As I write this post, the children are enjoying a uncharacteristic afternoon nap while I sit with a large cup of coffee on the newly constructed although not-quite-finished window seat in my kitchen. Since I was a very young girl, I have always been in love with window seats. I think part of this stemmed from my love of reading and my thought that a window seat would provide the perfect location to curl up with a good book, particularly if the weather outside was stormy. At one point, I even attempted to construct my own window seat in my little room in Montana out of cardboard boxes and pillows from my bed. The experiment failed, but my love of window seats remained. Fast forward many years later when Paul and I were looking for a home to purchase, one of the items on my list was always whether the home contained a window seat. Paul made me label it a "nonessential" but I never gave up hope of having one someday.
Then Paul decided to build me one. He took out the bay door leading to the outside and replaced it with a large window and began constructing a trapezoidal-shaped seat complete with a lifting bench for hidden storage. It is functional at this point and is waiting on a couple more coats of stain as well as the trim pieces to be installed - the project reserved for this weekend - but that hasn't stopped me from enjoying it even now! There Paul goes again, making all my dreams come true!
As a reward for all his hard work as my carpenter over the past week, I made Paul some pretty fantastic burgers. Since you've already read the title, you are probably fully aware that the burgers I made did not contain any meat. If you are a regular reader, you also know that Paul, my mountain man, needs his beef. Given his choice, it would be meat and meat alone that would sustain him. So, it might seem a cruel trick to "reward" him with meatless, black-bean burgers for all his hard work and dedication. But rest assured, that these are no ordinary bean burgers! These are not wet, not too sloppy, they have a bit of texture reminiscent of actual used-to-say-"moo" burgers. I have always liked the idea of meatless burgers in theory, but every recipe I have tried before turned out to be a bit messy, a bit disappointing, and quite a bit bland. In other words, they left me craving the real thing and far from satisfied. This recipe, my friends, changes all that. This was a veggie burger that even meat-loving Paul found incredible.
The secret to the success of these bean burgers is drying out the beans before making your patty mixture to ensure that any extra moisture is removed. Bread crumbs, eggs, and ground cashews are also used in the patty mixture to create a textured, cohesive mixture that will stay together when formed and cooked. Seasoning in the form of sauteed onions, poblano peppers, cojita cheese, and chipotle chilies are also thrown in. The mixture formed beautiful patties that truly did stay together when cooked but also formed these wonderful charred bits on the edges that were wonderfully flavorful and truly reminiscent of a char-grilled hamburger. Stick the patties on a brioche bun with chipotle mayonnaise, fresh tomatoes, lettuce, and thinly sliced dill pickles and these made an incredible meal. The recipe makes a big batch, so we had theses two days in a row. On the second day, when Paul came home from work, the first thing he asked was if we were having "those awesome bean burgers" again. That is the single greatest compliment those burgers could have received!
Give these a try! They can be grilled outdoors or cooked on the stovetop in a cast-iron pan or another skillet. Either way, be prepared to be blown away.
The Best Black Bean Burgers with Chipotle Mayo
from Serious Eats
For the Burger Patties:
2 (15 ounce) cans black beans, rinsed and drained
4 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
1 medium onion, finely chopped (about 1 cup)
1 large poblano pepper, finely chopped (about 1 cup)
3 medium cloves garlic, minced
1 chipotle chili in adobo sauce, finely chopped, plus 1 teaspoon sauce
3/4 cup roasted cashews
1/2 cup finely crumbled feta or cotija cheese
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 whole egg
3/4 cup panko bread crumbs
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Sliced Monterey Jack Cheese
6-8 hearty hamburger buns (I LOVE brioche buns)
Chipotle Mayonnaise (recipe below)
Sliced dill pickles
Adjust oven rack to center position and preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spread black beans in a single layer on a foil-lined rimmed baking sheet. Place in oven and roast until beans are mostly split open and outer skins are beginning to get crunchy, about 20 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool slightly.
While beans roast, heat 2 tablespoons oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add onion and poblano and cook, stirring frequently, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add chipotle chili and sauce and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Transfer mixture to a large bowl.
Place cashews in the bowl of a food processor and pulse until chopped into pieces no larger than 1/3-inch, about 12 short pulses. Add to bowl with onions and peppers.
When beans are slightly cooled, transfer to food processor. Add cheese. Pulse until beans are roughly chopped (the largest pieces should be about 1/3 of a full bean in size). Transfer to bowl with onion/pepper mixture. Add mayonnaise, egg, and bread crumbs and season with salt and pepper. Fold together gently but thoroughly with hands. Patty mixture can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to three days at this stage.
To cook on the grill: Light 2/3 chimney full of charcoal. When all the charcoal is lit and covered with gray ash, pour out and arrange the coals on one side of the charcoal grate. Set cooking grate in place, cover grill and allow to preheat for 5 minutes. Alternatively, set half the burners on a gas grill to the medium-high setting, cover, and preheat for 10 minutes. Clean and oil the grilling grate. Form bean mixture into 6 to 8 patties as wide as your burger buns and brush top sides with oil. Place on hot side of grill oiled-side down and cook without moving until first side is well browned, 3 to 5 minutes. Brush tops of burgers with oil. Carefully flip and continue cooking until second side is browned, 3 to 5 minutes longer, topping with cheese if desired.
To cook indoors: Form bean mixture into 6 to 8 patties as wide as your burger buns. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large non-stick or cast iron skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Add 4 patties and cook, swirling pan occasionally, until well browned and crisp on first side, about 5 minutes. Carefully flip and cook until second side is browned, about 5 minutes longer, adding cheese if desired. If cooking more than 4 burgers, cook in batches, keeping cooked burgers on a rack set in a rimmed baking sheet in a 200°F oven while second batch cooks.
Spread top and bottom buns with chipotle mayonnaise or other condiments as desired. Add toppings to top or bottom bun as desired. Place patties on bottom buns, close burgers, and serve immediately.
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup sour cream
2 chipotle chiles from 1 can of chipotles in adobo
2 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice
Generous pinch of sugar
Place mayonnaise, sour cream, lime juice, and chipotles in jar of a blender. Puree until smooth and chipotles are completely chopped. Pour into an airtight container, cover, and store in the refrigerator until ready to use.