Another Monday, another episode of Gossip Girl. I suggested another dinner/viewing with Sarah via email. She replied with a question.
"What if we made our own veggie burgers?"
I clicked on the link she had pasted below. Homemade veggie burgers with pinto beans, walnuts, cilantro, the aforementioned bulgur, and more ? I was sold. The truth is, I have never made veggie burgers before, though I do love them. I was ready to tackle this project, and to succeed.
Originally published in Gourmet (June 2008)
1/2 cup chopped onion, divided
1 tablespoon olive oil plus additional for brushing
1/2 cup bulgur
1 cup water
1 cup canned pinto beans, rinsed and drained
1 1/2 tablespoon soy sauce (Sarah -- I just noticed this ingredient!! We definitely forgot it.)
3/4 cup walnuts (2 1/2 ounces)
2 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup packed cilantro sprigs
3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/4 teaspoon grated lime zest
1/2 teaspoon fresh lime juice (Just squeeze a whole lime.)
4 slices multi-grain bread,toasted (OR 8 slices, if you are not interested in serving them open-faced.)
Preparation (I put my notes in parentheses):
Cook half of onion with 1/4 teaspoon salt in oil in a small heavy saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until golden, 5 to 7 minutes. Add bulgur and water and cook, covered, over low heat until water is absorbed, 15 to 18 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and stir in beans and soy sauce.
Pulse bulgur mixture, walnuts, garlic, cilantro, cumin, cayenne, a rounded 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, and remaining onion in a food processor until finely chopped. (As you can see, we abandoned the food processor idea and used the trusty hand blender instead. I love that thing.)
Form rounded 1/2 cups of mixture into 4 (31/2-inch-diameter) patties. Chill at least 10 minutes.
While patties chill, stir together mayonnaise, zest, and juice. (Let me tell you, I do not typically like mayo, but this one was so tangy and light, and I was into it. I bet a vegan mayo substitute would work fine too.)
Prepare grill for direct-heat cooking over medium-hot charcoal (medium heat for gas). Put perforated grill sheet on grill and preheat 10 minutes. (Obviously it is January, so we did not grill these. ****See "Cook's note" below for details on cooking in a pan. It works fine!)
Brush patties all over with oil. (Again, if you're not grilling, just put oil in the pan. Sarah gets credit for pan-cooking these to perfection. They are a bit crumbly, but wont fall apart on you.)
Oil grill sheet, then grill burgers on grill sheet, covered only if using a gas grill, carefully turning once, until golden brown, about 8 minutes total.
Serve burgers open-faced on toast with lime mayonnaise. (We served them "closed-faced" on toasted bread and garnished with thin slices of cucumber, plum tomato, and avocado. Of course you can put any of your favorite burger toppings on these, but in my opinion, these are the perfect toppings - the crunchy cucumber slices in particular are HIGHLY recommended.)
****Cooks' notes: ·Burgers can be cooked on the stove. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a 12-inch heavy skillet over medium heat until it shimmers, then cook patties, carefully turning once, until golden brown, about 8 minutes total.
·Uncooked patties can be chilled, covered, up to 4 hours.
As we cooked, I decided to find out if Hillary would be coming home soon. This is what happened:
Hill came home, and along with Suz, we all shared these yummy burgers while watching Gossip Girl, in which all the characters went to some opening at the Opera. People fought, people made up, people wore fancy dresses. It was cool.
The burgers have a really nice smooth texture. Sometimes veggie burgers can be dry - but these were really moist, somewhat falafel-like in texture. The walnuts give it a nice sweetness and the cilantro and lime flavors were really tasty.
(We did not take this photo, but someone named Romulo Yanes took it when the recipe ran in "Gourmet". Ours looked different, but equally delicious. I forgot my camera, decided to use my phone, and then only took one silly picture. Oops.)
We also made a quick a delicious pear-goat cheese-arugula salad to eat with these, which was great. Pears have been tasting really good to me lately.
This is the perfect meal to enjoy while balancing a plate on your lap in front of the TV.