A few years ago, I attempted making my own veggie burgers with a combination of lentils and rice, augmented by various herbs and spices, and in spite of multiple attempts with different ingredients, I only ever managed to end up with a bland sludge that fell apart in the frying pan. Lately, however, I’ve been hearing lots of good things about Jack Monroe’s signature dish Carrot, Cumin, and Kidney Bean Burgers, so I decided to give them a go.
I suspected that for myself, however, I’d want something with a bit more of a kick, so I added a couple of home grown ingredients: a couple of small red chillis from my garden, and three smallish tomatoes from mother-in-law’s garden. I also used fresh basil instead of coriander, simply because I had that growing on my balcony (I’ve never had much success with growing my own coriander). On the shop-bought front, I also added some garlic (I can never have enough garlic) and substituted corn flour for wheat flour to make them gluten free (just in case I ever want to share them with my gluten intolerant friends).
JACK’S CCK BURGERS (WITH TOMATO AND CHILLI)
This recipe makes four patties
- 2 small red chillis, finely chopped
- 3 smallish tomatoes, finely chopped
- A handful of fresh basil, roughly chopped
- 1 carrot, finely grated
- 1 brown onion, finely chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, crushed or finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- Approx 2 tablespoons cornflour
- a pinch or two of rock salt
- A tablespoon or two of canola oil
- black pepper
- 400g tin kidney beans (and don’t get me started on how ridiculous it is that we have no Australian source of tinned kidney beans).
Rinse kidney beans, and simmer for 5-10 minutes to soften. Meanwhile, sweat the onion and carrot on a low heat, until the onion starts to soften. At that point, add the garlic, cumin, and chilli, and stir through for a minute. Add the tomato and basil, ground black pepper, and salt (the liquid in the tomato will help dissolve the salt). Note: the mixture looks really pretty at this point.
Keep the onion/carrot/tomato mixture on a low heat, and drain/mash up the kidney beans. For myself, I prefer to do this with my food mill, allowing the mashed beans to fall into a bowl, but Jack’s strategy of mashing it in the pot with a potato masher works just as well (even if it’s a bit harder on your arms). Then, add in the contents of the frying pan, and mix well. Add cornflour slowly, until the texture is still moist, but not too sticky. Cover your hands in cornflour, fashion the mixture into four evenly sized balls, which you can then flatten into nice round patties. Fry for a few minutes on each side, until golden-brown and crispy.
I liked these an awful lot — so much that I ate all four patties in one go, even though I had planned to freeze two of them. The chilli and tomato really gave them an extra kick, though people who like their food a bit less rich and/or spicy would probably prefer to stick with Jack’s version. What really interested me was the texture of the patties — the fried outside was crispy of course, but inside, it was almost like pate. This has got me thinking about how I might go about making a vegetarian pate, one of these days…