Tuesday, May 29, 2012

The $12 Polenta-Crusted Sweet Potato & Bean Burger

Recently, my friend asked me for suggestions on how to prepare Rio Zape beans.  Well, here's my first suggestion:  a nutritionally dense and flavorfully awesome combination of sweet potatoes, quinoa, veggies, and beans. It doesn't really showcase their extraordinary smoky & meaty qualities, but that same smokiness and meatiness makes for a very fine burger.  We had it for dinner tonight, served on a pretzel roll with a lavish helping of this bbq sauce, red onions, and a little sliced avocado and dang!   "I would pay for this burger," I said to R, and he said, "Twelve dollars.  That's how much I'd pay."

The original recipe came from a cookbook of an old roommate  - for the life of me, I can't remember the name of it - and I've tweaked it somewhat over the years.  I like to make up a batch and freeze them for those nights when cooking dinner for myself just seems like the worst.  It's a great replacement for those highly processed yet convenient TVP-based products you can find in the frozen food section, and the taste!  Oh man.  It's a lot of chopping & grating, but it's worth it, if you've got the time.

($12 Polenta-Crusted Sweet Potato & Bean Burger recipe below.)
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 1/2 tbsp olive oil
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 carrot, peeled & finely grated
2 cups cooked beans of your choice 
1/2 oz mushrooms, chopped
2 tbsp tomato paste
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp fresh ground pepper
1/2 cup mashed sweet potato
1 cup quinoa, pre-cooked!!!
1 tbsp caraway seeds
3 tbsp chopped cilantro
1 tbsp hot sauce
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 cups dried bread crumbs
1/2 cup vital wheat gluten (approximately)
1 cup coarsely ground polenta

Heat oven to 375 degrees.

1) In a large skillet, cook the onion in the olive oil over medium heat until soft & browned - about 7-10 minutes.  Add the garlic, carrot, beans & mushrooms & cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring occasionally until the garlic is soft & fragrant.

2) Remove from the heat.  Mash until the beans are half crushed.  Stir in tomato paste & season with salt & pepper.

3) Place the bean mixture in a large bowl.  Add the sweet potato, quinoa, caraway seeds & cilantro.  Mix thoroughly.  Season with hot sauce, vinegar & salt & pepper to taste.  Add enough bread crumbs to make a firm mixture, and then knead the vital wheat gluten in until you start to see the gluten start to activate.  Allow to cool.

4)  Form into 8-12 burgers.  Spread out the polenta on a clean plate.

5)  One at a time, dredge the burgers in the polenta, using your hands to carefully coat both sides.  Finish all the burgers & set aside.  Use extra polenta, if necessary, to coat them all.

6)  Place burgers on a pan and then bake in preheated oven, about 10 minutes on each side.

You can eat them now, or put them in the freezer and grill them later.  The pre-baking gives it a nice firm texture, and grilling gives the polenta a nice crispiness.   Douse it in barbecue sauce, and seriously, dudes, you will not be sorry. 

No comments:

Post a Comment


About Me

My photo
I'm working on some stuff! For now, it is just about vegetables.