Monday, October 18, 2010

Chick Pea Burgers

Tonight I was digging through the folder of recipes I've cut out of magazines, and found one that came from Eating Well, for chick pea burgers with Tahini yogurt sauce. Among the ingredients: chick peas, lemon juice, tahini, and olive oil. All of these are found in hummus, which is half of Ariel's answer to the "one food for the rest of your life," question.

(Hummus and Tabouleh, mixed together, are Ariel's favoritest thing. Ever.)

So, already it sounded like a winner.

Update, 11/18/10: In the month since this was originally posted, this recipe has become a staple meal in our home. As a result of getting a lot of practice with this recipe, I've learned a few things, and edited the entry to reflect those lessons.

Ingredient list:

Chick Pea Burgers
1- can of chick peas, rinsed and drained. (I used to use 19 oz cans, I've since used 14 ox cans without changing anything else, and it works fine.)
4- scallions, trimmed and sliced
1- large egg
2 Tbsp all purpose flour
1 Tbsp chopped fresh oregano. (I used dried from a jar.)
1/2 Tsp ground Cumin. (I love Cumin.)
1/4 Tsp Salt. (Or a heavy pinch, if you don't feel like washing a little pygmy spoon)
2 Tbsp Olive oil. (Bullshit... will explain later)

Tahini Sauce
1/2 Cup- greek style lowfat plain yogurt
2 Tbsp tahini. (Sesame seed paste, you may have to look a bit to find it, but I've been able to find it at supermarkets that I didn't think would have it.)
1 Tbsp Lemon juice. (I just squeezed out a whole lemon.)
1/3 Cup chopped parsley. (More or less. I think mine ended up with a lot more than 1/3 of a cup.)
1/4 Tsp salt. (See above commentary on pygmy spoons.)

2 pita bread pockets, sliced in half lengthwise (Ha... it's circular. You figure out which way is lengthwise...)
1 Beefsteak tomato, sliced

The egg, scallions, salt, flour, cumin, and oregano go into the food processor with the chick peas. Use the pulse feature, and make a coarse mixture that will form patties well.

edit: Having done this a few times, I can say that it's better to mix the egg, scallions, salt, flour, cumin, and oregano first, and then add the chick peas into the food processor. I used to dump all of the other ingredients on top of the chick peas, and it took a lot longer for those other ingredients to stir down into the mix properly. By the time it was all more or less homogeneous, it was halfway to being pureed. This way the other ingredients are mixed to form the glue that holds everything together, and mixing the chick peas from there results in a coarser mix, and better patties that handle more easily.

For the sauce, combine the sauce ingredients in a bowl and mix with a fork. It's not rocket science.

Next step, make patties with the chick pea mixture, and fry them at medium high in a frying pan, in the olive oil. Be careful when flipping them, as they will come apart pretty easily.

In the ingredient list, the quoted quantity of EVOO is 2 tbsp. This is bullshit, and you should pay it no mind. A more liberal application of oil is required, to help conduct the heat to the patties. For those of you who have a cast iron skillet that can handle 4 patties, I suggest you use it, as cast iron holds heat very well. It's a minor thing, really... frying these things up wasn't hard, but I do have a reason for thinking this.

Generally, I find that foods that are allowed to heat up more gradually do not get that crispy-fried crust on the outside. I've had friends that cooked falafel in aluminum pots, or with not enough oil, and the result was a mess. The aluminum conducts some of the heat away, and the falafel dough (if that's the proper term) cools the oil down even more if there's not enough oil in the pot to compensate. So, the oil didn't stay hot enough to make the falafel balls crust over, and the result was lumpy cooked chick pea paste, in oil.

Using a cast iron skillet to fry these up makes a WORLD of difference. Instead of the slowly building sizzle that I'm used to with our old aluminum and stainless frying pans, the patties start to sizzle the instant they hit the pan. And this instant-frying makes a much crispier outer crust. As a result, I've discovered I actually need less oil.

The patties are served up in the pita pockets with the sauce, and a slice of tomato. Extra pita can be used to help clean up the extra sauce that's typically left over.

This was probably one of the fastest, easiest things to make that I've cooked in a while, and it was really, really good. We'll be making this one again.

One very happy nursing student.

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