Sunday, January 10, 2010

Spicy Black Bean Burgers ☺

Serves 7 (14 burgers)

Notes: You can substitute 2 c cooked brown rice for the bread crumbs. To make the Spicy Black Bean Burgers spicer, you can substitute a large jalapeno pepper for the green chilies. If you like green olives, chop up about about a half cup of olives and add them. You can also vary the seasonings: e.g. substitute cajun seasoning for the chili powder and cumin. I basically season these with what tickles my nose as I'm making them.

1 lb dried black beans
8 c water for soaking the beans
8 c water for cooking the beans
1 medium onion
8 oz sliced mushrooms
2 small can chopped green chilies
2 c dried bread crumbs
2 t hot sauce
1/2 t cayenne pepper
2 T chili powder
2 t cumin powder
2 t oregano
1 t coarsely ground black pepper
1 t kosher salt

Soak the black beans in 8 c water overnight. Drain the beans and cover with 8 c water. Cover and bring to a boil. Turn the heat to low and cook for at least an hour, until the beans are cooked, but still a little firm. Drain the beans, reserving the liquid for soup.

Rinse the beans and place them in a large mixing bowl. Wash your hands thoroughly, and mash the beans with your hands. Finely chop the onion and the mushrooms (you can use a food processor). Add the onions, mushrooms, and remaining ingredients to the beans. Use your hands to blend the mixture together.

Heat a tablespoon of oil or butter in a griddle or skillet over medium heat. Make 1/2 c patties out of the bean mixture and fry about 8 minutes on each side. You can also bake (at 400ºF for 20 minutes) or grill the burgers. The uncooked burgers freeze well. You can cook the burgers directly from the freezer.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Spaghetti and Meatballs

For the sauce:

2 T olive oil
1 large onion, thinly sliced
4 large cloves garlic, crushed
1 large green pepper, chopped
1 large carrot, pared and thinly sliced
2 stalks celery, chopped
1/2 lb mushrooms, sliced
1 large can tomatoes, pureed or crushed
2 14-oz cans diced tomatoes
1 t salt (or to taste)
1/2 t ground pepper (or to taste)
1 or 2 chilis, crushed
2 t dried basil
2 t dried oregano

Heat the oil over low-medium heat in a large soup pot. Saute the onions and garlic for three or four minutes, then add the green pepper, carrot, and celery. Cook, uncovered, until the vegetables soften and cook down. Stir occasionally to prevent the vegetables from scorching. The onions will caramelize a bit during the cooking.

Add the mushrooms to the vegetables, and cook for an additional three or four minutes. Add additional olive oil if the vegetables are sticking to the bottom of the pot.

Add the pureed and diced tomatoes and the spices. Heat to boiling, then adjust the heat so that the sauce simmers gently, but maintains the simmer. Cover and continue to cook on simmer while you prepare the meatballs.

For the meatballs

1 lb lean ground turkey or beef
1 egg
1/2 c milk
1/2 c bread crumbs
1/2 t salt
1/2 t ground pepper
1/4 t grated nutmeg
2 T olive oil for frying

Break up the ground meat in a large bowl. In a small bowl, soften the bread crumbs and milk. Pour the bread mixture over the meat. Break the egg over the meat and bread, and sprinkle the salt, pepper, and nutmeg over the mixture. With your hands, thoroughly mix the meat, bread crumbs, and egg together.

Break off tablespoonfuls of the meat mixture, and form into meatballs, and place on a plate prior to frying them. Heat the olive oil in a heavy skillet over medium heat and fry the meatballs for a couple of minutes, then turn them and fry an additional minute or two. Add the browned meatballs to the tomato sauce.

Continue to simmer the sauce over very low heat for another couple of hours, stirring it occasionally. Serve over spaghetti or other favorite pasta.