Bean Burgers

I was recently reminded of Jerimiah Tower's great San Francisco restaurant, Stars. Tower was a seminal figure in the food revolution but history hasn't favored him the way it has others.

On the rare times I've thought of them, I've always thought of Tower when it comes to black bean cakes. They seem a little dated now but some leftover runner beans made me wonder what I could do with the inspiration.

Picture 105

I mashed the beans with two chopped serrano chiles, half an onion, some garlic and cilantro. Most of the recipes I saw called for cornmeal, which I didn't have on hand so I used masa harina, dried nixtamalized corn. After mixing with an egg, I made "burgers" and rolled them in more masa harina before frying. About 5 minutes on each side did it. I topped them with some tomatillo salsa.

They were nice but they didn't rock my world. It was a good way to use up leftovers but I'd hesitate to serve this to company. Have you had better luck or is this just a "nice" dish?

7 Comments on Bean Burgers

  1. I’m sure an innovative chef could prove me wrong, but I suspect that most bean burgers are destined to be “just nice.” However as you know, there’s nothing wrong with that! Using leftovers in different ways is definitely a good thing, and there’s nothing wrong with having a repertoire of dishes that might be considered too boring for guests or occasions, but perfectly fine when cooking for one’s self, spouse/partner, or family. They look darned good to me!

  2. As a person who’s eaten few bean burgers since my limited exposure to them has been uninspiring, my immediate instincts are to add cumin, oregano, red pepper (so much the better if roasted), and a splash or two of something acid–vinegar, lemon or lime juice…

  3. I guess I’m fighting with my memory. I remember them as being pretty great. Well, I tried them again, this time with Massa brown rice mixed in, and they were much better. Not killer, but certainly a good use of leftovers.

    And as stanville says, most of the recipes call for more, peppers in particular. Next time…

  4. I guess I’m fighting with my memory. I remember them as being pretty great. Well, I tried them again, this time with Massa brown rice mixed in, and they were much better. Not killer, but certainly a good use of leftovers.

    And as stanville says, most of the recipes call for more, peppers in particular. Next time…

  5. Halfway related – it didn’t turn into burgers, but I did have a full batch of Yellow Indian Woman goodness that was overcooked and just go stuck in the fridge. (I was sick and fell asleep too long, the husband just let them cook). 2 days later I made very quick refried beans and they were possibly the best I’ve ever had.

    Original beans had garlic and bayleaves and salt. Threw them into a small cast iron pan on top of pretty hot canola oil, smashed them up, a little RG chile powder and some ground ancho chile and really seriously, YUM. I just smashed them in the pan with a pastry cutter.

  6. I think bean burgers, although I’ve admittedly never had one sound fabulous. I tried some Rancho Gordo beans for the first time a few weeks ago after seeing them at the Farmer’s Market. They were fab. I love beans though. I could literally (and often do) eat beans everyday.

    As a veggie, I am always looking for more ways to “use” my beans. Thanks for posting this, I will have to experiment with it and let you know how it goes! 🙂

  7. Try Bittman’s recipe for bean burgers in “How to cook everything vegetarian”….as my husband says…”I guess this is our new staple” HA!

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