Monday, 10 January 2011

Bean & Barley Burgers

These are still something of a work in progress, as a recipe. Mr. Ferdzy thought they were a bit bland, and I have to agree. Still, that's not really the problem. Seasoning is a personal thing and I expect people to adjust them to their own tastes.

The real problem is that the texture is a bit soft, and they tend to moosh out the sides of the bun. I need something to firm these up. Suggestions, please? I'm trying to avoid egg to keep them vegan, but egg would do it, I'm sure. Maybe some ground flaxseed, which might also help with that too-soft mouthfeel. But if anyone has other ideas, I'd love to hear them. Those patties in the picture are half-size; the full recipe would make 16 of them.

These are somewhat slow to make, what with all the drawn-out stages, but that has some advantages. They can be made in advance, and cooked up as needed. I'm pretty sure the formed but uncooked patties would freeze well.

8 regular sized burgers
30 minutes prep time not including cooking beans or barley

Bean and Barley Burgers
1 cup cooked barley (1/4 cup dry barley)
1 1/2 cups well drained cooked black or kidney beans
1/2 cup dried tomatoes
1/2 cup boiling water

1 cup grated carrot (1 medium)
1/2 cup chopped onion (1/2 medium)
1 cup shiitake mushrooms
1 tablespoon mild vegetable oil
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon celery seed
1 teaspoon rubbed thyme
oil to fry
(added equivalent to 1/2 cup flour to second half of the batter, which helped but not enough)
flour to fry
Advance Prep:
You could use tinned beans, or beans you have cooked yourself from dry, but in either case drain them well. If you use tinned beans, do not add the salt until you have tasted the mixture to make sure you don't add too much.

Cook the barley. I do it in the rice cooker, at three parts water to one part barley. My rice cooker won't cook 1/4 cup raw barley, so I cooked more and have extra to put into something else. (Or to try these again.)

When you are ready to proceed, soak the dried tomatoes in the boiling water for 10 to 15 minutes.

Make the Burgers:
Peel and grate the carrot. Peel and chop the onion. Clean and slice the mushrooms. Sauté these together in the oil until softened and lightly browned in spots.

Put the sautéed veggies into a food processor with the drained beans, drained barley and drained tomatoes. Add the seasonings and flour. Blend well, leaving some texture, but until everything is well amalgamated.

Form the mixture into patties, 8 to 16 depending on what size you would like. Roll each patty in flour and set aside. Cover the bottom of a heavy skillet with a layer of oil. Heat the oil over medium-high heat, and cook the patties for about 3 minutes on each side, until they have a browned and slightly crisp finish to them.


Jennifer and Jaclyn @ sketch-free vegan said...

wow those look like substantial burgers. Can barley be substituted?

Ferdzy said...

What would you like to substitute it with? I would think brown rice would work fairly well.

I'd like to try quinoa, but I think it would lack the "sticky" quality I was looking for in the barley. However, they already are too soft to be ideal. It's worth trying some other grains and seeing how they do. If you do try them, with or without the barley, I'd love to hear how they turned out for you.

I intend to try these again probably next week and see if I can't get them a bit firmer. Like I said, I'm looking for suggestions. Flaxmeal is one thing I intend to try.

M@ said...

The problem of the burgers needing more substance and squishing out of the other end when you bite them is exactly what I started to worry about when I read your recipe. I think there are two ways to deal with this:

- Keep a more crumbly, granular structure within the burgers.

- Add strength to the "paste" that the burgers are made with.

For the first solution, you could reserve some beans and barley (maybe mashing them slightly with a fork) and add them in after the rest of the ingredients have been worked in the food processor. In fact, maybe you wouldn't need the food processor at all. The strings of grated carrot and the starch from the beans might be enough to hold things together, while the barley grains and larger pieces of beans provide the grainy texture that allow you to bite through without squishing.

Oh, you could also do this by adding, say, lentils or TVP to the mixture you're already working with.

The second option would require you to solidify the mixture so that it has its own inherent strength. Right now I imagine its internal structure to be something like mashed potato. If you added some kind of binding starch (corn or arrowroot for example) it might provide the strength you need, although the patties themselves might have a weird or at least unexpected mouthfeel. Or you could add gelatin (or a vegan equivalent, like agar-agar). You'd definitely have to experiment to see which results would provide the most attractive finish.

My inclination would be to try the first suggestion, and just not break the vegetables down as much. I expect that the ideal might lay in between -- having more solid, crumbly bits, but also adding cornstarch or another binder to the processed paste to help it adhere better.

Btw, I did notice that you mentioned you added flour to the mixture as well, but I would immediately go to another thickener -- I suspect if you added enough flour to strengthen the mix, it would make these into floury biscuits, not burgers.

Tillsonburgarian said...

How about roll or coat the burgers in a mix of dried potato flakes, Panko and some starch. They all would absorb the moisture and create sort of skin for your burgers. I’ll give it a go tomorrow since I have about 4 cups of cooked barley on hand and let you know.

Mr. H. said...

I think we might be trying these this week, thanks for the great recipe idea.:)