Spicy Southwest Black Bean Burgers

Pretty patty.

Commitment.

Yes, that is the theme of today’s post. Most of you will probably conjure up images of couples, married for 50+ years, holding hands, walking along a beach. Or someone climbing Mt. Everest. However, not for this blog. Today, I confess that there are few recipes that have required as much commitment to tweaking as today’s endeavor to make a delicious black bean burger.

As you well know, I. love. black. beans. (And, to be clear- I love you, my readers, more than black beans.) But, the quintessential black bean burger has eluded me. To me, black beans are the Mary Poppins bag-of-tricks for the culinary world. Craving brownies? Puree a can with water and add to brownie mix. Fresh Salsa? Chop up cilantro and garlic, add some crushed tomatoes and corn, and voila- deliciousness. But whipping out a burger that actually tastes like a burger (juicy, with full, rich flavors and a slightly smoky undercurrent laced through) from BB* has yet to happen for me.

However, today’s recipe is one step closer to our goal.

This, to me, is the closest I have come yet to a BB burger that has depth of flavor, and the addition of cumin gives it that smokiness I look for in a good meat burger. Plus, the Panko bread crumbs are a brilliant addition that help hold the burger together and give it a crispy exterior (other recipes I have seen look like someone took a mudpie, threw it on a skillet, and called it a day).

So enjoy the recipe, and post below to let me know how you create your perfect black bean burger.

I came across this recipe from the fabulous Ree Drummond (aka Pioneer Woman) and her Tasty Kitchen site; my modifications are in italics. Does making things in italics seem so much more dramatic to you? I feel like whenever I do this it automatically makes things intriguing. I think should  all should do this more often. 

You will need:

  • 1 can (16 Oz. Size) Black Beans (you know what brand to use)
  • ½ whole Onion, cut into wedges
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled and rough chopped (I used four because I have a slight addiction.)
  • 1 whole red pepper, stem and seeds removed, chopped
  • 1 whole egg
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt (Because the recipe calls you to rinse/drain the beans, I thought they needed some extra salt.)
  • 1 tablespoon Sriracha hot sauce (For us Southern girls, Texas Pete does the trick.)
  • ½ cups finely chopped cilantro
  • 1 cup Panko bread crumbs
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 4 whole burger buns or kaiser rolls (I used thinly sliced everything bagels here and it worked great.)

You will:

Drain the can of black beans. In a mixing bowl, mash the black beans with a fork or a potato masher. I forgot this step and had to do this with a pastry cutter after I added the onion/garlic/red pepper. Actually, it was really fun, and I felt like I was working out my biceps. 

My bicep workout for the day.

Use a food processor to chop the onion, garlic, and red pepper until very fine. Stir the mixture in with the beans. See note above.

In a separate mixing bowl, combine the egg, cumin, onion powder, chili powder, salt, Sriracha (or Texas Pete) and cilantro. Add this to the bean mixture and combine well.

If the mixture has a lot of liquid, strain with a cheesecloth or let it strain through a colander with very fine holes. When I make this again, I will strain my bean mixture. They were a bit watery, and that made it harder to form the concoction into patties. Once the excess liquid has drained off, return the bean mixture to the bowl and stir in half of the bread crumbs.

Use your hands to form four evenly sized patties. Coat the outside of the burger patties in the remaining bread crumbs. I just dunked each patty in bowl of Panko- this was also fun and satisfying. See, with black beans, the fun just never ends.

Heat the oil in a skillet on medium high heat. Cook burgers in the pan until heated through and slightly browned on both sides. To cook these more evenly, flatten them a bit with your spatula. You can also put them in the over for a few minutes if you like them more well-done.

Put the finished burger on top of a bun. Dress with all your favorite burger condiments and enjoy! In my case, this involved tomato, lettuce, guacamole and mayonnaise. For my hubby, who does not yet understand the joys of oil and egg whipped together into heaven, just guac.

At this point, I was so excited to bite into this I think I lost my sense of lighting. Apologies for that gnarly reflection at the bottom of the plate.

*If it is alright with you, and I am now going to abbreviate black beans with BB. This makes my writing sound much better because I can not find an alternative to this word.

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