Monday, May 23, 2011

Black Bean Magic

I absolutely love this black bean burgers.

I've been experimenting a lot with bean burgers in the past couple of weeks. I've made a Kidney-bean burger and a Garbanzo-bean burger both they both need some work before I can post them up as successful vegetarian burgers.

I had much better luck with this black bean burger.

These burgers were part of a project for work. The cooking column I write with my colleagues and fellow cooks - Don't Call Me Chef - expanding from a monthly one to a weekly one. (What have I gotten myself into!?) One of the weekly columns - Singled Out - will focus on meals for the single cook. Cooking for one has multiple challenges. For one, you have to be good at estimating amounts (unless you don't mind eating the same meal for days).  Also, when I cook for one, I look for fuss-free recipes that don't require a lot of work. Spending three hours in the kitchen for a party of five is invigorating. Spending the same amount of time for a meal just for me? Not so much.

So I focused my inaugural Singled Out entry on sandwiches (which includes burgers). It's the perfect single persons food, I reckon. Full of flavour, full of possibilities and full of fun.

So back to the Black Bean Burger.

I decided to keep the ingredients simple. In fact, I decided to challenge myself and use whatever I had in my fridge. Too bad for me that its been a busy week and i hadn't replenished my fridge.

I had some leeks. I had some oyster mushrooms in the fridge. Some potatoes were lurking in the pantry and of course, garlic I always have in abundance. That's all? The only thing I had to dress the burger was some cabbage and tomatoes. No lettuce! Oh my.

Well, I'd have to make do.

I used dried black beans which meant I had to soak them over night first. So yes, soak them overnight and then cook them in lightly salted water for a hour or so. The good thing about the black bean? It holds its shape after cooking. Not like the kidney bean that can get mushy. Or the chickpea too.

While some say the black bean tastes like the kidney bean, I beg to differ. It tastes nothing like that. The black bean is a lot heartier. It tastes a little like mushrooms, really. Perhaps that's why I like them? They are have a whole lot more flavour. Even without seasoning, they taste good. A bit bland but good.

So while the beans were cooking, I sliced my leeks and diced my oyster mushrooms and sauteed them in olive oil. Seasoned with a little salt and pepper. Oh and I had some vegetable stock powder which I used a little.

Once the beans are cooked, you mash them up and add the leeks and mushrooms and mixed them up well. Next was breadcrumbs - as much as needed to firm the patties up. 

Here's a tip: leave some of the beans whole. Let some of the mushrooms be a bit chunky. This adds some texture to the patty. 

Done? Refrigerate the patties for at least 30 minutes to firm them up: makes it easier to grill.

I looked desolately at my cabbage. I wish I had lettuce. 

To compensate, I decided to make my own wholemeal buns, with caraway seeds. A tasty bun would make the cabbage a little less ... sad? Hell, yes! (The recipe for this is for another post).

Back to the patties.

I opened my fridge and saw that the patties were firm and ready to go (on the heat). I heated up about 2 tbsp of olive oil in a skillet and gently slid the patties into the pan and let them cook. To finish them off, I also popped them in the oven for about 10 mins to crisp up. You don't need to do this as, really, all the ingredients are cooked already. 

Its best you let the patties cool before putting them on your bread. The texture of the burger is soft. Heck, it's beans! To compensate, you'll need some crunch with your salad leaves (or cabbage), tomatoes and, if you like, you can slice onion rings too (no need to cook).

Black Bean Burgers

1 cup dried black beans, soaked overnight
1 cup oyster mushrooms, roughly chopped
1/3 cup leeks, sliced
1 medium potato, boiled and mashed.

olive oil
salt and pepper

Cook the beans in salted water under low heat for about 50 - 75 mins. They should be soft enough to press with your fingers. 

Heat the oil in a skillet and saute the leeks and mushroom until the moisture is almost all gone. Season and let cool.

Mash the beans (I used my mortar and pestle; you can use a blender/food processor if you wish). Mix in the cooled leek/mushrooms. Mix in the mashed potato. Check seasoning and adjust. You can add some curry powder. Or some chilli flakes. But really, you don't need to. The beans are tasty enough and the leeks add a whole lot of flavour already. 

Add breadcrumbs: enough to bind the patty together. I used about 1/2 cup. 

Form into patties and transfer into the fridge for about 30 mins.

Heat about 2 tbsp oil in a skillet and gently slide the chilled patties in. Brown them on both sides. They don't need to cook for long as all the ingredients are already cooked. You want a crisp exterior though. After browning them in the pan, I popped them in the oven (180C) for about 10-15 mins. 

1 comment:

  1. burgers out of beans, and it sounds good too


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