Hearty Winter Vegetable Burger
MAKES: 4 to 6 servings
TIME: 45 minutes
Dried fruit is the secret ingredient in these rich and gorgeous burgers. Because the flavor is sweet and slightly earthy, these are delicious on a whole grain bun with lots of mustard. Or you can serve them on a bed of Braised and Glazed Brussels Sprouts or any winter green for a more elegant meal.
1 pound beets, trimmed, peeled, and grated
1/2 cup packed pitted dates or dried plums (prunes)
1/2 cup almonds
1 inch peeled ginger, cut into coins
1/2 cup bulgur
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
3/4 cup boiling red wine or water
1 tablespoon Dijon or other mustard
Cayenne or hot red pepper flakes to taste (optional)
A little all-purpose flour, if needed, for binding
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil or butter
Combine the beets, dates, almonds, and ginger in a food processor and pulse several times until everything is well chopped but not quite a paste.
Put the mixture in a large bowl with the bulgur and a sprinkle of salt and pepper. Stir in the boiling wine, mustard, and cayenne if you’re using it and cover the bowl with a plate. Let steep for 20 minutes. Taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary. Let the mixture rest for a few minutes if you can before shaping it into patties; if it seems too wet, stir in a little flour to help bind it. (You can make the burger mixture or even shape the burgers up to several hours in advance. Just cover tightly and refrigerate, then bring everything back to room temperature before cooking.)
Shape the mixture into 4 to 6 patties. Put the oil or butter in a skillet with a lid over medium heat. When the oil is hot or the butter is melted, carefully slip the burgers into the pan. Cook, undisturbed for 5 minutes or so, until nicely browned on the bottom; carefully flip the burger, cover, and cook the other side for 5 minutes.
Serve on plates with any of the accompaniments listed in Serving Burgers or on buns with the usual burger fixings. Or cool and refrigerate or freeze for later use.