A burger recipe? No, Paradiso hasn’t gone retro or taken to party catering, this one’s strictly domestic, and it’s one I’ve been asked for a few times after a barbecue party I did last weekend. In Canada, that is, where summer means scorching hot days and outdoor cooking. Recent summers in Ireland – four and counting now? – haven’t been very encouraging for barbecue enthusiasts, but there’s still a month left in this one, and a bit of blind hope and optimism never goes astray when it comes to Irish weather.
Last weekend was the second time I made the recipe, but each time I was winging it so the quantities aren’t necessarily accurate. The first time I was taking up a hefty challenge to come up with a burger that would pass muster with a bunch of serious burger blokes. Without having first hand experience of the fleshy version, I knew that the alternative would have to be dense, juicy and intensely flavoured. The texture comes from the mashed little black turtle beans and the flavour is supplied by reducing fried mushrooms and onions with spices and herbs.
Those of you familiar with Paradiso Seasons will know that there is an outdoor cooking section in it that has a few recipes for ‘creative’ things to do with a barbecue. All well and good, but there are times when barbecuing isn’t so much about being clever as it is about touching on a tradition, and in countries where the barbie is taken seriously that means something in a bun.
To push out the mushroom factor, serve in a thin bun with a grilled portobello mushroom and the usual condiments – ketchup, chilli sauce, pickles, mustard, mayo, whatever you fancy.
If you can’t find a commercial chipotle sauce or any kind of chipotle chillies, try a combination of dried chilli and hot smoked paprika.
The recipe below is reduced from a batch about four times the size so I would guess it makes about a dozen, maybe more. If you’re planning ahead, make a bigger mix and freeze the burgers until you need them. You can cook them straight from the freezer.
And for those days when there’s just no going outside, they fry up really well in a pan too. Put your sunglasses on and watch a movie.
2 red onions, finely diced
400g brown chestnut mushrooms
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 tablespoons ground cumin
2 tablespoons fresh thyme
chipotle sauce – replace with smoked paprika?
2 tablespooons soy sauce
1 glass red wine
500g dried black turtle beans, soaked and cooked
Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a deep frying pan or wok over high heat. Add the red onion and fry for one minute before adding the mushrooms, garlic & cumin. Continue to fry over high heat, stirring, for 8-10 minutes more until the mushrooms have shrunk.
Add the soy sauce, red wine and chipotle sauce and cook, stirring, over high heat for 5-7 minutes to get the mixture as dry as possible. Mash the beans and cook for two minutes more, then leave the mixture to cool.
Stir in the egg and enough breadcrumbs to make a stiff mixture. Refrigerate for at least an hour. Form the mixture into burgers about 2cm thick and refrigerate again for a couple of hours. Or freeze. Grill or fry the burgers, lightly oiled, over medium heat.