Thursday, January 20, 2011

Chickpea burgers

From this week: bell pepper, carrots, oat flour, cheddar cheese, avocado, eggs, light wheat hamburger buns

From weeks past: chickpeas

Staples: onion, garlic, worcestershire sauce, soy sauce, cayenne, salt, ketchup

A passion for veggie burgers was one of my greatest vegetarian-era discoveries. I've never really liked hamburgers. At fast food restaurants, it was always chicken nugs or a chicken sandwich (I'm certain they serve Roy Rogers' gold rush chicken sandwiches in heaven). Maybe I've never had a really good hamburger, but I always think the burgers themselves are pretty flavorless, and the texture of the meat doesn't really do anything me.

Veggie burgers, on the other hand, are tender and spice-packed patties of deliciousness. Combining one with burger accoutrement only enhances the burger-eating experience for me. (It is for this reason that I'm more than slightly obsessed with Red Robin; they let you sub a Boca burger on any of their bajillions of burger combos. Awesome.)

I'd never made veggie burgers before this, and I pretty much did it blind. Not really thinking, I let the food processor rip until I'd pureed them into a veritable mush. Not appetizing. When I formed the sticky, gooshy patties, I was sure I was bound for disaster. But then I let them sit in the fridge for a while, and the oat flour (yeah, oat flour!) seemed to work its magic. They were already firmer and smoother when I took them out of the fridge, and, when cooked, they were totally veggie burger-like.

I didn't go all out with the burger I ate last night; just cheese and ketchup. At lunch today, I topped one with avocado -- a great addition. Because of the sort of Mediterranean feel of the chickpeas, I think these would be great topped with tzatziki, maybe in a pita pocket. Hey, I've got 4 of these puppies left in the freezer, and they're super easy to make (and freeze and reheat). The possibilities are endless.

Chickpea burgers
Makes 6 patties

2 cups canned chickpeas, drained and rinsed
3 tbsp vegetable oil
1/2 carrot, peeled and finely chopped
1/2 red onion, finely chopped
1/2 green bell pepper, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 egg
1 tbsp worcestershire sauce
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp kosher salt
3/4 cup oat flour

Heat 1 tbsp of oil in a skillet over medium high heat. Add carrot, onion, and pepper, and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft. Add garlic and cook, stirring, for 1-2 minutes. Set aside and let cool. Process cooled veggie mixture, 1.5 cups chickpeas, egg, worcestershire sauce, soy sauce, cayenne, and salt in food processor until smooth. Remove mixture to a bowl. Pulse remaining chickpeas in the processor just until coarsely chopped. Stir the chopped chickpeas and oat flour into the pureed mixture. Form 3 inch patties (they will be sticky), place on silpat- or wax paper-covered baking sheet, and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes and up to overnight. When ready to cook, heat remaining oil in a skillet over medium heat. When oil is shimmering, place patties in the skillet and cook until bottom side is brown, about 5 minutes. Flip and cook until other side is brown, about 3 minutes. Patties can be frozen and reheated in the microwave.

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