Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Black Bean Burgers

Spring is a tempting bitch. A warm breeze passes through, some sunshine passes through the clouds, and you think, "It's Spring! Spring is here!" And you know what happens next? You get spring confused with summer, or at the very least you get early April confused with late May, and you decide that fresh veggies are just around the corner. You see one tulip and you become convinced that asparagus, tomatoes and leafy greens will soon cover your table. This is a dangerous thing to think in early April. Why? Because the next thing that happens is you open a cabinet, and you spy all those traitorous canned foods. You can't let the fresh veggies see you with the canned food! What will they think? "Out!" you cry, grabbing every can and lining them up on the counter. These must be disposed of. Preferably in a delicious way.

The tomatoes went into a delicious vodka cream sauce. I can't blog about that because it got eaten too fast and there were no photographs. That's right, I destroyed the evidence so the heirlooms wouldn't see.

Then it was just the black beans and I just staring each other down. I should have never bought two cans of beans. I had never cooked black beans before, and as soon as I had them in my possession I realized all the really good sounding recipes called for dried beans. Stupid canned beans...staring at me from their stupid metal prison, they were taunting me. I vaguely remembered a magazine recipe of a black bean burger, and the vegetarian healthiness appealed to me, as my frame seems to have picked up an extra pound or two with the cheesy egg experiments. Also appealing was that the recipe take about 20 whole minutes to make. Sounds like Monday night meal to me. I found a recipe that satisfied a lot of my pantry cleansing needs, including calling for mayonnaise. I had recently scored some Japanese Kewpie mayo, and have been dying to try it out on something.

One thing I noted in the reviews of the original recipe, some people complained it was too bland for them. People often have similar complaints about turkey burgers so I pulled out a trick from the ones I make and added some chopped green peppers to the mix, which also gave the patties a much needed kick of color.

Black Bean Burgers
Adapted from Gourmet Magazine

-2 14 oz cans of black beans, rinsed and drained, divided
-3 tablespoons of mayonnaise
-1/3 cup dried breadcrumbs
-2 teaspoons of cumin
-1 teaspoon dried oregano
-1/4 teaspoon of cayenne
-1/4 cup chopped green peppers
-2 tablespoons olive oil
-4 soft hamburger buns

To top: sliced avocado, sliced tomatoes

Pulse 1 can of beans in a food processor with mayo, breadcrumbs, cumin, oregano, and cayenne until a coarse puree forms. Transfer to a bowl and stir in remaining can of beans. Form mixture into 4 patties.

Heat oil in a 12 inch heavy skillet over medium high heat until it shimmers. Cook burgers until outsides are crisp and lightly browned, turning once, about 5 minutes total. Transfer to buns.

The result was quite tasty, very earthy but the fresh veggies gave it some much needed brightness. If I had sour cream that would have been a lovely topper for such a burger, but it had been sitting in the fridge too long and had gotten a bit too sour. I eyed my newly acquired mayo. I plunked a teaspoon and a half into a ramekin and squeezed in about half a teaspoon of lime juice. Whisked together, it made a great spread for this very heavy meal.

In the end, I think this burger makes a great base that could be taken in many different directions. I may go more Southwestern and add jalapenos. Maybe I'll wear a ten gallon hat while I do it. I may take a cue from the cumin and head to Southeast Asian, plunking some curry powder into the mix. Cause I would look hot in a sari. Any way you spice it up, its a great way to use what you have on hand to make a really quick and interesting week night dinner (or to sate some vegetarians at a cookout this summer). But me, I'm done shopping my cabinets for dinner. I'm ready to fill this apartment with fresh veggies that will appear in the farmers market soon. Really. Any minute now. Green will come sprouting out of the earth. Tap. Tap. Tap.


Mother Rimmy said...

I love black bean burgers. This is perfect for a meat-free meal!

Table Talk said...

Though the black beans may have come from a can, the recipe is fresh, colorful, and it's a burger after all, which definitely means spring.

Claudia said...

I'm going to try this tomorrow - I loved patties from beans - and all your additions are grand!

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