Beety Burgers

by Ailbhe on October 7, 2018

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I love beetroot. I even have a fond spot for the mouth-puckering, astringent pickled-sliced-beetroot-in-a-jar of my childhood (although saying that, the fondness is of a distant memory as nowadays I get my pickle thrills from either east european or asian pickles or I make my own). The point being that I love beetroot in any form. In fact, while I have been known to run out of wine to drink* I have always some vacuum packed beetroot at the bottom of the veggie drawer. Beetroot and chocolate, two things I’m never known to be without!

What do I like about beetroot you didn’t ask? Well where do I start? Colour that’s where dahlings, col-our… fabulous and not only fabulous but no matter how hard you try to be careful and tidy and wear gloves and goggles and aprons and take all the precautions in the world, there will be a moment when you look in the mirror or take your t-shirt off that night (which was under another top and covered with an apron) and you spot a glowing pink spot. Or two! Beetroot pink just reaches parts that other veggies can only dream of.

And the taste… addictive. Earthy and comforting that can be paired so well with similarly earthy lentils, simply add chopped soft herbs and a dressing of olive oil, zesty lemons and garlic – better still try them paired with an orange dressing and roasted hazelnuts – it stands patient with chilli or buddies well with fennel. And slices of warm beetroot, wilted fresh beetroot leaves all with a light herby citrus dressing, a chilled soft goat’s cheese and some fresh walnuts just needs some crusty bread, a comfy chair and good music playing to enter a state of beetroot bliss.

So what’s this all about? Well I just remembered I had 2 beetroot bulbs in the fridge. Raw and ready to bake and toss in a dressing for a salad when out of nowhere the weather cooled**. I needed some rooty beety comfort and so this beety burger beckoned. I am also too well aware that I’ve not posted a recipe in yonks and who can resist drawing pink food? Not me.

This was a very good decision. Beety Burger is a great vegetarian recipe and because I used gram (chickpea) flour it’s gluten-free. Lots of boxes ticked off there with a big fat tick in the Fabulous box! Go try.

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Beety Burger

2 raw beetroots, peeled and grated (about 360g)
1 medium eating apple, unpeeled but grated (about 125g)
2 spring onions, chopped
1 egg
gram (chickpea / besan) flour (I used 80g)
pinch of Aleppo chilli flakes
(or your favourite chilli, enough for a little kick but not to overpower)
grated zest of half a lemon
good pinch of salt
good grind of black pepper

Mix all the ingredients.

Fry off a little of the mix to check seasoning (when I did that it was the catalyst to my decision that grated apple was required in the recipe to add some sweetness and juiciness). Maybe you want more chilli or perhaps you’d fancy some chopped coriander or dill. Tweak away is what I say.

Prepare a tray / plate that will fit into the fridge to chill. I lined my baking tray with baking paper.
I also put some extra gram flour in a small bowl to use next.

Wearing food gloves to save your hands’ blushes, form the mix into 6 burgers patties. This will be messy and will involve sprinkling the beet patties with the extra gram flour and placing on the tray or a plate, covering them all with some cling film to leave and chill and hopefully firm up. Leave for a few hours but at least 30 mins.

Heat the oven to 180C.
Pop the tray directly into the oven checking after 15 mins to see if the burgers are firm enough to turn over. Cook for around 30 in total.

Alternatively start the cooking by frying each of the soft beet burgers in a lightly oiled pan (non-stick will make you life easier but I own no such pan). When each side is lightly browned place the burgers in a ovenproof dish and cook at 180C for 20 mins. This may give you a better crust to the burger but cooking in the oven from start gives you time to listen to The Archers in peace as you sip some pastis. If that’s your thing (it is mine).

Serve with lightly pickled carrots, radishes and cucumber and a dollop of greek yoghurt to which some chopped dill or mustard and gherkins have been added. And a green salad if you fancy, green being a fabulous foil to pink.

Enjoy.

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*Obviously when I say “run out of wine to drink” I mean the everyday drinking wine, there’s always a special bottle or two tucked away somewhere. C’mon, people, I’m not an animal!

**Again, a slight exaggeration, it’s now October so not “out of nowhere” more a case of “it’s October and…” but some drama was needed there I felt. Humour me.

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