April 20, 2012

Foodie Escapade: Deb's Last-Chance Bean Burgers

 This is not a recipe, nor is it a cooking formula. Let's call it a cooking story with a "cooking frame" included.

I have been a pretty regular fan and purchaser of the 16 bean mixture (sold dried) that I find at Kroger and other large grocery chains. I never use the "flavor packet" included---what is a flavor packet other than a chemicalized concoction created by flavor chemists who are anonymous and unknowable?--but I think the beans are a good deal.

I have had success soaking the beans overnight in my large stockpot. I have had success putting them in to soak early in the morning and cooking them for dinner that evening. I have had success storing the beans for a week in the refrigerator and using them in the following ways:

1) Tossed on top of brown rice, served with a spicy salsa,

2)  Folded into a dinner omelet,

3)  Eaten plain (in this case plain means cooked for an hour and a half in water, minced fresh garlic, minced fresh onion, and hot chili peppers), or as a side dish to a potato pancake.

By the time I decided to create the "last chance burgers", I was fresh out of ideas for remaking these yummy beans into something new. I considered pushing the remaining beans back into the cold zone of the fridge, but I knew they would freeze and lose any future life they may have had. As I remembered how nutritious beans are, I know I could make a burger.

This is not a recipe, but I'll call it a cooking frame because I believe you can achieve similar results if you have some basic cooking skills and follow the general outline I am providing. Here goes!

Approx. 1 1/2 to 2 cups of fully cooked beans
I medium size egg
1/2 to 1/3 cup of yellow corn meal
1/2 cup of bread crumbs or croutons

2 tablespoons of cooking oil, in a preheated  (medium to medium-high heat level) skillet on the stovetop

I placed all of my beans in a mixing bowl, added the raw egg and leftover Irish soda bread ( homemade--here's the recipe) broken into bread crumbs. I tossed in the corn meal to give the burgers a little crunch and color. Using my potato masher, I mixed everything together while my cast iron skillet preheated on the stovetop. I used soybean oil, because it carries no flavor. I placed the bean mixture in the fridge for about 10 minutes to help it bind.

After removing the bean mixture from the fridge, I used a soup spoon to drop dollops of bean mizture into the sizzling skillet. Since the beans are already cooked, I was mainly interested in making sure my egg was fully bound into the burger and completely cooked. I flipped the burgers once.

Success! The burgers were crunchy, perfectly done after cooking for about 3 minutes on each side, and they maintained all of that yummy garlic-onion - pepper flavor. I served all four of the medium sized burgers as a sidedish, but I think they would be a big hit as a sandwich as well.

Never again will beans fall into the "what more can I do when these" category. Good food is definitely a good gift from a good God!

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