A Not-Quite-Mistake

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We’ve been on a veg cooking kick for a little while now (though Al is currently smoking a pork loin!), and a lot of our recipes have come from Bittman’s How To Cook Everything Vegetarian. Last night I made the black bean-spinach burgers and experienced my first culinary misfire in quite some time (not that I’m incredibly skilled – I’m just lazy and generally don’t aim beyond my comfort level). It wasn’t a disaster, but the end result was definitely not what it was supposed to be. I’m still trying to sort out what happened – did I do something wrong, or is there a kink in the recipe? Here it is:

1 can of beans (black, red, whatever), drained

1/2 C oats (preferably not instant)

1 med onion, quartered

1 tsp chili powder, or a spice mixture to taste

1 egg

8oz spinach, cooked and chopped

Salt/pepper

You mix all the ingredients, then use the pulse setting on the food processor to turn the mixture into a chunky yet blended goop. You’re not supposed to end up with a puree, although that’s basically what I got. I tried to keep an eye on the consistency and stir things to encourage equal blending, but in order to mince up the onion quarters (I did not want giant raw onion chunks in my burgers) I had to overprocess things somewhat. The end product was quite liquidy and (even with time spent in the fridge) hard to shape. I managed to get them to fry in one piece, but they weren’t veggie burgers. They were pancakes. Tasty, mind you, but still not what they were meant to be.

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4 Responses to “A Not-Quite-Mistake”

  1. tehresa Says:

    maybe if you tried processing the onions first before adding the other ingredients, you could end up with a coarser blend that might resemble veggie burger consistency a bit more? i also wonder if only pureeing half the beans, and then just stirring the remaining half into the mix might help?

  2. remy Says:

    agreed, tza.

    other ideas might include adding two egg yolks instead of one yolk and one white? both are 90% water, but the protein chains in the yolk would be vastly more helpful in binding together the yolk than whatever it is that the white has to offer.

    the fiber in the beans would be a big part of the roughage, so as long as you don’t overprocess them and grind to dust the oatmeal, you’ll surely be fine.

    to salvage sloppy burgers next time, you might also add a little bit of semolina or cornmeal

  3. boxofbirds Says:

    yep, sounds like it just got over-processed. I could see that the onions, especially, would get quite wet when you over-process them. Like Tehresa said I would process them first, and maybe even put them in a towel and press out a bit of the water.

  4. LP Says:

    Thanks, guys. Good suggestions all around. Next time around, I’m just going to chop the onions and add them to the mixture after it’s ready to go instead of fooling around with them. Eliminating the egg white is a great idea, too, and just for a more interesting texture I’ll leave some of the beans whole.

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