Monday, March 2, 2015
Sweet Potato and Quinoa Burgers
Remember--the recipe is at the end. :)
I found this recipe on Pinterest, and was immediately intrigued. With a few very minor modifications, I made these "cakes," which are burgers, in my opinion, hence the name change. Don't they look fabulous? I think so, too.
One note about pepper. The original recipe calls for 1/2 teaspoon of black pepper. Whoa, Nelly! Let me just say, you've never had pepper until you've had freshly ground pepper. You use so much less of it than pre-ground pepper, and it is so much more aromatic and spicy.
Store-bought pre-ground pepper has been sitting in jars, and it takes a lot to achieve that nice zip that pepper gives. See, as soon as you grind a peppercorn, it releases its full flavor; as it sits on the store shelf, it loses all its zest and pep. Try some on your next corn on the cob--wow.
Trust me on this--you need to buy a decent pepper mill and some good quality peppercorns. White, black, red, telicherry, mixed--you'll become a pepper gourmet and never go back. Just a few cranks of the pepper mill will produce more seasoning than half a teaspoon of store-bought, pre-ground black powder pepper-like substance. Hope that doesn't sound snobby, but it's true. Hope someday you'll thank me for it. :)
Here's the recipe, modified the way I like it.
Quinoa & Sweet Potato Burgers
one medium sweet potato (~6 oz.), peeled and chopped
1/2 red, yellow, or white onion, diced
1/2 teaspoon salt
fresh pepper (3-4 cranks of your pepper mill)
two cloves garlic, minced
one tablespoon extra virgin olive oil (or other fat for frying--I used rendered pork lard!)
1/2 cup cooked quinoa
1/4 cup whole-wheat bread crumbs
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
two tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
two tablespoons chopped fresh basil
1/2 teaspoon salt (yes--it's in here a second time!)
one large egg, lightly beaten
This recipe comes together quickly if you prep everything first--chop, dice, measure the ingredients into prep bowls, etc. Now on to the nitty-gritty.
Heat a large skillet (you'll use it again to cook the burgers) on medium-low heat and add the olive oil or other fat. Add in the sweet potato, onion, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and the pepper. Stir, cover, and cook for 10-12 minutes, or until potato is soft. Remove lid and stir in garlic, and cook for an additional 30 seconds or so.
Mash the sweet potato a bit with a potato masher, and transfer the mixture to a large mixing bowl. Let cool, since you'll be using your hands; I put my bowl in the fridge for ten minutes. Add the quinoa, bread crumbs, Parmesan cheese, herbs, and remaining salt (add more pepper, too, if you like!), and mix a little. Then, add in egg and mix it all up just like you're making hamburger meat. Use your hands to shape four patties.
Heat the skillet again to a medium heat and add a little fat--olive oil or pork lard work great. Gently place the burgers onto the pan and cook about three or four minutes per side, or until they're golden brown. Flip them carefully!
We have eaten these burgers plain, with blackberry salsa (fresh blackberries, a little cilantro and lime juice, and chopped jalapeno and minced onion, all to your taste), or even on a bun. Fernando put mustard on his, and Jacob ate his burger with cheddar cheese. Try it different ways and see what you like best!
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