Black Bean Burgers - even when they fall apart they taste delicious!

I realized the other day that this blog can be / is about to become much more than a secretive way for me to share my experiences in the kitchen as I learn to cook and bake. Now that I have my own place with my own kitchen, even if I'm not moved out of my parent's house yet for good, I can use this to share with them all of the recipes I've been trying out. You know, keep them informed now that they have been relieved of their guinea pig duties. So, if I can be brave enough and practice this new, crazy idea of not getting embarrassed over things that I care about - no matter what other people think - this blog is about to step out of the shadows of strangers and anonymity. Okay, there will still be some anonymity because I don't trust the World Wide Web completely and, although I haven't gathered some alarming following, do not want random browsers to know all of my deep dark identity secrets. However, I will be most likely showing this to the people I care about, and crossing my fingers that I haven't in the past said anything foolish - either that, or they don't go back and read all of my archived entries. Just in case.

That being said, today I have a recipe to share with you for Black Bean Burgers that I could have sworn I already posted. I made it once before and everything went swimmingly - and then, apparently, I kept it all to myself. Can you find it in your hearts to forgive me? Particularly since this most recent time did not, shall we say, go so well.

First, there was my first escapade into the land of Dried Beans, which involved many stove-top overflows and toying with my gas stove which, though everyone swears by its superiority, is something I need to adjust to.

Then, there was the forgetting to remove the bread butts in time to dry out on my counter for bread crumbs, because I took one look at the sodium content of the pre-made bread crumbs and, surprise surprise, chose to make my own.

After that, we ran into a mixture that wouldn't stick, and rather than add a whole other egg as any intelligent cook might do, I decided to forge on and hope for the best.

This led to burgers that fell to pieces when flipped, but this happened only after I discovered that my only baking sheet is too wide to fit into my teensy tiny broiler, and I would have to bake the burgers for some undetermined amount of time.

What I wound up with were a few burgers that managed to hold their own, surrounded by heaps of cooked beans and veggies on my baking sheet. Of course, heaps of cooked beans and veggies tasted identical to patties of beans and veggies once on my pita, but aesthetically and practically it was not as smooth as the first attempt. The only difference was the use of canned versus dried beans, so maybe I over-cooked the beans this time around and they became a little more dried. It's nothing that the extra egg wouldn't have fixed.

So, without further ado, I give you the Black Bean Burger that was an all around success the first time, and a little bit of a mess the second. Both times, easy to make and very tasty, plus a very healthy alternative to a burger on those nights when you just want to eat with your hands.

Black Bean Burgers, or Spicy Bean Cakes, courtesy of $5 Dinners
Yield: 8-12 Burgers
The Ingredients
1/4 large red onion, finely chopped (I used 1 small white onion)
2 hot peppers, finely chopped (I used jalapenos, and de-seeded them, though I wasn't sure if I was supposed to)
3-4 cloves of garlic (I used roughly 1 scant Tbsp. pre-minced)
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 Tbsp. ground cumin
2 cans black beans (or the equivalent of cooked dried*)
1 large sweet potato
1 egg
1/2 C breadcrumbs (I used both bread butts of a loaf)

The Method
1. Place the first five ingredients (everything before the beans) to a skillet and saute for 2-3 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, drain and rinse the beans if using canned, and place in a large bowl. Mash them up with, ideally, a potato masher; since I don't have one of these, I mostly used one of those pie butter cutters (I should really know the name for that - pastry blenders?).
3. When the peppers and onions are finished sauteeing, add them to the bowl of mashed beans.
4. Grate the sweet potato into the bowl as well (I remove the skin first, mostly because the original recipe pictures don't seem to include it), and then add the egg and breadcrumbs.
5. Mix all of the ingredients together until they stick. Don't be stubborn like me: if the mixture seems dry, add another egg or some other cohesive ingredient. Make sure the mixture looks blended and sticky.
6. Divide into 8-12 balls (12 is recommended) and place onto a greased baking sheet.
7. Flatten into patties
8. Broil for 10 minutes, and then flip the burgers over and broil for another 3-4 minutes. Because my broiler was too narrow, I baked them on 350 for roughly the same ratio of time, though I really wasn't sure if that was appropriate.

*Note: You can find a very nice set of instructions for cooking dried beans at $5 Dinners, too.

I served this on a whole wheat pita with some mustard, lettuce and tomato. The taste was exactly how I had remembered it - tons of flavor from the beans and sweet potato, not too much spicy (probably because I removed the seeds), and a nice texture for a bean burger. When they don't fall apart as mine did this time, the consistency is spot-on.

I would absolutely recommend giving these a shot. Even if they fall apart, they'd be great on flatbreads or on a bun as a type of vegetarian sloppy joe, or stirred into rice for a different take on a stir-fry. I froze the extras for just those two purposes, and am hoping they turn out to be a recipe that reheats well. I'll keep you posted.

Last night, I cooked for the last night this week - after this, it's leftovers for me. I have to say, I'm looking forward to some faster meals, but I'm glad that I took the initiative to make extras for freezing. I'm also open to any suggestions for this - I'm new at the whole batch cooking. If you don't do it yet, try it out every once in a while. It sure beats reaching for a frozen Lean Cuisine in a crunch.

  • Digg
  • StumbleUpon
  • Reddit
  • RSS


Post a Comment