Beet & Black Bean Burgers
These burgers received a hearty seal of approval from one of my harshest vegetarian critics: a tiny girl, age 6. #winning
P.S: Do you make beans with epazote? This amazing herb smells awful—kind of like turpentine when you first pick it, but it has been used for ages in Latin cooking. The herb breaks down acids which are hard to digest, adds flavor (it does not taste like turpentine, thankfully), and reportedly reduces flatulence. I highly recommend it.
1 C. black beans, soaked for at least three hours in distilled water
3-4 sprigs of epazote
2 whole cloves garlic
2-3 sprigs of cilantro, or more
1-1/2 t. ground cumin
1 dried chipotle pepper
plenty of sea salt
fresh ground black pepper
1 large red beet, scrubbed, peeled, and grated
1 C. panko or cracker crumbs
about ½ C. all purpose flour
Drain the beans, rinse them, and then put them in a stock pot with enough fresh cold water to cover them by 1 inch. Add the epazote, cilantro, garlic, cumin, chipotle, sea salt, and pepper. Bring the pot to a boil, then stir, reduce heat, and simmer. Stir occasionally, and begin checking the beans for done-ness after about an hour. How do you know? When they taste right. Add more salt or other seasonings, if desired.
Remove from heat, and allow to cool. If you must strain them, reserve the cooking liquid. I usually let my beans cool in their liquid. It takes longer, but it is worth it.
When you are ready to make the burgers, spoon the beans out with a slotted spoon and put them into a food processor. Discard the epazote stems, and if desired, the chipotle and cilantro. Add the panko, grated beet, and juice from ½ of a lime. Process to combine.
Place the flour on a large plate. In a large cast iron, heat some neutral oil, like expeller-pressed coconut oil, or sunflower oil. Patty up the burgers according to the size of your potato buns (no one likes a disproportionate burger, mind you). I think the trick to making great veggie burgers is to get them to hold together without creating a dry eating experience. So, as you patty burgers you may find the batter a touch sticky. As long as it is holding together OK, don’t fret. Gently coat the burgers with the flour, then brown them nicely in the cast iron pan, over medium heat. Then, transfer to a 300F oven for about 20 minutes, to let them crisp up and heat through.
We topped these with cheddar cheese, mayonnaise, and slices of heirloom tomato, sandwiched in between perfect Potato Hamburger Buns.
I had some burgers mash leftover, so I re-purposed it by stuffing it inside of corn tortillas, rolling them up, dumping home-made enchilada sauce over top, and sprinkling with jack cheese. Enchiladas, baby.