I shamelessly stole the idea of putting mushrooms into a veggie burger from Chef John's video "The Least Terrible Veggie Burger Ever". But of course I made some changes. A lot of changes, actually. First and foremost, I added some protein in the form of kidney beans and took out the cheese. (Russ and I are lactose intolerant.) The mashed beans help to act as a binder - even more than the cheese would have as parmesan doesn't melt much. The resulting burger was tender and toothsome. Your bite sinks into the patty and then meets resistance when you hit the mushrooms. The flavor is big and meaty with a touch of smoky from the ancho. (If you don't have ancho powder in your kitchen, smoked paprika or chipotle would substitute well.) Overall, these were a real winner.
- 1 lb mushrooms roughly chopped into chunks
- 1 can dark red kidney beans
- 1 leek (or half a small onion), diced
- 4 cloves of garlic, smashed and roughly chopped
- 3/4 cup breadcrumbs
- 2/3 cup rolled oats
- a couple of pinches of green herb (I used chervil and parsley, but basil, oregano or marjoram would work too)
- 1 tsp smoked ancho pepper (or other smoky pepper)
- 1 heaping spoonful of nutritional yeast*
- black pepper
- olive oil
Divide the chopped mushrooms into 3 batches. Begin browning in a little bit of olive oil. When one side is good and browned, stir them up and shove them to the sides of the pan to make room for the next batch. (If using onion, add it in the first or second batch of mushrooms.) A little sprinkle of salt helps them to lose their moisture faster. When the last batch of mushrooms goes in, add the leek and garlic. When all the mushrooms are added and have given up their water (but are not necessarily caramelized on both sides) and the leeks are browned, turn off the skillet. Meanwhile, drain and rinse the kidney beans. In a mixing bowl, mash the beans with a potato masher or a sturdy spoon. Add the mushrooms-aromatic mix, oats, bread crumbs, spices and nutritional yeast. Beat eggs in a bowl and pour on top. Using your hands, mix everything together in into a big, sticky mess. When thoroughly combined, let sit for 15 minutes for the grains to hydrate. (You can do this overnight and let it rest in the fridge, too.) Oil your hand and make patties. Add just enough oil to lightly coat the pan and brown on both sides. Turn to the temperature down to low and cook with the lid on the pan for another 10 minutes (maybe unnecessary, but it had egg in it and I wanted to be very sure it was done). Serve on toasted English muffins or burger buns.
Serves 4-6, depending on the size of the patties
*Why nutritional yeast? When mixed with salt, nutritional yeast does a pretty good job of replacing the tang of cheese in a dish. If you are unfamiliar with the stuff, you can get it in the bulk section of fancy grocery stores like Central Market and Whole Foods. You can probably also buy it at health food stores. It looks a bit like big yellow fish flakes (which isn't a sales pitch - I know). It tastes awesome on popcorn. It packs a vitamin punch and is low in fat. It's good stuff.