Saturday, October 2, 2010

black bean burgers

My mother found this recipe years ago, shortly after I went vegetarian, and we've made it dozens of times since. The original called for jalapeƱos, which I don't really like, but I've played with a handful of other add-ins over the years. I think this version is my favorite so far, although I made some memorable ones with excessive amounts of hot chili oil. This recipe fed six people, with enough left over for Kelly and me to have a snack when we got home from a night out.

3 cans black beans, drained
3 medium-sized eggs
1 1/2-2 cup panko (or other bread crumbs)
4-5 green onions, finely chopped
2 large cloves garlic, pressed or minced
spices as desired (I use rosemary, crushed pepper, and garlic powder)
buns, cheese, and toppings

In a large mixing bowl, mash up the black beans (I use the bottom of a ladle, but hands work too) until they clump together. Crack the eggs and stir them through the beans with a fork. Mix in the panko, then add the onions and cloves. Throw in your spices (I added hot paprika... big surprise). If the mixture is dry and crumbling, add another egg. If it's too sticky, add more panko.

Refrigerate for half an hour or so (not essential but it makes the stuff stick together better), then form patties and cook on medium-high in a lightly oiled pan for about five minutes on each side, until the burgers start to get brown patches. You can melt the cheese over the burgers in the pan if you like.

I've usually eaten these on pita bread, but I came across challah rolls at Trader Joe's while shopping for this dinner. They were perfect. I may never eat any kind of burger on anything else. You can embellish the burgers with traditional toppings like lettuce, onions, french fries and ketchup, or think up something different. I served them with a platter of cheeses (sharp cheddar and havarti), condiments (spicy mayo, sweet mustard, barbecue sauce), crispy bacon (because it's just too funny to put it on a veggie burger, and none of my guests were actually vegetarians), and baby pea or clover sprouts, with carrot slaw and garlic mashed potatoes on the side.

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