Remember that circa 1984 Wendy’s “Where’s the Beef?” commercial? [If you are too young to remember, I really hate you right now.]
Here’s a burger that might just make you forget to ask the question even though no animals were harmed in the making of these juicy, flavorful patties from the always incredible Cook’s Illustrated kitchen.
My twists are using Trader Joe’s steamed lentils (in the refrigerated produce section) instead of going thru the drudgery of cooking dried lentils, and serving these veggie burgers on locally baked four seed bread from Anderson Brick Oven (available at historic Findlay Market in Cincinnati’s up and coming Over The Rhine neighborhood) instead of a bun, along with slices of Roma tomatoes, baby romaine and Tzatziki from Areti’s Gyros. Nice served with a side of fresh corn rolled in a butter/feta/fresh mint mixture. More on that later.
Making these burgers is a great project for a rainy afternoon; they do take about an hour thirty to assemble plus another ten minutes to cook. (I won’t even tell you how long it took me to clean the kitchen.)
Cook’s Illustrated calls them
The Ultimate Veggie Burger
- 3/4 cup dried brown lentils, rinsed and picked over
- 2 1/2 teaspoons table salt
- 3/4 cup bulgur
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 2 medium onions, chopped fine (2 cups)
- 1 rib celery (large), chopped fine (about 1/2 cup)
- 1 small leek, white and light green parts only, chopped fine (about 1/2 cup)
- 2 medium cloves garlic, minced or pressed through garlic press (2 teaspoons)
- 1 pound cremini mushrooms (or white), cleaned and sliced about 1/4 inch thick (about 6 1/2 cups)
- 1 cup raw unsalted cashew
- 1/3 cup mayonnaise
- 2 cups panko (Japanese bread crumbs)
- Ground black pepper
- Good crusty bread for serving (or a bun)
- Garnish du jour
Bring 2 cups water and 1/2 teaspoon salt to boil in small saucepan. Stir bulgur wheat into boiling water and cover immediately; let stand off heat until water is absorbed, 15 to 20 minutes. Drain in fine-mesh strainer; use rubber spatula to press out excess moisture. Transfer bulgur to medium bowl and set aside.
Add remaining 1 tablespoon oil to now-empty skillet; heat over high heat until shimmering. Add mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden brown, about 12 minutes. Spread mushrooms on baking sheet with vegetable mixture; cool to room temperature, about 20 minutes.
Process cashews in food processor until finely chopped, about fifteen 1-second pulses (do not wash food processor blade or bowl); stir into bowl with bulgur along with cooled lentils, vegetable-mushroom mixture, and mayonnaise.
Double, triple, quadruple to your heart’s content
1 pat butter
2 tsp crumbled feta
1 tsp chopped fresh mint
Make a cow happy today. Eat a veggie burger.