Last night, in a fit of chickpea-related frustration, I decided to go through and organize my freezer. Where I found a treasure trove of beans, including black ones, that I had cooked in weeks past, frozen for later use, and promptly forgotten. My first thought was that I really need to come up with a better system. But I quickly moved on, delighting in the fact that I could cook something other than chickpeas today. I immediately thought of this wonderful recipe, which I discovered last summer. It’s so good! So easy! It also freezes perfectly, which is a bonus for people like me, who cook in large batches in order to have quick homemade meals later. And, let’s face it. Because I like food better when I get to share it with my people. So I always make too much. On purpose.
If you’re pro-grain, which until this morning I believed myself to be, this recipe is also a nice way to sneak some oats into your diet. In researching for this post I came across another blog (http://nourishedkitchen.com/soaking-grains-nuts-legumes), which suggests grains actually are not all that great for everyone. I had no idea. Nutrition is so confusing! Sigh. I eat grains all the time. As far as I know they seem to agree with me just fine. But I’ll definitely think more on this topic. Later. For now, I’m going to make these burgers. For research. After I eat them, during which time I’ll undoubtedly say yum at least once, I’ll pay special attention to how they make me feel.
The original recipe, from Fine Cooking (http://www.finecooking.com/recipes/black-bean-pepper-jack-burgers.aspx), treats these as traditional burgers, with buns, and recommends serving with prepared salsa and avocado. The original recipe also calls for canned beans, which will certainly work.
My adapted version differs in that I start with dried beans (or beans that I cooked and froze), omit the chopped scallions, and serve with a fresh mango salsa. I also generally don’t use a bun. Instead, the burger takes center stage as part of a composed plate that often includes sauteed kale and a baked sweet potato. But it’s also great as a traditional burger, on a bun. I generally make 6 medium sized patties, but, if you like a large burger, go for 4. Also, because these freeze so well, consider doubling, particularly if you’re feeding more than just yourself. While you’ll spend a little more time on the front end, it’s a big time-saver long term.
1/2 cup rolled oats
2 c. cooked black beans (or 1 15.5 oz. can, rinsed and drained)
1 large egg
1 tsp. ground cumin
2 oz. finely grated pepper Jack cheese (1/2 cup)
2 T. chopped fresh cilantro
1 T. olive oil; more for the plate
2. With wet hands, form the bean mixture into four or six 1/2-inch-thick patties and transfer to a lightly oiled plate. Refrigerate for 10 to 15 minutes to let the burgers set up.
3. Heat a large heavy-duty skillet (preferably cast iron) on high heat until very hot; add the oil and swirl the pan to coat the bottom. Cook the burgers until browned, with a good crust, 2 to 3 minutes; then carefully flip and cook, flipping again if necessary, until the burgers feel firm when pressed with a fingertip, another 3 to 5 minutes.
1 large, ripe mango, diced
1/2 poblano chili, seeded and finely diced
1/4 small red onion, diced
2 tsp. fresh ginger, minced
4 T. fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
1 T. honey, or to taste
3 T. fresh lime juice
salt to taste
Combine all of the ingredients and stir gently. Refrigerate, covered, until serving. This tastes best if you make it ahead of time, ideally 2-3 hours, in order to give the flavors time to meld. The salsa is also nice on its own, with chips. Super fresh and delicious.