Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Black Bean Burgers and Spicy Sweet Potato Sticks

I had a hard time photographing this meal to look appetizing, and for that I am truly sorry. Because these burgers are SO. SO. GOOD. If you've never tried black bean burgers, this is the recipe to start with. I've tried others that are kind of blah or too mushy. But these! They're super flavorful, and actually hold together really well. You won't miss the beef at all, I swear! John is completely on-board with these too.

The Spicy Sweet Potato Sticks look a lot like french fries, but they have their own unique flavor, and aren't nearly as crunchy as they look. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE a crispy fry, but these are so delightful that I loved them even though they are a little soft. Kind of reminds me of mashed potatoes, disguised as fries.

Both the burgers and potatoes recipes came from the incomparable Budget Bytes.
The Ingredients:
  • For Potato Sticks:
    • Two sweet potatoes
    • Tony Chachere's More Spice Seasoning
    • Olive Oil
  • For Black Bean Burgers:
    • 4 cups of black beans
    • 1/4 of a red onion, coarsely chopped
    • 1 clove of garlic, coarsely chopped
    • handful of cilantro
    • 1 Tbsp of sriracha
    • 1 Tbsp of mayonnaise
    • 1 tsp of worcestershire sauce
    • 1 tsp of cumin
    • salt
    • black pepper
    • 1 egg
    • 1 cup bread crumbs
    • hamburger buns
    • whatever toppings you like
The Steps:

Potato Sticks:
    1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
    2. Peel the sweet potatoes, wash with water, and then chop into sticks the size of french fries. (Be very careful - raw sweet potatoes are really tough to cut!)
    3. Put fries in a bowl with 2 Tbsp of olive oil and some sprinkles of seasoning, to taste.
    4. Spread potatoes onto a foil-lined baking sheet in a single layer. 
    5. Put in oven and set timer for 30-35 minutes. 
  1. Rinse about 4 cups of black beans in a colander.
  2. Put beans, 1/4 of a red onion, 1 clove of garlic, a handful of cilantro, a tablespoon of sriracha, a tablespoon of mayo, a teaspoon of worcestershire, a teaspoon of cumin, and a few cranks of black pepper in a food processor. Process until mostly smooth. (It's ok if there are still some chunks.)
  3. Move the mixture to a bowl and add some salt (about a teaspoon should do it).
  4. Whisk an egg in a separate bowl, and then stir into the bean mixture. 
  5. Stir in one cup of breadcrumbs.
  6. Form the mixture into burger patties. This will make about six average-sized burgers.
  7. Heat a skillet over medium-high heat, and coat with cooking spray. Cook each burger for 5-7 minutes on each side. When they're slightly crisp on the outside and a little firm to the touch, they're done. 
  8. Add to a bun along with any toppings you like on burgers.
The Photos:
The timing worked out really well for this meal - I started with the potatoes, and they were done just as the burgers were finished cooking. 

Pre-heat the oven to 450 degrees, then peel the sweet potatoes.

Then, cut them into french fry-sized pieces. The smaller they are, the quicker they'll cook. Caution: be VERY careful when cutting the potatoes! Raw sweet potatoes are pretty tough to get a knife through! Try to buy smaller ones, to make it a little easier on you.

Add about 2 Tbsp of olive oil, sprinkle some spices, and stir well. I used our beloved Tony Chachere's More Spice seasoning.

Spread the potatoes out into a single layer on a foil-lined baking sheet, then pop in oven for about 25 minute. 

Now, it's time to get started on those burgers!

Rinse four cups of black beans in a colander, and then put in food processor.

Add about 1/4 of a red onion. (If you are afraid of biting into a raw onion, you might want to chop them a little in advance, because the processor may not chop it up too thoroughly with all this stuff. I love onion, so I didn't mind this.)

Add a garlic clove.

Add a handful of cilantro (make sure to wash it - cilantro can be kind of gritty).

Add about a Tbsp of Sriracha. (Don't skimp on this! It really contributes to the deliciousness.)

Eek! I realized I forgot to include the Worcestershire sauce in my photo of the burger ingredients. 

Add the worcestershire sauce to the party, along with a teaspoon of cumin and a few cranks of cracked black pepper.

Process until mostly smooth, with a few chunks, like this:

Transfer the mixture to a bowl and add salt. You may want to taste it to see if you want to adjust any of the seasonings. 

Beat an egg in a separate bowl, and then mix in with the bean mixture.

In addition to the egg, add a cup of breadcrumbs to the mixture and thoroughly combine, until it looks about like this. 

Form the mixture into patties. I made six.

Oh, hey! Look! The potato sticks are done! 

I managed to catch them just before they started burning. (I had set the timer for 45 minutes, but they were done after about 35.) I had enough time for them to cool a bit while our burgers cooked.

Pre-heat a skillet on medium-high temperature, and add some non-stick spray. Cook burgers in the pan, about 5-7 minutes on each side. 

Here's a closeup of an uncooked burger. As you can see, there are still some visible chunks of onions and other stuff in there. 

We only needed 3 for dinner, so I wrapped up the other 3 and froze for a future meal. 

Here's what it looks like when it's ready to flip. See how the top is getting a little crusty? 

The finished meal! I'm kind of lame and don't really do much in the way of toppings. I did add a bit of wasabi mustard, but forgot to take a picture of it. Avocado is also really good on top of these burgers, but I completely forgot to cut one open. I was just too starving and anxious to eat this meal!

I really hope you try this meal, even though the pictures aren't the most appetizing. This is definitely one of our all-time favorites!

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