Wednesday, March 3, 2010

A long time coming - and a recipe!

It's been a while since I've written. Being a grad student is great because it means that (in my case) I'm being paid to do something I love and live in a wonderful little town. It also means that I go through weeks upon weeks where I feel like it's all I can do to keep my head above the water. Actually, this semester hasn't been too bad, but all my classes are night classes which significantly cuts down on the amount of time I spend experimenting in the kitchen. However, last night one of those classes was cancelled (hooray for small favors!) and I had a friend over for dinner. I wanted to make something I could store in my freezer and that used ingredients I already had on hand.

I decided on bean burgers because they'll make an easy meal later and are something I can easily take to campus with me if I need to. And because I haven't made my own bean burgers in a while and it's something I actually really enjoy doing. I'm strange, I know! Anyway, these use canned chili beans and the bit of nutritional yeast (in theory) makes them taste a bit cheesier than they might otherwise.

You can adjust the seasonings to make them as spicy (or not spicy) as you'd like but my very spice sensitive friend seemed to have no problem with these. On my own, I'd probably serve them with a chipotle sauce and/or a whole grain mustard. I served these with root vegetable fries (radishes, turnips, carrots, onions and garlic--these last two are not a roots technically, yes I know). They would also go well with sweet potato or green bean fries. In addition, because I had one that needed to be used up, I sliced an orange bell pepper and grilled it in the pan with the burger.

Chili Bean Veggie Burger
Yields 5 patties

1 cup finely chopped onion
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons olive oil
3/4 cup grated or diced carrot
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon cayenne
1/2 teaspoon chipotle powder
1/4 teaspoon oregano
1 tablespoon extra dark cocoa powder
1 15-ounce can chili beans (extra spicy), with liquid
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard (I used a whole grain dijon)
1 1/2 cups rolled oats
1/4 cup oat or wheat bran
2 tablespoons nutritional yeast flakes, optional

Saute onions and garlic in oil, over medium heat, about 5 minutes until onions begin to soften. Add carrots and saute another 5 minutes. Add cumin, cayenne, chipotle, and oregano and saute 2 minutes. Add cocoa and remove from heat.

Process beans in a food processor, or mash with a potato masher, until coarsely ground. Transfer to a large bowl and mix in mustard and sauted vegetables. Add oats, bran, and nutritional yeast (if using). Season with salt to taste.

Moisten hands and form into approximately 5 patties. Cook patties in lightly greased nonstick skillet about 5-8 minutes over medium-low heat, until patties begin to brown. Flip and cook another 5-8 minutes. Serve on a bun or tortilla!