Sunday, April 23, 2006

Chili Burgers

As a pescatarian, I do miss meat. I especially miss hamburgers, salami, and bacon, not often, but when I see an In 'N Out, I get a little pouty. Going through the Moosewood Low-Fat Favorites Cookbook last night, I decided to give the chili burgers ago for the second time but substituting kidney beans with pinto.

If you're craving meat, it's texture, juices and fat, this is probably not the recipe for you. It's full of protein, flavor, and so tasty but it does not resemble or taste like meat in any way whatsoever. The recipe claims to be crispy on the outside and juicy on the inside. It does get crispy but not juicy! So those are the warnings.

This recipe caught my eye because I am constantly hungry and I'm always on the look out for good sources of low-fat protein. According to this recipe, "beans and oats together create a perfect protein." I don't know how or why but I was really full after eating this meal.

Serves 6
Total time: 45 minutes

-1 c chopped onions
-4 garlic cloves, minced
-2 tsp olive oil
-1/2 c peeled and grated carrots
-1 1/2 tsp chili powder
-1 tsp ground cumin
-3 c cooked pinto or kidney beans (two 15 oz. cans with salt, drained)
-2 tbsp Dijon mustard
-2 tbsp soy sauce
-2 tbsp ketchup or 1 tbsp tomato paste
-1 1/2 c rolled oats
-salt and ground pepper to taste

My suggestions
The first time I made this recipe, I used kidney beans because that's what I happened to have. I followed the recipe and drained them of the 'sludge.' I found that this did not suffice and the overall bean mixture was a bit on the soupy side. The burgers came out fine but because of the soupiness the burger size was on the smaller side. This time, I rinsed the beans with water and drained and the texture was much more firm and I could make bigger burgers. I like this recipe with the kidney beans but I enjoyed it better with pinto beans. Because of their mild flavor, I think they take to the spices better.

First, rinse and drain beans. Set aside. Saute onions and garlic in the oil for about 5 minutes until the onions begin to soften. Add the carrots, chili powder, and cumin and cook on low heat for 5 minutes. Set aside.

Mash the beans in a large bowl with a potato masher. Add the mustard, soy sauce, ketchup/tomato paste (I used ketchup), and sauteed onion mixture. Mix in the oats. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Moisten your hands and form the burger mixture into six 3 to 4-inch patties. Lightly spray or oil a non-stick skillet and cook the burgers on medium-low heat for 5 to 8 minutes on each side. To save time, use 2 skillets to cook burgers at once.

The first time, I used soft dinner rolls and made typical burgers with lettuce, tomatoes, etc. This time, I skipped the bread and served them on a bed of baby spinach leaves, sliced tomatoes, and salsa. They were mm mm good.

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