I have quite the soft spot for the spicy beanburger. This has less to do with the weird, pappy texture and everything to do with the memory it evokes of errant teenage years. My first ever boyfriend was a very angry, very well read and very political vegetarian. He was also an excellent cook. Together we’d stomp around the mean streets of HA2 in our army surplus jackets, going halves on packets of Superkings and taking the proverbial out of all the posh kids from the hill. Our favourite past time was frittering away hours in charity shops and second hand record shops. The best one by far had to be Sellanby on Northolt Road. I once flogged my entire Throwing Muses and Mudhoney collection in there just to scrape together the necessary to make a pavlova. Any particularly good finds would be celebrated with a spicy beanburger from the Wimpy.
These, thankfully are nothing like the ones from the Wimpy. They’re much, much tastier, despite all the salt*. A couple of points – you do need to char the hell out of them and they are pretty crumbly so make sure you cook them properly on each side to ensure a good crust. Also, *you will need a ton of salt. Plus a long list of other ingredients, including an entire jar of chipotle paste. You absolutely must not leave the fresh green chilli out, and I urge you to add more if you feel the need. Oh, and you will need to soak your beans overnight and roast and grate some beetroot. In short, they are a tremendous faff, but they are totally and utterly worth it. This makes enough for about 50 so once you’ve perfected your magenta mastermix you can just stash it away in the freezer forever.
3 large whole beetroot
300g of your favourite dried beans (I went for a mixture of 100g each of aduki, black turtle and kidney) soaked overnight
100g brown rice
2 medium onions
5 cloves garlic
a fistful of coriander stalks, chopped finely
1 dried chipotle
2 heaped tsp. cumin seeds
vegetable stock, about a litre
2 tbsp. cider vinegar
v.fine porridge oats (whizz fat ones in the blender if necessary)
2-3 tsp. Colmans mustard
2 tbsp. dark soy sauce
2 tbsp. dark miso paste
2 tsp. dried thyme
2 tsp. dried oregano
100g jar of chipotle paste
1 tbsp. smoked paprika
1-2 fresh green chillies, finely sliced
a lot of salt. Honestly, I must have used at least 2 tablespoons.
- heat a splash of olive oil and add the cumin seeds, whole chipotle, one of the onions and half the garlic. Once browned add the coriander stalks and the soaked beans, plus enough vegetable stock to cover. Bring to the boil then simmer for an hour.
- Wrap the beetroot in foil and roast at Gas mark 6 for an hour. Add the brown rice to the beans and continue to simmer for another half an hour or until the beans are tender, the rice is cooked and the water has almost evaporated.
- In a small frying pan, fry the remaining onion and garlic. Once browned, splash in the cider vinegar to deglaze and set aside. Allow the beetroot to cool before grating into a bowl. Blitz the rice and bean mixture in a food processor and stir into the grated beetroot (you can either finely chop the whole chipotle or chuck it at this point), adding the fried onion and garlic mixture and enough oats to form a moist mixture (a bit like the texture of mince).
- Season with the mustard, smoked paprika, miso, soy sauce, salt, chipotle paste, thyme and oregano. Stir in the fresh green chilli. Chill in the fridge for a couple of hours before forming into patties and then frying in a little olive oil, ensuring the burgers are well charred on both sides.