Mushroom Kasha Burgers with Tabasco Mayonnaise
As carnivorous as I am, I really enjoy delving into the vegetarian realm. Not only do I experience new ingredients and flavor combination but I also find creative techniques. It is especially rewarding to find an ingenious and delicious substitute to a dish universally loved by meat eaters. This recipe fits that description perfectly. It gives a vegetarian a meaty and flavorful substitute to the ubiquitous hamburger. The mushrooms and kasha give the burgers a rich, earthy flavor while the onions, garlic, bell pepper, and soy sauce give it pizazz. And the simple sauce of mayonnaise and tabasco is surprisingly complex and compliments the dish perfectly. And it goes great with Caramelized Broccoli with Garlic. Here’s the recipe:
Mushroom Kasha Burgers with Tabasco Mayonnaise, based on this recipe
2/3 cup water
1/3 cup coarse kasha (whole roasted buckwheat groats)
1 pound portabella mushrooms, no stems
1 cup finely chopped onion
1 cup finely chopped green pepper
3 T unsalted butter
2 garlic cloves, minced
3 T finely chopped parsley
1 tsp soy sauce
1 1/2 cups fine dry bread crumbs, divided
1 large egg, lightly beaten
olive oil, for frying
1/2 cup mayonnaise
about 1 T Tabasco or other hot pepper sauce, or to taste
4 good quality hamburger buns
Bring water to a boil in a 1- to 1 1/2-quart heavy saucepan, then stir in kasha. Cover and reduce heat to low, then cook until kasha is tender and water is absorbed, about 10 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and cool.
Break one third of mushrooms into a food processor and pulse until finely chopped, then transfer to a bowl. Repeat with remaining 2 batches of mushrooms, transferring to bowl.
Cook onion and bell pepper in butter in a 12-inch heavy skillet over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add chopped mushrooms, garlic, 3/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper and cook over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until any liquid mushrooms give off is evaporated and mushrooms begin to brown, 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer mixture to a large bowl, then stir in kasha, parsley, soy sauce, and 1/2 cup bread crumbs until combined well. Cool 10 minutes, then stir in egg until combined well.
Spread remaining cup bread crumbs in a shallow baking dish. Form one fourth of mushroom mixture (about 3/4 cup) into a 3/4-inch-thick patty (3 1/2 inches in diameter), then dredge in bread crumbs, knocking off excess, and transfer to a plate dusted with more bread crumbs. Form and dredge 3 more patties, transferring to plate. Chill patties, loosely covered with plastic wrap, 1 hour.
Heat oil in cleaned 12-inch heavy skillet over medium-high heat until it shimmers, then fry patties, turning over once, until deep golden, about 4 minutes total. Transfer patties to paper towels to drain (patties will be soft).
Meanwhile, whisk together mayonnaise and tabasco sauce. Spread buns with tabasco mayonnaise and sandwich each mushroom patty between 2 slices.
Just a few notes: 1) Kasha isn’t an everyday ingredient. Look for it in the organic section of your supermarket or a natural food store. 2) These burgers are rather soft so handle gently and do not skip the 1 hour chilling period. Enjoy!