Okay, you know how sometimes if you say a certain word over and over, it starts to sound really bizarre? Try it. Bicycle. Bicycle. Bicycle.
The same thing happened to me just now as I was typing the title to this post. Biscuits. Bisciuts? Biscuits? Biscuits? Can this be right?
Anyway, this post is about one ambitious day (the same day, in fact, that I made my luscious Sweet Potato Bisque) that I made up a recipe for my own veggie burgers and made biscuits for the burgers instead of rolls. Why? Biscuits are quicker. Even if “biscuit” is a weird word.
So…what to use, what to use?
I knew I wanted to use brown rice. Brown rice is nutritious and filling and yummy. So I cooked some up.
I also wanted to include onions…mushrooms…a little red pepper…so I chopped them up and sautéed them a bit to soften the vegetables and build up some flavor.
Hmmm…and how about some shredded zucchini? Okay. Done.
And…beans. More fiber, protein, fillingness. Yeah, I know, I know, there’s also the less desirous aspect to beans, beans, the musical fruit. But the pros outweigh the cons…and there’s always Beano.
So, I drained and rinsed a can of cannellini beans and put about three quarters of them in the food processor. Then I added in about 3/4 of the zucchini and sautéed vegetables.
Then I pureed the heck out of them.
And then (this is real exciting reading, isn’t it?) I combined the pureed portion with the unpureed portion.
And here’s how it looked:
I figured I’d make a little test burger, just to see if the mixture needed seasoning.
It tasted okay, but the texture was a little too chunky. And the mixture was pretty loose – it was hard to keep the little burgers shaped nicely.
Reluctantly (I really wanted to do this on my own), I asked Bill for his opinion and advice. After all, he’s been the one making the veggie burgers lately.
He asked if I’d included any egg. No, I hadn’t. For some reason I’d got it in my head that I wasn’t going to use eggs.
Well, so much for that idea. I added a couple of eggs, and I also, at Bill’s suggestion, pureed the mixture some more – I’d say about 3/4 of it was pureed by the end. Then Bill took over the shaping of the burgers while I got started on the biscuits.
Right about then, a little helper showed up.
The biscuits were pretty straightforward.
Combine the dry ingredients – flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, a little bit of sugar. Oh, yeah, and some garlic powder.
Butter and shortening.
Some cheeses…pieces of cheddar…
I kneaded the dough together a little, and then cut out the biscuits.
I think I made about a dozen or so.
Before they went in the oven (450F), I brushed the tops with some melted butter. No, these are not fat free.
I baked ‘em for about 12 minutes, and let them cool on the pans. Oh, and they smelled really fabulous while they baked…in case you were wondering.
Actually, they smelled so good, they drew a little boy up from the basement. Somehow one of the biscuits “broke” and he got to sample them before dinner.
Now, while I was doing that, Bill took charge of the veggie burgers.
He shaped them into perfect circles (we’ve got these rings that belonged to his mom and we use them not only for shaping veggie burgers and biscuits, but also for cooking perfectly round fried eggs on occasion.) and dusted them with a little flour.
He fried them up in batches and once he had about 6 or 8 done, we ate. The rest of the veggie burger mixture went into the fridge.
And this – refrigerating the mixture – is really the key to it all. A day or so later Bill cooked up the rest of the burgers, and they held together great, the texture had improved, and they even tasted better. Go figure.
But anyway. We called the kids to dinner, served up the sweet potato bisque and these burgers, and…
Alex didn’t like the burgers. I don’t think Julia did, either. And they didn’t like the bisque.
Ah well. One for three. In baseball, that would be a pretty decent average.
Anyway, there you have it – my first go at making up my own veggie burger recipe.
It won’t be the last.
If you’re interested in giving these a try, the recipes for both the burgers and the biscuits are below this final picture.
Raid-the-Pantry Veggie Burgers
(makes about 12-18 burgers, depending on the size)
1 cup uncooked brown rice
2 cups water
1 tablespoon butter
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 onion, diced
1 clove garlic, roughly chopped
about 1/4 bell pepper, diced
approx 2 oz sliced mushrooms, chopped
2 tablespoons butter or olive oil
a good pinch of salt
2 very small or one medium zucchini, shredded
1 14 oz can cannellini beans
1 3/4 cups old fashioned (not quick-cooking) oats
1/2 tsp cumin
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
What to do:
(This is my revised version, after all the trial-and-error)
Cook the brown rice according to the package directions. Set aside.
While the rice is cooking, soften the onion, garlic, bell pepper, and mushroom in the 2T of butter and pinch of salt. Just cook until they’ve softened, though you can cook them longer to develop some more flavor if you’d like. Then set aside to cool.
Shred the zucchini, if you haven’t already, and rinse the beans.
Place all of the beans, 1/2 of the cooked vegetable mixture, and half of the rice in the bowl of your food processor and puree. Pour this into a large bowl with all the zucchini, the rest of the rice and vegetables, the oats, cumin, Worcestershire and eggs. Mix well, then put about 3/4 of that back into the processor. Puree until you still have little bits of ingredients visible, but not big pieces. Combine all the pureed and not so pureed components back together again and refrigerate for at least an hour.
Shape into burgers and dust with flour.
Fry until browned on both sides and cooked through.
Cheesy Buttermilk Biscuits
(makes 12-14 large biscuits)
4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tablespoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons sugar
2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
4 tablespoons cold, unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
12 tablespoons cold vegetable shortening, cut into small pieces
1 1/2 cups very cold buttermilk
several slices of cheddar cheese, torn into smallish pieces
About 1/4 cup grated manchego (you could use parmesan or romano)
Additional butter, melted, for brushing the tops of the biscuits
What to do:
Preheat your oven to 450F and adjust the racks so they divide the oven into thirds.
Line a couple of baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
Whisk together the dry ingredients in a large bowl.
Add the cold butter and shortening, and cut it into the flour mixture with a pastry blender, a couple of forks, or you fingers. When the mixture resembles coarse sand with some larger lumps mixed in.
Add in the torn cheddar and grated manchego.
Pour in the chilled buttermilk and blend gently, with a fork, until just combined. Don’t over work the dough – it’ll toughen up and you’ll lose that flaky biscuit texture.
Pat the dough into a rectangle on a floured work surface and roll out until it’s about half an inch thick. Cut into circles or squares or diamonds or dodecahedrons or whatever shape you prefer.
Place biscuits on the parchment lined sheet pans, brush with melted butter, and pop in the oven. Bake about 10-12 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through the bake time. You want them to be a gorgeous golden brown.
Serve nice and hot.