Thursday, February 19, 2009

Crazy Brian's Crazy Veggie Burgers (V*)

Serves: 1 pika (with some leftovers)

(all amounts are approximate - I measured with the venerable "squint, pour, and mix" method, then tried to remember amounts later)
  • 6 15 oz cans of black beans
  • 4 cups mushrooms (whatever kind you want - I used half crimini and half portobello)
  • 6 medium onions
  • 10 cloves garlic
  • 1 head of broccoli
  • 2 cups pine nuts
  • 4 cups fine breadcrumbs
  • 3 cups cornmeal
  • 1 cup nutritional yeast
  • salt
  • pepper


Coarsely chop the onions, garlic, broccoli, and mushrooms (size is unimportant -they're getting pureed later on)

Stir fry the onions and garlic in olive oil in the big wok

When the onions are starting to get tender, add the broccoli

When the broccoli is starting to get tender, add the mushrooms

When everything is nicely cooked (but not too cooked - they're gonna get fried real soon), mix in the beans (drain them first), cornmeal, yeast, pine nuts, and about half of the breadcrumbs.

Put the whole shebang in the food processor and puree until quite smooth (you can probably do it in 2 food processor loads).
Tip: Put stuff in and let it chop for a good 1-2 minutes - it'll look like it isn't doing anything at first, but as it gets smoother, it'll start mixing itself.

Move the burger paste to a bowl.

Mix in salt generously (taste it as you mix it in - it goes from somewhat bland to savory and tasty with the addition of some salt)

Add black pepper to taste.

Mix in more bread crumbs until it is quite stiff and thick - it should easily retain its shape when put a glob of it on a surface.

Add more cornmeal if you want a grittier taste.

Get three or four flat skillets on the range, cover generously with canola oil - put on medium/high heat.

Start frying! Put down globs of burger paste on the pans, flatten them gently, wait until they're nice and dark brown, then flip and repeat. Make sure to keep a good puddle of oil in the skillets as the burgers soak it up.

I found that the burgers turned out much better when they were small - 5" or less in diameter. The large ones were less evenly cooked, and tended to fall apart (they were still tasty though).

I liked the burgers best when they were almost black on both sides, but not quite black - very darkly browned. The cornmeal is yummy when it almost burns.

Serve hot on buns w/ lettuce and tomato and other burger toppings!

Ideas for future experimentation:
(these ain't called crazy burgers for nothin'):
  • Add rice to the blend - could be good. Cooked brown rice could probably replace (or supplement) the mushrooms if necessary. Could also be served with rice.
  • Try other kinds of beans?
  • Try more mushrooms, less beans - that probably would make it more meaty
  • Add more veggies - green peppers, parseley, carrots, etc
  • Some corn starch or WW flour might help the burgers retain a burgery shape more easily
  • More pine nuts!

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