This recipe is a bit of an out take from my new book WHOLEFOOD From the Ground Up (which I can excitedly say, is out 1st June). It was one of the very first recipes I toyed with and it evolved on to become something else, but I wanted to see it come to realization. I do love a nice, deeply flavoured and toothsome vegetarian pattie (too many are just mushy) to put in a burger, or just as happy without. This pattie follows the path of one of my favourite principles – try and be prepared for the week, cook a pot of grain (in this case hulled millet) and cook a pot of legumes (in this case green lentils), to use in any number of ways – but here, as the smoky beetroot burger. I’m writing this up for the Easter break as I think it would make a perfect lunch, or dinner over this most wonderful break.
There are a few things I need to tell you about this recipe. These are really quite quick to throw together, especially if you have lentils already cooked. I would suggest you cook the millet (and make extra if you would like for another use) just before you need it – the warmth will make it a little stickier, which is helpful here (you will have a little left over, but it’s far easier to get the liquid ratio perfect with 1/2 cup millet, so use it for a stuffing, or a salad !). Also, the lentils need to be well cooked – once drained, it will help the whole sticking together thing if they are mashed just a little bit. In the end however, they will stay together, no matter how unlikely you think that will be – the 2 eggs will do the trick. I also absolutely recommend that you soak your millet and lentils (this will make them more digestible), but if you forget or run out of time, cooking them in a bone stock such as chicken will buffer any nutrient losses, and make digestion just that bit easier. Also – the smoked paprika. I can tell you that all smoked paprika’s are not equal. Many of them can be quite bitter, especially when you have to add a fair bit to get a good smoky flavour. I use one that is a dulce (sweet) smoked paprika, and in Perth, Western Australia this is the brand I use. And a word in regards to the miso – both shiro (white) or chickpea are fine, and in Australia I have a preference for this brand (though, to be fair it is only available in limited places, and only on the east coast), otherwise this brand.
I’ve served it here with great organic, wood fired sourdough that has been grilled, avocado, and homemade sweet chilli and sultana sauce. The greens you see there are the beetroot greens, but take note beetroot (especially the greens) are a high oxalic acid food. Heat breaks down oxalates, so I have cooked them gently in a little ghee – this way you will get all their goodies. Pile it all on the bread, slather it and it’s a hearty and delicious meal. A bit of goat curd would not go astray. And, finally if you are after a cake for the (hopefully) cooler Autumn weather over easter, can I suggest this Walnut and Yoghurt Cake. It’s an old post, so not brilliant photos, but I can guarantee, the cake is very good.
Wishing you all a restful, safe and heartfelt Easter… x jude
All photography ©Harriet Harcourt
Smoky Beetroot, Lentil and Millet Burgers
Dairy Free | Gluten Free
The Night Before
Soak both the lentils and millet (in separate bowls) with enough water to cover them well. Add 2 teaspoons whey to each bowl, or 1 teaspoon vinegar, stir though and leave to sit out at room temperature.
The Following Day
Strain the soaked millet well and pat the millet as best you can dry with a tea towel. Add the millet to a small sauce pan, and cook over medium heat, stirring frequently until the millet becomes fragrant — about 2–3 minutes, it will get easier as it dries out. Immediately pour the hot liquid in; be careful as this will splutter so stand back a little. Add the salt and cover. Reduce the heat so no steam escapes the lid. 30–35 minutes. Turn off the heat, remove the lid and place a clean tea towel on the millet then replace the lid.
To cook the lentils, drain the lentils and place in a saucepan with the liquid, thyme and bay leaf. Bring to the boil, then simmer over medium heat for 15–25 minutes or until the lentils are well cooked. Stir gently during the cooking process to ensure that any lentils on the top don’t dry out. Remove from the heat, strain and they are ready for your patties. ( I would suggest you mash them just a little also).
Add the olive oil to a medium size frypan with the onion, garlic and thyme leaves. Cook over a medium heat (so you hear a gentle sizzle), stirring frequently for about 10 minutes, or until lightly coloured, but not at all fried. Add the beetroot and 1 teaspoon paprika, stir through and continue to cook at a medium heat, hearing a very gentle sizzle until the beetroot is cooked through, but not at all in anyway fried. Taste and add extra paprika as needed. Add a generous amount of freshly ground black pepper and leave to cool a little before adding it to a good size mixing bowl, together with 2 teaspoons miso, 1 very generous cup of millet (you will likely have just a bit left in the pot), the lentils and the eggs. Mix well together with your hands, squishing it as you go, sticking it together. Taste a bit and add the extra miso if the saltiness is required.
Shape into patties and place on a baking tray. These will hold together best if they are put into the fridge for around 30 mins – 1 hour to set up a little.
Place enough olive oil (and/or ghee) in your frying pan to coat the base well. The fat should come about 3 – 4 mm up the side of the pattie. When the fat is hot, but not at all smoking or rippling, add the patties – they should sizzle when they hit the pan. Leave the pattie to cook – do not play with it – it will take around 5 minutes to create a golden (well you have to imagine that it is gold, as the beetroot makes it a little brown) brown crust, then turn it over to cook on the other side. You should find that they hold together just fine. Drain on paper towels before serving.
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