Friday, March 12, 2010

Black Bean Burgers

I first had black bean burgers several years ago when I nannied in a Kosher household (read: no mixing meat with dairy). Since I usually dislike meat without cheese, but plain cheese sandwiches get boring after all... eating frozen veggie cheeseburgers became a favorite lunch. Since then though, I hardly ever eat veggie burgers though I still think of them very fondly. So when I came across this Aaron McCargo recipe on Food Network, I absolutely wanted to try it. One thing that intrigued me was the smoked paprika in it. So I bought some and wow, does it smell good!! I'm definitely going to cooking with it in the future.

I made a few changes to the recipe, such as reducing the amount of black pepper (and it still had as strong pepper flavor). Another thing I did differently was use white flour instead of wheat, which was probably the reason why I had a tiny bit of difficult keeping the burgers together. So I recommend using the wheat flour if you have it, but if you don't, just be extra careful when flipping the burgers. To keep it inexpensive, instead of using canned beans, I used a pound of dry beans (I doubled the recipe). Unfortunately, my beans didn't yield what all the websites I googled promised: namely that a pound of dry beans was the equivalent of 6 cups (which equals 4 cans) of beans. I'm guessing that I didn't cook them long enough, although they were definitely soft enough to mash. Because I only got about 4 1/2 cups, I raided my pantry and found a can of light red kidney beans to add. (That's the bits of red you might notice in the burgers.)

So anyway, the burgers turned out wonderfully and had so much flavor that I decided they didn't need to be turned into cheeseburgers. And coming from me, that's saying something because I pretty much add cheese to everything. Be warned though, these burgers are pretty spicy. After all, this recipe did come from the show Big Daddy's House which specializes in "big, bold flavors"! My 2 1/2 year old loved them though (he even asked request "burggus" for breakfast the next morning), so I dare you to try them. :)

Black Bean Burgers

3 cup cooked black beans or 2 cans, drained
1/2 cup onion, finely chopped
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon hot sauce
1 to 1-1/2 teaspoons fresh cilantro, chopped
3 tablespoons whole-wheat flour
1/2 tablespoon Kosher salt
1-1/2 teaspoons black pepper
1 egg white, slightly beaten
3 tablespoons oil
Burger buns

Thoroughly mash the beans in a large bowl. Add the remaining ingredients except oil and mix thoroughly with hands or a sturdy spoon. Form into burger patties. Heat oil in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Gently add the burgers, reforming the patties if necessary. Cook the burgers for until crispy, about 3 to 4 minutes, and then carefully flip over and cook an additional 3 to 4 minutes. Remove the burgers and place on a plate lined with paper towels to absorb excess oil. Serve on buns with desired toppings (we used spinach and tomatoes). Yields 4 large or 6 medium burgers.

Recipe adapted from Aaron McCargo Jr.

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