When I'm off from work, one of two scenarios unfolds. I'm either very motivated in the kitchen, or very lazy. I will have to work hard on falling into the former in the months ahead as I enjoy a little time off before the baby comes.
Last week I had a day off, and was extremely motivated. I decided to make M. a healthy feast for dinner, and picked a recipe I've often looked at but never tried. These patties were great! The filling was really tasty - I found myself scooping little bits as I worked on other components of the dish. I did totally blank on the chilling step - our patties did fall apart a bit so I think chilling them before cooking would have been a good idea. Oh well, next time! The flavor was partly Indian, partly fusion (when paired with the peanut sauce) and had a good blend of both fresh and dried spices. The peanut sauce was quick to prepare and very tasty - I wasn't sure about the maple syrup sweetener but there was no discernible mapleness in the final sauce. I paired the patties with a simple chopped salad.
We both enjoyed this meal, and I will definitely make it again. I think I might try a bun instead of the pita bread next time. Both M. and I felt there was a bit too much pita and not quite enough patty. But we did end up with extra patties, so perhaps ours were a bit small. But overall, a tasty (although not quick!) meal that will definitely be repeated in the future.
Red Lentil - Chickpea Patties
The Healthy Hedonist by Myra Kornfeld
3/4 cup red lentils, sorted and rinsed
1 3/4 cups water
1 15 oz can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
3/4 pound carrots cut into small dice (1 cup)
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
1 cup of peas, fresh or frozen
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
1 tsp fresh lemon juice
pinch of cayenne pepper
1/4 cup bread crumbs
6 whole wheat pita breads
shredded romaine lettuce
chopped fresh tomatoes
Spicy Peanut Sauce (recipe below)
Combine the lentils and the water in a medium saucepan, and bring to a boil. Add 1 tsp salt, reduce the heat, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the lentils are tender, about 20 minutes. The lentils should lose their individual shape and cook into one mass. Cook them as dry as possible without sticking. Stir the cooked lentils with a spoon to break them up, and pour them into a medium bowl. Stir in the chickpeas.
Warm the oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add the shallots, carrots, and 1/4 tsp of salt, and cook until the carrots are tender, about 3 minutes. Add the cumin, coriander, and peas, and cook until the peas are tender, 2 minutes. Stir the vegetables into the lentils along with the parsley, lemon juice, and cayenne. Stir in the bread crumbs. Let the mixture sit for ten minutes, or until it is cool enough to handle.
Using your hands, form the lentils into 6 tight patties and place them on a plate. Cover and chill in the refrigerator until very firm, at least 30 minutes.
Warm a tablespoon of oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add the burgers (they are a bit delicate so do not crowd pan). Saute until golden, about 2 minutes. Turn over and saute on other side until golden.
Serve each burger in a pita with Spicy Peanut Sauce, topped with lettuce and tomatoes.
Spicy Peanut Sauce
Makes 3/4 cup
1/3 cup smooth peanut butter
1 tsp curry powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 Tbsp maple syrup
1 Tbsp chopped fresh ginger
1/3 cup water
1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
1/4 tsp cayenne
1 Tbsp thinly sliced scallions or chives
Combine everything except scallions in a blender, and blend until smooth. Stir in scallions. Store covered and refrigerated.