30 December 2009

Delicious (and Easy) Bean Burgers

We have a restaurant in Columbus, Northstar Cafe, that makes the most amazing vegetarian burgers. The burgers are meaty without having meat, full of rich smoky undertones and delicious umami flavor. I have absolutely no idea how Northstar manages to create such an amazing vegetarian alternative to a hamburger. I still haven't figured out how to recreate it at home, but I do like to play around with other vegetarian burgers. Most recently, I noticed a recipe that Joe posted on his blog, Culinary in the Country, for Bean Burgers with Spicy Guacamole. I was intrigued by the addition of cornmeal to the bean mixture. I wondered if this could be part of the solution to the Northstar Cafe recipe mystery. Alas, I don't think it is the missing ingredient, but these burgers were delicious nonetheless.

The patties were very easy to throw together. I didn't have any avocados so there was no spicy guacamole on my burgers. I do think that the guacamole would be a perfect accompaniment to these bean patties. My burgers were spicy because I cooked my pinto beans with lots of dried jalapenos, coriander and dried onion.

I ate it on a toasted English muffin with pepper-jack cheese and salsa. My burger did fall apart once I bit into the bun, but it still tasted great. I served the burgers with a lime juice based slaw, similar to the recipe I posted here. The recipe was very easy to cut in half, and I was able to make a few simple adjustments based on what I had on hand. I will definitely make these burgers again.

Bean Burgers
adapted from Culinary in the Country

1/4 cup cooked brown rice
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1/4 cup chopped onion
1 garlic clove, minced
1 1/4 cups cooked pinto beans, drained
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/4 teaspoon toasted cumin seeds, ground
3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
1/4 cup cornmeal, divided (I used blue cornmeal!)
salt and fresh ground black pepper
2 burger buns

To prepare the burgers

In a medium non-stick skillet, heat 1 tablespoon oil over medium heat. Stir in onion and garlic - cook until until soft and fragrant, about 3 minutes. Stir in beans, paprika and cumin - cook for 1 minute, stirring. Using a potato masher or fork, mash the beans to a coarse paste.

Scoop the mixture out into a bowl and let cool slightly. Stir in cooked brown rice, cilantro and 1 1/2 tablespoons cornmeal - season with salt and fresh ground black pepper.

Evenly divide the mixture into 2 portions, forming each into a patty. Coat both sides of the patties with the remaining cornmeal, then place each onto a plate. Place into the refrigerator and chill for 20 minutes.

In a large non-stick skillet, heat 1 tablespoon oil over medium heat. Add burgers to skillet and cook about 3-4 minutes per side, until lightly browned. Serve with pepper-jack cheese and salsa.

Makes 2 servings.

No comments: