It would appear that recently this blog has unintentionally taken a rather vegetarian slant. The reason for this is that I’ve had to start cooking with whatever is to hand, rather than planning meals properly, due to the fact I now live ‘at home’ and work fairly unpredictable hours. However, fear not my carnivorous friends, meat is on the way – I have a number of top notch recipes for you flesh lovers tucked away just under the hem of my sleeve. In actual fact, there would have been such a recipe yesterday if someone, and I’m not naming names, had remembered to defrost the damn chicken.
The black bean, or the black turtle bean, is a pulse that is rather widespread in Latin American cuisine. It is a very dense and meaty pulse making it one of the more effective, and therefore popular, meat substitutes. A number of people remarked, following my recipe for Mushroom and Chickpea Burgers, that they had never really had veggie burgers made out of anything but black beans. However, I think making vegetarian burgers out of more than one type of pulse is always a great idea, since it gives them an improved texture and a slightly more complex taste. In this case the kidney beans, aside from being ridiculously cheap, give a little bite to the burgers when compared with the rather more tender black beans.
On the flavour side of things I opted to honour the heritage of the black bean and go with a slightly Latin feel. This worked rather well, giving the burgers a delicious heat and warmth, making them perfect for these long autumn/winter months. Something should also be said for the health benefits of the humble black bean, as they are packed full of antioxidants which, to cut a rather long and strenuous A-level chemistry story short, helps you stay looking and feeling younger for longer.
Black Bean and Kidney Bean Burgers
• 400g tin of black beans, drained and rinsed
• 400g tin of kidney beans, drained and rinsed
• 1 tsp cayenne pepper, if you like heat a little more may be added
• 1 tsp ground cumin
• 2 tsp dried oregano
• A couple of handfuls of fine bread crumbs made using a food processor, roughly 80-100g
1. Mash the beans in a large bowl with a fork until most of the beans have been broken down. It is nice to leave a few whole or semi-whole beans for the sake of texture. Mix in the cayenne pepper, cumin, oregano, breadcrumbs and plenty of salt and pepper.
2. Form this mixture into burgers, if the consistency of the mixture isn’t quite right more breadcrumbs will dry it out and adding a little mayonnaise will have the opposite effect. Once one has made four burgers fry them off two by two in a frying pan with a little olive oil until browned and cooked through.
3. To make the wedges simply cut a potato into fairly thin wedges, cover these with olive oil, salt and cayenne pepper and cook at around 210C for 25 minutes.
Cost: The burgers themselves should cost no more than about 80p for all four – the kidney beans were an incredible 16p! These truly are a brilliant and inexpensive substitute for the ever so popular beef burger.