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The Great Burger Debate

April 10, 2010

Greeting from NYC! I am in Brooklyn for the weekend visiting my best friends from college, one who is turning 25 today, and the other who just got engaged! Hi Jamie and Lauren!! We are running around prepping for the 80’s party we are throwing tonight, my favorite decade of them all! Let’s just say there is neon leopard print involved πŸ™‚ While I am joining the festivities, here is a recipe I made this week.

I have always been weary about veggie burgers. I love the idea, but the ones I’ve had are often dry and grassy tasting. Not my cup of tea! But those were always out of the freezer veggie burgers; at a restaurant the beef burger always calls my name. However, I had never tried to make my own, and after seeing some recipes pop up around the blogosphere I decided to give it a try.

A word about making burgers, of any kind. Whenever we made hamburgers growing up, we never put any egg or breadcrumbs into the mix. Just some onions, herbs, Worcestershire sauce and threw them on the grill. We never had a problem with them falling apart or not being incredibly moist. Flash forward some of my recent cooking attempts: I forgot to put eggs in my meatloaf recipe and it was dry and fell apart; I put eggs in my spicy turkey burgers and the patties were slimy and weird. I decided to do a little research to answer one of the worlds greatest questions: what binding agent do you use in burgers?

What I found was a disaster of mixed information. Some places insisted no binding agents (but you could use fillers like onions and peppers). Some said breadcrumbs, some said eggs, some said both. Some claimed you must never, ever, but an egg in your burger: “I don’t want meatloaf on my bun!”. Apparently the meatloaf vs burger consistency depends on the fillings, especially the ratio of egg to breadcrumb. For the veggies burgers I found that all of them called for breadcrumbs and most of them for eggs, however also to press all of the water out of the vegetables. So getting rid of dampness and then putting it back in? Oy, so many options!

I opted to make a black bean burger, with breadcrumbs but without egg. I then ended up adding an egg when the patties wouldn’t firm up as they were cooking. In the end these didn’t quite turn out to be “burgers” as the consistency was too soft, but they were still darn good and worth making the recipe.

Black Bean “Burgers”

1 can black beans, rinsed and dried
1 cup breadcrumbs (I made them from my gluten free bread in a food processor)
1/2 green pepper
1/2 small onion
1 tablespoon cumin
1 teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
2 teaspoons paprika
1/4 cup fresh cilantro
1 egg (I used 1/2 cup egg whites, but I think a whole egg would have worked better)

In a food processor, pulse the green pepper and onion until the pieces are fairly small. Put in a medium sized bowl with the breadcrumbs.

Put the beans into the food processor and pulse until the mixture is sticky yet still chunky, about 7 pulses. Add to the peppers, onions, and breadcrumbs.

Add the egg and seasoning and mix together. Form into patties and put in the fridge for 15 minutes to set.

When ready, fry in a frying pan until warmed through, about 5 minutes, flipping half way. Try to get a good crust on one side before flipping, so the pattie will stay together.

I served this with a spicy ketchup, sour cream, and a little swiss cheese. Carrot fries and kale chips (that is for another post, tomorrow!) on the side.

Despite the fact that my “burgers” were a bit too soft and did not shape well, the finished product was still delicious. The black beans stay so moist and I really liked the southwestern flavors to them. It was almost like eating a fancy refried bean sandwich, which was awesome because I love refried beans! They were also incredibly filling, for me much more so than a regular burger. The healthified “fries and chips” were excellent additions, and I can’t wait to share my kale chips story!

I’m now channeling Olivia Newton John! See you tomorrow πŸ™‚

How do you bind your burgers…or do you at all? Any suggestions to make this one better?

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. April 10, 2010 6:25 pm

    That sounds like a yummy burger. Hope you had fun at the 80s party!

  2. April 10, 2010 7:47 pm

    I’ve never tried to make my own burger at home. But that looks like a good one. I can only imagine it tastes a million times better than those frozen ones, which I used to eat constantly and now I just don’t because I have gotten sick of them, and also have realized they just don’t taste all that great!

    I had kale chips for dinner πŸ˜‰ But carrots FRIES.hmmm never tried to do that. will have to sometime!

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