Saturday, January 26, 2008

Bean there, done that!

Oooh...a new favorite food. In an admirable effort to avoid all the work I brought home to do over the weekend, I've been playing in the kitchen. I once again spent some time baking bread, with a revisit of Moomie's Beautiful Burger Buns. Then, I pulled out Mark Bittman's newest book, How to Cook Everything Vegetarian, which is vying for menu space with Jack Bishop's A Year in a Vegetarian Kitchen. After all, what's the point in having buns if there's nothing to dress them up with, right? Bittman has a whole section on bean burgers, which sound gross, but are really, really, really good. I used black beans, which take a spin in the food processor with onion, rolled oats, chili powder, salt, pepper, and an egg for binding. From there, they can be cooked immediately or, as I did, refrigerated for awhile to allow the flavors to meld.

Once formed into patties, they are fried in a skillet or baked. I chose baking for a couple of reasons. Mine were really wet, and I just didn't think they'd make it into the skillet. So, I lined a baking sheet with parchment paper, then scooped out the mixture and formed the patties right on the parchment-lined pan. I covered and refrigerated them a bit longer, as I was still waiting for bread dough to rise and bake. When I took the buns out of the oven, I cranked up the heat and tossed the whole baking pan in the oven. Fifteen minutes, turn, fifteen more minutes--success.

There was a tiny little roadblock which had me worried for a minute. When I took the burgers out of the oven to turn them, they were glued to the parchment. I did scrape them up and turn them onto a clean spot, and they were fine after that. I think the bean mixture was just so wet that it got too attached. Next time, I think I'll just use Reynold's Release or a Silpat sheet to eliminate the problem.

There are about a million possible variations on this, using any kind of bean (or even lentils) and any kind of spice. The book has directions for making the mixture into cutlets, meatballs, or meatloaf, or even changing the whole thing up with different additions.

We topped our burgers with chipotle ketchup, which was a perfect go-with. I can tell I'll be making these over and over again.

Given all the healthy properties of beans and all things legume, I'm sure you'll want to check out My Legume Love Affair over at The Well Seasoned Cook. The results of this blogging event will be posted the week of February 10. In the meantime, check out the blog itself for lots of great recipes and ideas.


LisaRene said...

The bean burgers look wonderful but what caught my attention was how you "decorated" them with the chipotle ketchup. Your artistic side is shining through!

Michelle said...

Thanks--it's all about the pretty, you know. :-)

Pam said...

I haven't made Moomies buns in ages! Thanks for reminding me. I've been thinking about getting the Bittman cookbook, so do you recommend it?

Michelle said...

Pam, I do, provided it's what you're looking for. It's not like Deborah Madison or Jack Bishop, but it's very, very Bittman--if that makes sense. We've been buzzing about it over on the Cooking Light Bulletin Boards, and it seems there are lots of hits and very few misses from this one. The recipes are easy and accessible, and seem to always be more than the sum of their parts. Plus, he has variations for almost every single recipe in there, so you can make something no matter what you have on hand--or what you don't. I've only had it a few weeks, and it already looks like I've had it for years. Embarrassing, I know, but I carry it around with me and am constantly flipping back and forth through it--even when I'm cooking from something else. The only thing I don't like is that I just don't have enough time to cook from it!

Helios said...

Still have not tried these bean burgers yet, but the whole meal complete with homemade buns is calling my name. Must try soon!

Susan said...

I've made black bean burgers many times, but never with a recipe as easy as this one. And those Moomies buns look incredible!

Thanks for joining in, Michelle!

Ricki said...

These look great--and, yay!--I already have the Bittman book. I'm definitely going to try them out (and your ketchup swirl is terribly fetching!);)

Michelle said...

Helios--yes, do give them a try. So worth it!

Pam--Thanks for stopping by. I have no other black bean burgers to compare these to, but we liked them and, you're right--E A S Y! That's always good in my book!

Ricki--The Bittman book is just great. I'm certainly capable of more elaborate cooking, but why, when simple can be so good?