First… a word about beans. The fact is, beans are designed not to be digested. They contain ‘inhibitors’ to prevent digestion. The way to unlock the goodness of bean is to soak for a good long time. I soaked these small white beans for 60 hours. Two and a half days. You can soak them longer than that too. Rinse the beans and change the water twice daily. Keep them covered and in a cool place. If possible, use filtered water.
In a deep saucepan with a tight fitting lid, place the rinsed beans, and add enough cold water to amply cover the beans. Bring them to the boil and boil hard for 6 minutes.
Then reduce the heat, cover, and simmer gently for 2 – 3 – 4 hours….until the beans are really tender. Add more water if necessary.
I cook them in batches, and then freeze them, so next time I need beans, I can just grab them from the freezer bag whenever I need them. It’s worth the effort…. I promise! 🙂
Back to burgers, which is what this post is about lol……as most of us know, making a burger isn’t as easy as we imagine…. particularly without eggs… they fall apart, or they’re too dry, or they’re too wet and won’t fry/bake properly. They won’t crisp up or they simply disintegrate…..hmmm..
So, here’s a nice little bean burger, that shouldn’t do any of those things, tastes great and fries, bakes, stores, freezes and reheats…and tastes good hot or cold.
According to Wikipedia:
“Harissa (Arabic: هريسة | harîsa – Word Origin : from Maghrebi Arabic) is a Maghrebian hot chili pepper paste, the main ingredients of which are roasted red peppers, Baklouti pepper, serrano peppers and other hot chili peppers and spices and herbs such as garlic paste, coriander seed, or caraway as well as some vegetable or olive oil for preservation. It is most closely associated with Tunisia, Libya and Algeria.”
Harissa has a nice, clean, fresh heat. It’s like a backdrop to all the other flavours. It’s perfect with these relatively delicate white beans, along with the clean zing of lemon juice.
NORTH AFRICAN WHITE BEAN BURGERS + PAPAYA AND AVOCADO SALAD
Makes 8 burgers
- 2 tbs. olive oil + extra if needed…
- 450gms. pre-cooked white beans e.g. cannellini
- 1 medium red onion
- 1/2 medium red pepper
- 4 spring onions
- 100gms. breadcrumbs
- 3 garlic cloves
- 2 cm. fresh ginger
- 2 tsps. cumin seeds
- 2 tsps. coriander seeds
- 4 small dried chillies
- 1 good tsp.salt
- 1/2 tsp.ground black pepper
- 3 tsps. Harissa paste + 2 tsbs water
- 2 tbs. linseed/ flaxseed
- juice 1 small lemon
- 4 tbs. water
- Finely chop onion.
- Wash, and finely dice red pepper.
- Crush garlic cloves.
- Peel and finely chop ginger.
- Wash and finely chop spring onions.
- Grind cumin, coriander, chillies, salt and pepper to a fine powder.
- Mix Harissa paste with 2 tbs. water.
- Grind linseed to a fine powder.
- Place a wide pan on a medium high heat.
- Add 2 tbs. olive oil.
- Add chopped onions: saute 3 mins.
- Add diced red pepper: sauté 1 min.
- Add crushed ginger and chopped ginger: saute 30 secs.
- Reduce heat.
- Add spice mix : sauté 30 secs.
- Add Harissa/ water mix: stir in and heat: 10 secs.
- Add beans : saute 3 mins.
- Remove from heat.
- Transfer bean mix to a big bowl, and mash so that most beans are mashed and some remain whole.
- To the ground linseed/flaxseed, add juice 1 lemon and 4 tbs. water..
- Leave the linseed to stand for 10 mins.
- Add breadcrumbs to bean mix. Combine.
- Add chopped spring onions to bean mix. Combine.
- Add linseed paste to bean mix and mix thoroughly.
- Allow bean mix to rest for 20 mins.
- On a lightly floured board, form 8 burgers.
- In 2 tbs. olive oil in a wide pan, on a medium high heat, fry burgers for 4 mins. on each side.
- Add a little more oil if needed.
- Don’t overcrowd the pan. Cook in batches. Keep burgers warm in a pre-heated oven if necessary.
- Alternatively, baste/ spray with olive oil and bake in hot oven Gas Mk.7/220C for 20-30 mins. until golden.
PAPAYA AND AVOCADO SALAD…
….this went so well with the burgers I had to share….
Peel and chop a papaya or two. Peel and chop an avocado or two. Mix and dress with a garlicky lemony dressing….mmmm….
Scatter the burgers with fresh chopped coriander and dish up…..