What looks like a mess, but a delicious mess? ~ Ham Pie Sandwiches

14 May 2008

What looks like a mess, but a delicious mess?

The answer is: lentil millet quinoa burgers. Or, you know, most of the things I make.

These were accidentally millet And quinoa burgers because I forgot that I'd mixed them up in the same jar and never gotten back to separating them grain by grain. Gracious me, how could such a thing occur? So I thought I was making just lentil and millet burgers until I opened the pot of grain and saw all the little curly businesses curling about.

This also means that I didn't rinse the quinoa, since I wasn't aware I was using it. This did not appear to make a difference. I imagine that's because I was amalgamating the grain so entirely with lentil and spice and etc. If you make quinoa to eat by itself, the result is probably as bitter as you continually hear.

Lentil millet quinoa burgers of delicious doom

cup of dried lentils
cup of mixed quinoa/millet
a yellow onion
olive oil
a hot pepper (serrano)
paprika, cayenne, oregano, basil, marjoram, sage, thyme
fresh parsley
salt and pepper

I started by soaking my lentils for a couple hours, but you don't really need to if you don't mind longer cooking time. Cover them in at least twice their amount of water, more if unsoaked. Bring to a boil; cover; simmer until tender. I used green lentils, but whatever should be fine. Keep in mind that red lentils will disintegrate, though, and add appropriate water accordingly.

At the same time, cover a cup of grain in twice its amount of water. Bring to a boil; cover; simmer until tender. Since I mixed things accidentally, I have no idea what proportions I used of quinoa to millet. You could clearly sub in any proportion you want.

While those two pots are cooking (or the next day, if you are like me and end up shoving your pots in the refrigerator after they're done), chop a yellow onion into fairly small pieces. Put them in a saute pan with some olive oil. Cook slowly, over lowish heat, until good and soft and melty. While they're cooking down, finely mince a hot pepper and add it to the pan. Also start adding dried herbs and spices. Since this mix is going to flavor your entire batch of burgers, be liberal. I used: lots of paprika, medium amounts of oregano, basil, and marjoram, and a little cayenne, sage, and thyme. Let these all cook and meld together for maybe a half hour.

When things are done, preheat the oven to about 325F. Drain lentils and dump them into the grains. Dump in the onion and spice business. If you have any fresh parsley around, chop up a bunch and add that too. Then salt and pepper to taste. I used two or three big pinches of salt, and about the same of pepper.

At this point your mix will look a lot like my picture up there: messy, a little red from the paprika, and sticky. It's time to make burgers.

If you happen to have such things as silpats lying around, you may want to bust them out. If not, be prepared to be careful while turning the burgers later: they're a little sticky and crumbly.

Ok. Get out some cookie sheets. Form burgers and stick them on the sheets in nice rows. You can use wet hands to form nice pretty burgers, or you can just whack down big ladlefuls onto the sheets, then flatten them a little with a spatula. Guess which one I did! Also, guess whether I own anything remotely resembling a silpat!

I got 16 burgers from this amount of ingredients. Hooray freezer food!

Stick burgers into the oven and bake for about 15 minutes. Then go check to see if they're solid enough to turn. If so, carefully turn them all over. Also rotate the sheets to different racks. Check again in ten minutes or so. The burgers are done when they're fully set and browned a little all over.

Eat them!

We made a batch of barbecue sauce with which to eat them, because barbecue sauce is easy and delicious and very flexible when you have things like molasses instead of brown sugar. Also it only takes five minutes, and you have homemade barbecue sauce! Oh my god! I do the barbecue sauce from the Joy of Cooking. In my edition it's on page 90; in the index it's listed under sauces.

Then, when you end up putting 12 of your 16 burgers in the freezer and eating them for dinner a week later, you can baste said burgers with barbecue sauce before sticking them in the oven. I highly approve of this method.

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