vendredi 15 janvier 2010

Bean Burgers

I’m not a big fan of “imitation meat” such as Boca Burgers, Tofu-dogs, Tofurky. Soy is not meat. It has no need to aspire to be meat. It should be considered as a food in its own right. If you decide not to eat meat, take this opportunity to discover other protein-rich foodstuffs—tofu, beans, lentils, other legumes, nuts, grains—and learn how to cook with them. Don’t buy the usual meat dishes you are used to eating, but with soy instead of meat—they aren’t even good.

Bean burgers are really good. This is not, I repeat, not “vegetarian food.” A bean burger is equally as good as a hamburger (some say better), just a bit different. The patty is made with a combination of beans as opposed to ground beef.

Beans are neither fruit, nor musical, as The Simpsons informs us. However, they are rich in protein, iron, fiber, folic acid, and complex carbohydrates. They are low in fat and cholesterol. They are also inexpensive. Bean burgers can be made with any kind or combination of beans, including chickpeas, black beans, red kidney beans, white beans, or lentils. I prefer a combination of black and kidney beans. I use canned beans because dry beans take so darn long to cook, but of course home-cooked and seasoned beans would be best.

Like hamburgers, bean burgers have an infinite possibility for modifications. Feel free to experiment. The idea is to achieve a combination that is not too moist but not too dry, but the flavor possibilities are endless. I will give my basic recipe here. Variations suggested after the recipe.

Bean Burgers

Makes 4-6 burgers

2 cups well-cooked beans (see suggestions above), or one 14 oz. can
onion, chopped
2-3 cloves garlic
½ cup bread crumbs or rolled oats
2 Tbsp chopped chilies
1 teaspoon cumin
½ cup grated cheese
salt and pepper
1 egg
bean cooking liquid, if necessary
frying oil

1. Combine beans, onion, bread crumbs/oats, garlic, chilies, cumin, cheese, salt, pepper, and egg in a food processor. Process until chunky, adding liquid if necessary (this is unlikely).
2. Refrigerate mixture for 10 minutes.
3. Shape into patties, layering on a plate between plastic wrap. Return to refrigerator for another 10 minutes or so.
4. Fill a non-stick pan with oil over a medium flame. Wait for the oil to heat, then add the patties. Cook until well-browned on one side, then flip. Cook until thoroughly browned and firm.
5. Serve on buns with whatever you like.

--add spinach, about 1 cup
--add other vegetables, but not so many that the patties don’t hold together: carrots, bell peppers, celery, potato, sweet potato, zucchini
--add fresh herbs: parsley, basil, dill, thyme, rosemary, cilantro, etc.
--vary the spices: curry powder, cumin, ginger, cayenne pepper
--add lemon, lime, or orange zest.
--add mushrooms
--use cooked grains instead of the bread crumbs/oats and egg

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