with pepper jelly. Yum.

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