31 July 2011

Salt-crusted Burgers with Lentil Hummus and Roasted Red Peppers

I'm back again.  I can't believe that I've gotten 2 posts completed in 2 weeks!  I'm so proud of myself.  And I'm totally loving getting back into sharing my kitchen with you guys again.
I've been doing a little experimenting in the past few months with lentils.  They're something I'm trying to use more of in my meals.  Lentils are a nutritional powerhouse with all sorts of fiber and protein in a calorie-light package. But I honestly had no idea how to use them before I saw this recipe.  I always thought of them as something you should eat, but not actually want to eat.  The more I research I've done, the more I'm finding out that I do actually want to eat them!  I'm looking forward to sharing more of my discoveries in future posts.
Lentils also make a great replacement for the carbs I feel like I'm not "allowed" to eat.  As I started eating less and less "white carbs" like bread and potatoes, I really missed the things that often go along with them, like hamburger buns and hamburgers.  I love love love a really good hamburger, but it seems weird to me to just eat a piece of cooked ground beef on a plate.  So when I came across this recipe, I realized that I had found exactly what I was looking for--I didn't even miss the bun.  Plus, it's super easy, and that is always good.  It's become a staple in my kitchen when I don't feel like cooking a big meal, but don't want to go out, either.  This burger, combined with the lentil hummus and roasted red peppers makes for a great balance of sweet and salty and a little garlicky.  You could even serve this with a nice salad if you would like to get a little more veggies into your day.

A few notes about this recipe:
-It actually calls for canned lentils, but I couldn't find that, so I just used dried lentils.  You'll want to cook them until very tender, it makes blending them much easier.
- If you're not familiar with tahini, it's a paste made out of sesame seeds.  It's also the other staple ingredient in traditional chickpea-based hummus.  You can find it in most grocery stores, but sometimes it's by the peanut butter and sometimes in the ethnic food section.  Here is one brand that I've been able to find easily.
- To prevent the burgers from cooking too fast on the outside and staying raw on the inside, let them sit out at room temperature for 30-60 minutes before cooking them.
- What is really special about these burgers is the crust that forms on the bed of salt at the bottom of the pan.  The salt keeps the burgers slightly off the pan and lets the juices dissolve the salt.  It then forms a crunchy layer on the outside of the burger.  To make sure this happens, try to evenly distribute the salt in an area the same size as the burgers in the pan and place the formed burgers right on top of the salt.
- This recipe makes 2 8oz burgers.  Feel free to make 4 4oz burgers or however you want to do it.
- That also goes for making the hummus, if you want more garlic, add more garlic, or tahini, or lemon juice or whatever. When I make this, I just use the big spoons in my silver wear drawer and take 2 big scoops of tahini out of the jar.  I'm not much for exact measuring unless I'm baking, so don't stress too much.
- I haven't tried it, but I'm sure you could use ground turkey or chicken, but you may need to add a little fat to the pan to keep it from sticking.
Salt-crusted Burgers with Lentil Hummus and Roasted Red Peppers
adapted from: Jules at the Stone Soup
Printable Version

1lb Ground Beef
½ cup Dried Lentils, rinsed
4 Tbsp Lemon Juice
2 cloves Garlic, peeled and smashed
4 Tbsp Tahini
1 Jar Roasted Red Peppers (10Oz)

1. Put drained lentils into a saucepan, cover with about 2" of water and bring to a boil over high heat.  Turn the heat down to medium/med high and simmer for 20 minutes or until very tender. 

2. Meanwhile, heat a frying pan on a very high heat. Sprinkle a scant teaspoon of salt over the base of the pan, concentrating the salt under where you will place your burgers.
3.  Shape the beef into 2 burger patties (the thinner they are, the faster they will cook).   Cook burgers for 3-4 minutes on each side.  This will cook them to medium rare, leave on for longer if you want them a little less pink in the middle.
4.  While the burgers are cooking, blend lentils, lemon juice, garlic and tahini in a food processor or blender until smooth. Taste. Season.

5. When the burgers are cooked, remove from the pan to let rest and add the drained peppers. Cook peppers for a minute or until just heated through.

6. Serve burgers on a scoop of hummus and top with peppers.  Enjoy!

1 comment:

  1. Hi friend!!! I think of you often...when I try to take pretty pictures and even when I clean out the lint vent in my dryer. I remember you cleaning yours out when I was visiting in Alabama years and years ago and it must have changed my life. :) Hope all's well!!!