Help! I need somebody!


I found this recipe for bean burgers in the February 2009 issue of Gourmet Magazine - oh, I do lament the demise of that wonderful magazine... Though I bought the necessary ingredients right away, I never got around to making the burgers... I used the black beans for something else, and the other ingredients eventually disappeared from the fridge or pantry.

Fast forward to just a couple of days ago, and I realise I am craving veggie burgers! I don't really eat those anymore, not since the unfortunate incident when I inadvertently purchased a package of beef and portobello burgers instead of veggie portobello burgers... I have no qualms about cooking meat, but when one spends the whole day looking forward to a veggie burger for dinner and realises too late the burger in the pan is not veggie... well, it just cuts one's appetite. 

There are few things I will not make in my kitchen, veggie burgers are one of them (pasta in a box is another - not out of food snobbism, but because I cannot for the life of me get the liquid to powdered sauce ratio right!!! My friends laugh about it...) I tried to make some ages ago when I first stopped eating meat. It wasn't exactly a success, so I've avoided them ever since. A friend of mine has had quite a bit of success with lentil burgers, and the Gourmet recipe reminded me of them, so I thought I'd give it another try.

I couldn't find black beans at the grocery, so I got black eyed peas and pinto beans. And I followed the recipe... My friend K uses gluten flour to firm up the burgers, so I replaced the breadcrumbs with ¼cup of vital wheat gluten. She also bakes the burgers before freezing any extras. Her burgers are beautiful, so I figured I should do the same.

As you can see from the picture above, my burger was -once again- not really a success. It looks more like a not-so-sloppy-joe. With some crisp romaine, a slathering of mayo, dollops of homemade ketchup, a couple bits of sundried tomatoes, and two slices of homemade easy bread (more on that later!) it is still very tasty indeed, but a burger it is not!

K, when you have a bit of spare time (not so obvious with a new baby, I know), I think I could use a hands-on tutorial on veggie burgers!

Veggie Sloppy Joes
makes 6 generous non-burgers

2 cans of beans -I couldn't find 14oz cans (maybe it's a Canadian thing...) so I used 19 oz cans and modified the recipe accordingly-  drained and rinsed
3 Tbs mayonnaise
4 Tbs gluten flour or ½ cup breadcrumbs
3 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp smoked paprika
¼cup chopped fresh herbs -parsley, cilantro, epazote.... 

If you are using a food processor, divide the beans. Coarsely purée half the beans with the other ingredients, except fresh herbs. Mix in the rest of the beans and herbs.
You can also use a stick blender or a potato masher to purée the mix, in which case, all the ingredients can go in at the same time.
Form the mix into 6 patties.
Place on an oiled or papered baking sheet, and bake at 350'F for 15 minutes.
Serve on buns or bread of your liking, with your favourite condiments.
If you have extras, let them cool completely before attempting to wrap and freeze them.

I've read through the commentaries to the Gourmet post, and apparently I am not the only one who's had problems with the burgers -granted, I didn't really follow the recipe... One person said that leaving the patties to rest in the fridge for 30 minutes did the trick. Maybe I'll try that next time.

Bon app'!


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