Monday, November 8, 2010

Jamaican me hungry! For burgers!

This post has been a long time coming. I made these Jamaican bean and rice burgers with a friend last month and they turned out deliciously wonderful. I took photos and recorded the whole process...and it took me a month to post it all up here. But hey, better late than never. And re-hashing the recipe has made me jones for these tasty, and vegan, burgers again.

The recipe was found by my friend who has been on the look-out for alternative and healthy recipes to try. And if you want to try new food, cooking and eating, I'm your gal!

There seems to be a lot of ingredients at first but they're simple enough and there's not much fuss to assembling the patties. And warning: the amounts called for in this recipe makes a lot of burgers...more than the 6 noted (unless you make jumbo ones).

You'll need:
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 1/4 cups chopped onion
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 hot pepper (the original recipe recommends habanero pepper!), chopped
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger root
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 2 1/4 cups cooked black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 1/4 cups cooked long-grain white rice (this can be left-over or made just before)
  • 2 1/2 cups dry bread crumbs
  • 6 hamburger buns, split
We followed most of the recipe to the letter except for one thing. My friend's father happens to have a connection to a local gardener who just harvested a pile of various hot peppers. And he's a hot pepper freak so we used a whole bunch (more than the one which the recipe recommends) and it made the burger a little spicy but mostly tasty and flavourful.

What you do with all the ingredients is add them to a frying pan in layers according to how long they take to cook through. First, saute the onions and garlic. Then add the peppers and you can add the seasonings too just to they don't taste so raw (this is called 'blooming').

Then you transfer all the ingredients to a big bowl and add everything else; toss together and then mix with your hands once the mixture is cool enough to handle. Smooshing the beans and everything else together with your fingers is not only a satisfying feeling, but it serves as a great way to bind everything together. The mixture can be a bit loose so be can add a bit of water or an egg if you feel it's too loose.

You can form patties now and return each to the frying pan (or BBQ) to fry for a few minutes on each side. Then put the finished patties on your buns and top with whatever burger toppings you'd like!

This recipe surprised me because I expected the rice and breadcrumbs to make the burgers mealy or grainy. Instead, the burgers are soft and were very tasty. And filling!! The Jamaican flavourings were not overwhelming and I'd be tempted to increase the amounts of all the flavourings next time I prepare this dish.

We ate our big burgers with sweet potato fries and asparagus.

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