My wholesale dismissal for the vegetarian lifestyle is fairly well known. Up until some throws down the gauntlet to produce a tasty veggie burger. Challenge Accepted!
Now, I am an engineer, so I laid out a bit of criteria and constraints...
1) Low Cost Ingredients (i.e. cheaper than the cheapest ground beef/pork/etc.) This final recipe makes like 20 burgers, and costs about $6.00
2) Look like a sumptuous honest-to-God, hacked-from-a-cow Burger
3) Slight crisp on the outside, chewy and juicy on the inside
4) Healthy (i.e. no heavy carbs or mucho fat)
5) Not crumble apart when you slap it on a bun with all the fixings, or when you bite into it as you co-quaff an Alaskan Smoked Porter
6) Freeze well
After a day of experimenting, enlisting neighbors as unbiased judges, and a swath of destruction in the tiny kitchen, I can now declare success. I given you the best damn veggie burger I have had. To my lovely Northwest (and Southern granola) fans, you know how to reach me for private din-din.
Meat-Eater Veggie Burgers
2/3 cup pearl barley, uncooked
1 beef bouillon cube
3 cups water
2 large white onions, sliced ½” thick
Oil for caramelizing
1 medium jar roasted red peppers, rough diced
½ lb baby portabella mushrooms, finely diced
1 can seasoned black beans
2 Tbsp garlic, minced
½ bag stuffing mix (Stove Top, not the cornmeal based ones)
2 Tbsp Liquid Smoke
2 Tbsp soy sauce
2 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 Tbsp honey
1 Tbsp granulated garlic
1 Tbsp crushed rosemary
1 Tbsp pepper
1 Tbsp kosher salt
2 eggs + 3 egg whites, mixed together
1) Caramelize onions in a large frying pan, until ALMOST soft. Remove and rough dice the onions.
2) In the same pan that the onions caramelized in,add the 3 cups of water, beef bouillon and pearl barley, and bring to a simmer.Simmer for 45 minutes or until barley is cooked and water is absorbed. Setaside.
3) Using a hand-held blender, chop the black beansin a bowl into a paste. Then, rough chop the barley and combine the twotogether.
4) Using the same blender or food processor,process the stuffing mix until fine breadcrumbs.
5) Now combine all the remaining ingredientstogether in a LARGE bowl, and mix well with you hands or a sturdy spoon.
6) Put the mixture in the refrigerator overnight toallow the flavours to meld.
7) Preheat a non-stick skillet over medium heat,and add a scant of oil.
8) Spoon a patty-sized portion onto the pan, and fryfor 5-7 minutes, covered. Carefully flip, and fry the other side for 5 minutes.
9) Serve on a whole-wheat bun dressed with saladgreens, pickle, smoked Gouda, Dijon mustard and sriracha mayonnaise.
10) Cook up the remaining within a couple of days, and then freeze them for microwaveable deliciousness.