Monday, March 21, 2011

Chickpea Burgers

Here is the first of what is sure to be many vegetarian burgers. I am on a quest to find a veggie version as good as the one at The North Star. THAT burger is by far my fave. This one has some similar spice elements, but a different texture. Alas, though it needs some tweaking, I think it's a keeper. I clipped it from the Winnipeg Free Press at some point in time, when, I haven't a clue.

[Edit: Jon found the recipe on the WFP website here. It was from Jan 6, 2010!]

The Process

This is a super easy recipe. I made the hummus-like mixture first in the food processor. When it came time to puree, things didn't seem to want to get going. It seemed dry. So, I added a little more olive oil. And a little more.And a little more. Things were starting to move, but I was worried about taste becoming a little much, so I added a little bit of water. I should mention here that I used dry chickpeas that I cooked myself, instead of canned. You get waaay more bang for your buck, but this may have contributed to the dryness. Anyhoo, this tasted amazing when blended, and, as the notes on the recipe suggested, this would make a great hummus if you stopped right here.

Next I folded in the remaining red pepper, parsley, and rice. I couldn't find brown basmati rice, so I used regular.

I formed 6 good sized patties. Now here where things get a little dicey. The recipe says you can bake the patties or, for crispiness, pan-fry them. I chose the latter. Now, the patties are soft, but I was hoping that once they crisped up they would hold together. The problem was, they didn't really crisp. They browned, but did not get crispy. So, on with the show. Served them on like-sized buns (you could also use a pita) with lettuce and a little curry mayo (you could add whatever).

The Verdict

Sooo yummy!!!!!!!!! Though likened at times to a vegetarian sloppy joe, these burgers are good. Tons of flavor. We were left wanting for a little texture (the absent crispiness). A pita may be a better idea, as thoughts of falafel wafted through my mind occasionally. I will definately make these again, but with some tweaking. I will try to make a more solid patty, but no need to play with the flavor!

The Final Verdict

Kimmie 4 sesame seed out of 5
Jonnie 3 sesame seeds out of 5

Friday, March 18, 2011

Sliders with Chipotle Mayonnaise

We're a little later with this week's burger, but we still made it happen.

Today I did sliders with chipotle mayonnaise from Bobby Flay. That's right, back to beef.

So the first thing you'll notice on Bobby's recipe is that there's not a lot of ingredients.  Perfect for folks on a budget.  We in fact had most of the ingredients in the house. Going into the recipe, the only thing I was really concerned about was the 80/20 ground chuck.  We had some frozen extra lean ground beef, which I don't imagine is anywhere near 20% fat.  But we'll see how that worked out.

The Process

Like I said above, there wasn't much to this one. For the patties, I used a pound of ground beef and a few healthy pinches each of salt and pepper.  I could have used 1.5 lbs of beef, but opted to go with just 1 lb.  I kind of wish I hadn't.  1 lb made 5 patties of 2.5 ounces and one of 1.5 (... hmm. as I write this, I'm realizing something's not right there.  Must have weighed out the wrong amount when freezing.  Oh well.)

Anyway, the first thing I did was put together the mayo.

We've had the chipotles in adobo sauce for awhile and have wanted to try it out.  It is crazy spicy.

Next, I weighed out the meat and formed patties:

After I got them together, I stuck them in the fridge and sliced up the cheese, pickles, and onion.  Then I got the meat back out and covered the patties in evoo.  I put the grill pan on medium-high heat and gently placed them down.  

You might notice the dimples in the patties. I did that because of this article I read the other day, also courtesy of Bobby Flay.

I cooked them 4 minutes per side and added the cheese with 2 minutes to go on the second side.

And here's the final result:

I didn't get a good shot of the scale here, but the sliders are on standard dinner roles we got from Sobey's.

The Verdict

Ok these things were amazing. I was really worried that the extra-lean beef would be dry.  But it was insanely juicy.  I had wanted to try making true all-beef burger (ie. no fillers) for some time and I now wish I'd done it earlier. 

The other crazy good part of these sliders was the mayo.  It is spicy, but so good.  Kim used it as a dip for her fries, but it was a bit spicy for me to use straight up like that.  

My only caution would be that the recipe makes way more mayo than what you'd use on the sliders.  We're going to share the leftovers with Kim's folks.

Final Verdict

5 sesame seeds out of 5

5 sesame seeds out of 5

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Moroccan Spiced Turkey Burger with Slaw

So, this week it was BurgerGirl's turn. I chose to do something a little lighter than last week's selection. This is a Rachel Ray recipe that I clipped from a magazine.

The Process

I really didn't change anything with this recipe. I made 3/4 of it simply because of the size of the packages of meat that I bought, so I just cut everything accordingly, making 6 patties instead of 8. I used a grill pan as opposed to a grill.

I made the slaw first, but it did not sit for more that half an hour. I'll have to see tomorrow how it is after sitting over night. I have to say, I enjoyed the crunch.

The Verdict

There's just no getting around it...turkey is dry. The great thing about this recipe is that the slaw provides much needed moisture and, as BurgerBoy commented, almost gives the illusion of a "juicy burger". The patties are fragrant and tasty, another thing difficult to achieve with turkey. As I mentioned before, the slaw has a nice crunch, sure to be softened with tomorrows leftovers, but we'll see. I used a "hot" mango chutney and the spiciness was a welcome addition. The pitas I bought were whole wheat and "thin" making them lower carb and higher in fiber. All in all, not a bad burger. Fantastic for a healthy meal (I served them with homemade oven baked fries) and sure to be a hit with anyone who loves a variety of spices.

Final Verdict

BurgerBoy 4 sesame seeds out of 5

BurgerGirl 3 sesame seeds out of 5

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

A Cracking Burger

For our inaugural burger of the week, I decided to tackle A Cracking Burger, from Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution.  It's a pretty simple, bare-bones hamburger with all the traditional fixings.  Jamie's recipe and pictures are here.

I have to confess that I have something of an obsession with Food Revolution.  It's by far my favorite cookbook; I'm pretty close to having made half of the recipes. I think it's my favorite because the recipes are all very approachable and the vast majority have been absolute home runs. It also doesn't compromise taste for health or vise versa... the two peacefully coexist which I think is pretty rare in cook books.

The Process

I followed Jamie's recipe almost exactly. Only differences were:

  • I did not crush crackers in a towel. I used my bare hands. Like a man.  (Ok, the truth is I really didn't want to dirty a tea towel for some crackers. But I prefer my macho cracker-crushing explanation.)
  • I didn't let the first two burgers sit in the fridge for longer than the 4 minutes it took to get the pan hot.
  • I asked Kim to shred some ice burg lettuce as we didn't have any butter lettuce or romaine.
  • Used white onion instead of red
  • Added a dab of (light) mayo on the bottom bun.
When cooking the burgers, I found that the patties held together pretty well, even without refrigerating them to keep the form.  I had a feeling though that if I were to try cooking these on the bbq instead of a grill pan, they would need the extra refrigeration.

Jamie recommends applying pressure to the patties as they're cooking to make sure there's as much contact to heat as possible.  I used the bottom of a spatula for this, but found when I pressed down on the raw side, the patty stuck to the bottom of the spatula.  Meh.

One really good tip from the recipe was to pre-heat the pan on a high setting, then turn it down to medium and throw on the burgers and cook for 3-4 minutes per side.  The timing there worked great (I've always in the past just kind of eye-balled it.)

Another slight modification to the recipe was that I melted the cheese right on the burger (Kim won't eat a cheese burger any other way.) ... the first batch I did, I used thick slices of cheese and foolishly waited for the burgers to finish cooking before throwing it on to melt.  I think it over cooked the meat a bit.  I used thinner slices of cheddar for the second batch and got it melting while the second side was cooking.  This resulted in perfectly melted cheese and an ultra juicy burger.

The last alteration to the cooking method was that I did them up in three batches instead of two.  Our stove top has old-school electric coils which don't distribute heat very evenly in our pans.  To make sure the burgers cooked evenly, I opted to only do two at a time and do three batches. It worked out fine, even though the pan got progressively messy as I went.

And here is the result (next time I'll get more pictures of the cooking process):

The Verdict

The recipe is super simple; there's really not a lot to it. The simplicity gives the burger a clean taste; the beef really comes through.  The parsley in there adds some bitterness (especially the stalks, and it was a bit bitter for my tastes) but the parsley does add some visual appeal.  You can pick up the mustard in there too, and it was nice, but all in all, there wasn't anything in here that blew my mind.

Final Verdict

Jon's score:
3 sesame seeds out of 5

Kim's score:
4 sesame seeds out of 5

Good, not great.  I would make this again, but won't rush to do so.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Burger of the Week

Welcome to Burger of the Week.  My name's Jon (aka BurgerBoy) and my wife is Kim (she'll be posting as BurgerGirl natch.) and we're from Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada.

Each week, we are going to try a new burger recipe and comment on the results. The idea for this started about a month ago when we realized we needed to cut our spending.  We cut our monthly restaurant budget to about $80 and committed to eat in more. In pouring over our recipes, we noticed we had a ton of burger recipes, and loving all kinds of burgers, thought we could probably try out one out a week without getting tired of them.

So, without further ado...