Saturday, March 24, 2012

Black Bean Burgers

For these burgers, I made the buns myself, the burgers, and even he pickled radishes you can see in this picture. The radishes and the salad came from a local farmer, who brings his organic produce to my door every Tuesday.
And I feels really good to know that I made this. The whole thing.
And I guess it made the hamburgers taste a lot better, knowing the connection I have with the food I am about to eat.
I know that what I eat matters on a global level, but I also came to realize that putting more thought and time into what I eat, makes me appreciate the food a lot more. In a time when lots of people want and do spend less time preparing and eating real food, I feel connected and complete when I stand in the kitchen, preparing food. It almost feels like a rebellious act. 
So I shared my hamburger buns in the last post, and these are the burgers that went into the buns that night. I had never made buns before, mostly because we don't eat to many burgers around here. Considering that they were rather easy to make, I don't think I'd ever buy the packaged stuff again.

Then there were the burgers. They were only the second vegetarian burger I ever made from scratch. (If I remember correctly). They were rather quick to throw together, baked quickly in the oven and made for a really tasty burger.

Black Bean Burgers

1 cup uncooked black beans (or about 3 cups cooked)
1 tsp baking soda (if using uncooked beans)

1/2 cup bread crumbs
2 tbsp mustard
1 tbsp tomato paste
1 tsp paprika powder
1 onion
15g dried shitake mushrooms
+ small handful dried porcini
1/2 tbsp dried rosemary
1 tbsp dried sage
salt and pepper

Let the beans soak in water over night if you start to think about cooking these early enough. If not, you just have to cook them a bit longer. Rinse them well (after soaking) and add them, together with enough water, to a large saucepan. Add the baking soda. It makes the beans cook up faster, but also mushier. Great for things like these burgers or hummus, not so great if you want to use them whole. Let them simmer on medium heat for everything between 1-2 hours. I really depends on quite many factors.

Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F right before you start making the burgers. Line a baking tray with parchment paper.
Once they are cooked, drain and rinse them, then blend them in smaller portions in a blender. Add in the bread crumbs, mustard, tomato paste and the paprika powder. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Soak the dried mushrooms in lukewarm water for about 5 minutes. Dice the onion and sauté it in a little oil. Add the onions to the beans, put the skillet back on the heat and sauté the mushrooms together with the dried herbs. Once they are cooked and fragrant, place them in the blender and blend until you have a coarse crumbly mixture, not mush. Add the mushrooms to the beans and mix well using your hands. Taste and add more salt and pepper if necessary.

Take some of the mixture and form it into a flat disk. You choose how big your burgers should be. Place them on the parchment paper and bake them for about 20 minutes, turning them in the middle.

Makes about 10 burgers, depending on the size.

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