Saturday, May 14, 2016

Umami Burgers

These burgers came about from trying to use up the cans of chickpeas in my fridge from making batch after batch of Lemon Meringue Tarts. I first turned to my three go to sources of umami: tomatoes, soy sauce, and mushrooms. For texture, I used barley (like my Tourtière recipe). The end result is a durable (i.e. grillable) and non-mushy burger with plenty of flavour. These burgers freeze well (just thaw them before grilling) and when cooked keep well in the fridge. They taste good cold, or microwaved a few days later. The kids love them for lunch so I grill them up on Sunday and they take them to school throughout the week.

Makes 12 burgers
- 1/2 cup pot barley, cooked (in veggie broth or beer) until soft (about 30 mins), cooled
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1 large onion, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 celery rib, minced
- 3 cups chopped cremini mushrooms (about 8 oz/227g)
- 1 can chickpeas, drained
- 1/4 cup tomato paste
- 2 tbsp light soy sauce
- 1 tbsp Montreal Steak Spice, ground
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- 1 tsp chili powder
- 1 tsp ground coriander
- 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
- 1/2 cup instant oatmeal
- 1/4 cup flour
- 1/4 cup instant tapioca
- 1 cup fresh bread crumbs (i.e. day old bread ground up in a food processor)
- seasoned salt and black pepper to taste

1. Cook the barley until tender, drain, then set aside to cool in a large bowl.
2. Heat olive oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Sauté onion, garlic, and celery for 5-7 mins, until soft and onion is translucent.
3. Add mushrooms to the pan and cook for about 5 mins, until mushrooms have released their water and have cooked down a little.
4. Remove from heat and add to the barley. Mix well.
5. Pulse the chickpeas in a food processor. Be careful not to make them into a paste.
6. Add the pulsed chickpeas to the bowl, along with the tomato paste, soy sauce, spices, nutritional yeast, oatmeal, flour, and tapioca. Use a wooden spoon to mix well.
7. Add the fresh bread crumbs and mix well. Season to taste.
8. Let the mixture rest for 5 minutes.
9. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Using a silicone spatula, press the mixture into a crumpet ring (or what have you) to make 12 burgers on the prepared baking sheet.
10. The burgers are more durable when they are cool. Slide the baking sheet into the freezer while you fire up the grill.
11. Grill on a med to med-lo grill (around 400-425 degrees) for about 5 mins per side (so keep the heat moderate so the outside does not burn before the inside cooks). Brush the grill and the burgers with oil to keep them from sticking. The burgers should be firm to the touch and not mushy when they are done.