The quick and versatile bean burger technique [Vegan cooking]

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Summary: Bean based burgers are actually kind of easy to make and have lots of room for modification. This adapted recipe [based initially off of one from Veganomicon] works well with many types of beans and many types of flavor combinations.

BLOT: (22 Mar 2014 - 11:20:42 PM)

The quick and versatile bean burger technique [Vegan cooking]

The initial version of these came from Veganomicon, an overall great cookbook even if you don't care about the dietary choices. On page 98, they have a Black Bean Burger recipe. It is good, though it could be spicier, and we've had it before and enjoyed it. However, I realized that it was just a specific instance of a overall type of recipe. I've played with a few variations and have come up with a a more generalized class. I'll go for the quickest way, but there are lots of ways to tweak.

The basic set of ingredients [See notes a paragraph or two down]:

Drain the beans, but retain the liquid. Put beans in food processor along with other bits and 1/4 cup of the liquid from the can. Blend until mixed and anywhere from smooth [-ish, since beans tend to be fine-chunky at best] to chunky. Add in seasoning to taste. Put this in a bowl. Mix in gluten and filler. Stir a bit and then get your hands in and knead it for a good five or so minutes. Add in some more retained bean-water if you need to moisten or more filler if over moist. For lack of better descriptor, it will be about the consistency of soft play dough and not unduly wet to the touch [though just a tad moist].

Now, the notes for the above ingredients:

  1. You do not have to use a can. You can boil beans from dry and just use about two cups.
  2. There are potentially types that will not work but most standard beans will. I have tried it with black beans, lentils, and chickpeas.
  3. The "filler" can be any sort of starch type food that is absorbent and with a flavor pattern that will mix. I like potato flakes. The original recipe uses bread crumbs. You can also use corn meal, chickpea flour [also works, but makes a slightly stickier mix], panko, and so on.
  4. Seasoning amounts will vary between batches and between people, but about three teaspoons of total seasoning seems to work alright, though you can go higher or lower than that. Just remember, as you taste it in the processing stage, the beans will taste over-spiced in order for you to have a good blend at the end.
  5. The original recipe had half a small onion and a tablespoon [I think] of ketchup. I'd say you can push it up to about a cup or two cups of "other" [examples include spinach, mushroom, nuts, chopped vegetables, etc] before you start to break the recipe. I like a full cup of onion with another cup of whatever else feels like a good secondary mix to the bean. The ketchup is up to you, but it does work.

Now you have your "loaf", cut it up into four, five, or six equal parts. Take each equal part and roll it and knead it together for a moment and shape into a patty. At four, the above recipe makes kind of thick and big patties. At six, it makes kind of small ones. They store fairly well, though, once you cook them.

Fry in light oil. Baking would possibly work, but the frying does not take very much oil at all. You have to be kind of gentle with them. They do not fall apart, per se, but they do remain on the softer side. Flip every few minutes. Let a bit of a browning occur and then get the middle good and warm. When done, they will be kind of structurally strong, but soft in the middle. If you are a mouth-feel fiend, then maybe add some chopped mushroom or TVP or chopped nuts in after the processing stage so there is more texture in the mix.

And that's it. About ten minutes to prepare, about ten [or more, depending on heat and such] to cook.

This is what I used to make some this afternoon (ingredients pictured above):

Then just did as above and they were good. In hindsight, should have added a pinch more salt, some pepper, maybe some more curry powder, and a dash of lemon juice to spruce up the chickpea. They are very filling, more so than some of the pre-packaged veggie burgers, and can stick with you for a bit.

Up next, will probably try pinto burgers with maybe a good hot salsa motif.



Written by Doug Bolden

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