Gratitude for this meal idea goes to Laura, who I am sharing my quest for better cooking for one with.
After a previous bad experience making vegetarian burgers that contained kidney beans, I wasn’t immediately sold on the idea of these burgers. The gross burgers I made a year or so ago were dry and unpleasant, and so I was like “will this be more of the same?” NO. No it won’t. These burgers are excellent, cheap and straightforward to make. From Laura’s suggestions I made some additions to the original recipe, such as increasing spice and eating with halloumi. I also added some garlic, because if there’s one thing that Nigel Slater has taught me, it is that anything is greatly improved by the addition of garlic.
I think if you leave the mixture in the fridge for a bit you could probably put these on the barbecue. This I am keen to try because one of the few things I am not sold on for being fully vegetarian is not being able to have proper barbecues. I mean, there’s nothing like a beef burger or a sausage that tastes of delicious charcoally grill, right? So I’m hoping that these burgers might make a good substitute (or I will just continue with my occasional lapses back into eating meat).
I also probably need to invest in a new grater. And a garlic crusher. I spent far too long trying to grate the carrot because we don’t have a box grater, which makes grating more than a small amount of something really inconvenient. Then when I was grating the garlic I managed to also grate my thumb. Genius. It is useful to have effective kitchen tools.
Carrot, Cumin and Kidney Bean Burgers (somewhat adapted from Jack Monroe’s recipe)
Makes 4 burgers
1 x 400g tin of kidney beans
1 small onion (150g approx), peeled and finely chopped
1 carrot (150g approx), grated
2.5 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp curry powder
2 cloves garlic, minced/grated
1 tbsp sunflower oil, plus 2 tbsp to fry the burgers
1tbsp flour, plus another to shape the burgers
1. Drain the kidney beans and rinse in cold water. Put into a saucepan and cover with cold water. Bring to the boil, then simmer for 10 mins to soften.
2. Put the onion, carrot, cumin, curry powder and garlic into a medium frying pan. Add 1tbsp oil and cook on a low heat to soften. When the kidney beans have softened, drain well and add to the carrots and onion. Remove from the heat and mash together until you have a smoothish puree. Stir in the flour to stiffen.
4. Heat the remaining oil in the frying pan on a medium heat. With floured hands, take a quarter of the burger mixture and roll it into a ball. Make three more balls with the remaining mixture. Place one in the oil and flatten gently with a fork to make the burger shape. Cook for a few minutes on one side, before turning. The burgers need to be handled with care as they can be quite fragile before they’re done! When cooked and slightly crisp on both sides, remove from the pan and serve.
5. Serve in pitta bread with grilled halloumi and sauce of some description – I chose garlic mayo. Two burgers makes a good meal with some veg or salad, and then you can freeze the other two for another day!
(Tip: Make the burger mixture in advance and pop into the fridge for a few hours – it firms up nicely and is less fragile when cooking. It will keep, covered, for 2 days so can be made well in advance.)