Y’all, I have found the bean-burger my soul desires.
A few folks asked me to share, so here it is! This is a surprisingly quick dinner, not to mention economical and sustainable and DELICIOUS, so just prepare yourself.
Quick: <30 minutes from start to finish (clean up included)
Economical: Most of the items involved are standard pantry items that can be purchased very inexpensively, even when buying organic. Every ingredient, too, can be used in other dishes. I like that.
Sustainable: In several ways...
- Meat-free - Much of the world's carbon problem comes from the factory farming of God's beloved creatures (Google this issue if you are brave). Subbing even a few meals every week with deliciously plant-based dishes is a good way to thwart the problem.
- Waste-free - From the breadcrumbs to the black beans themselves, this meal can be made without packaging.
- Soak and cook beans from the bulk wall. This is cheaper, tastier, and waste-free!
- Intercept breadcrumbs and crushed crackers before they go to garbage. Keep a container in the freezer to accumulate this magic dust until you have enough for a delectable culinary spell (breadcrumb topped mac'n'cheese, anyone?).
- Skill-building - Many can pop frozen veggie burgers in the microwave, but preparing your own patties can shape life for the better. Working out how to prepare meals is an essential and life-giving process that will shape and strengthen your mind and, therefore, equip you to empower your community. Take up a new skill, invite others to learn alongside, and relish the gift of good food and friends 'round the table!
Delicious: Just try it and find out, will ya?
Note that this is a method for the madness. That is really my mode of cooking—method rather than recipe (much to Aaron’s dismay--he is a measuring, recipe-following fiend!). I like to find standard ways of creating favored dishes with whatever ingredients (or leftovers) I have on hand. You could use the following “recipe”--which is really, really good as is--with different beans and spices according to your liking and seasonal availability.
Also, a word to the wise: Burgers were not made in a day. I don't know anyone who just slaps raw hamburger on a grill and hopes for the best. NO. The making of a burger is honed over experience. We learn what we like with the meat, the stuff that brings out hidden burger glory--be it a little onion, a little spice, a little secret sauce. Same thing applies with bean burgers. Play with the seasonings until you beg for more.
Black Bean Burgers
- a method for the madness -
Makes 4 LARGE patties.
- 3 cups cooked black beans (roughly two cans worth, rinsed)
- 1/3 cup breadcrumbs (Make/save your own OR use the Panko stuck in the back of the pantry.)
- 3 tablespoons mayonnaise (or 1 egg and 1 tablespoon mayo)
- ½ teaspoon Liquid Smoke and/or Worsteshire sauce
- Spices to taste
- Since I used the Italian-style Panko breadcrumbs that I found in the pantry (Thanks, Mom!), I did not need any extra spices or salt. Use your best judgement here and just go for it! I think a teaspoon or so of cumin, cayenne, and oregano could be tasty. Or two teaspoons of your favorite spice mix (ranch, grilling seasoning, etc.).
- 3 tablespoons oil/butter for the skillet
- Cheese (because is it even a burger without cheese?!)
- Favorite buns (or whatever bread ya got) and burger toppings of your choice
- Let your beans whirl around a bit in the food processor until they are smooth.
- We are divided on this in the Coyle-Carr household, but you COULD (do it) reserve a third of your beans to incorporate later. This gives the burgers a more varied texture.
- Add the mayo/egg, breadcrumbs, and spices. Switch on the processor to incorporate.
- If you took my advice and left some of the beans whole, now is the time to stir/knead everything together in a large bowl—bean mixture and whole beans. Proceed.
- Divide the VERY THICK bean mixture into four equal parts on a cutting board and shape the patties.
- Heat butter and oil in a skillet on medium heat (medium heat is KEY!). When the butter foams up a bit, add the burgers.
- Cook on one side for five minutes and then flip. There should be a looovely crust on the cooked side.
- Top that crisp burger with some cheese. Cover the skillet and finish cooking (about 5 minutes). Make sure to adjust your heat source to stay at “medium.”
- Bun up and chow down!
Good luck with your burger-making!
Let me know how it goes. I am always game for improving my methods. :)