Monday, January 4, 2010
For the first recipe of the 52R project, I chose Mushroom Lentil Burgers from The Complete Canadian Living Cookbook. I like this book because the ingredients and sizes are suited to the Canadian kitchen, like giving can measurements in milliliters and sizes that are actually available here. And I've always had very good luck with their recipes.
Some of the ingredients. My camera was being annoying and having trouble focusing; I hope to improve the photos through the year.
In a large skillet, heat 1 tsp of vegetable oil over medium heat. Add one medium onion, finely chopped, and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 4 minutes or until soft. (I added a couple of cloves of crushed garlic, which weren't in the original recipe, because I always add garlic). Add 1 cup finely chopped mushrooms and 1/2 tsp thyme (I used Italian seasoning because I was out of thyme); cook, stirring, for another 4 minutes or until just starting to brown. Let cool slightly.
The mushroom onion mixture. I added probably more like 1 1/2 cups of mushrooms, rather than the called for one cup, and I still didn't think the end results were mushroom-y enough.
In a bowl, coarsely mash 1 can (19 oz/540ml) of drained and rinsed lentils. In future versions I will cook my own lentils rather than using canned.
note the unmashed lentils. Forgot that step until after I'd added the next ingredient (1/2 cup oats). I mashed them at this point, but probably not quite enough. Actually, I wish I had a food processor, I think I would have pureed the lentils, which would possibly give a smoother texture to the 'burger'.
In addition to the oats, stir in the mushroom mixture, 3 tbsp Parmesan cheese, 2 tblsp chopped pine nuts or pecans, and 1/4 tsp pepper. I couldn't find pine nuts when I went grocery shopping (what's up with that?), and I don't really like pecans, so I substituted cashews because I love cashews.
Once it's all mixed together, shape into four patties. You can then refrigerate on some waxed paper if you want to cook them later.
I tasted the mixture at this point, pretty good.
The formed burgers.
Cook over medium heat for 3-4 minutes per side or until golden brown.
Serve on a bun with toppings of your choice.
I used some thinly sliced cheddar cheese, fresh avocado, fresh homemade salsa, and some chipotle hot sauce.
Verdict: Excellent. A definite keeper recipe. I'm usually not a fan of burger substitute recipes because they just make me want a real burger, but mushroom based substitutes are the exception, since I love mushrooms to a perhaps unreasonable degree.
For future versions, I'm going to increase the mushrooms to more like 2 cups and probably try and use a smaller onion, I thought the onion taste was a bit strong, especially with the onions in the fresh salsa on top of that. And I want to try this with the lentils more pureed. But really, very good, nice mushroom flavour, and a very satisfying and filling sandwich.
The baby also really liked it! The four year old was unimpressed, and since my husband doesn't like mushrooms, I made him something different which I will put in a future 52R post.
Recipe: Mushroom Lentil Burgers
1 tsp vegetable oil
1 onion, finely chopped
1 cup finely chopped mushrooms (I used more like 1 1/2)
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1 can (19 oz/540 ml) lentils, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup oats
3 tbsp parmesan
2 tbsp chopped pine nuts or pecans (I used cashews)
1/4 tsp pepper
1. In large skillet, heat oil over medium heat; cook onion until soft, about 4 minutes. Add mushrooms and thyme, cook another 4 minutes or until just starting to brown. Let cool slightly.
2. In bowl, coarsely mash lentils; stir in mushroom mixture, oats, cheese, pine nuts, and pepper. Shape into four 3/4" thick patties.
3. In same skillet or on greased grill over medium heat, cook patties for 3 to 4 minutes per side or until golden brown. Serve on buns with toppings of your choice.