Since setting up my “Recipes” page I’ve hinted at the fact that we make mushroom burgers. The time for the post has finally come, but I think first a few things need to be said for any type of non-meat burger. We’re not trying to… trick anyone here. I’m not going to serve this to you, raising my eyeybrows exaggeratedly and prompting you: “So, uh, whadaya think, huh? Good, huh? Can’t even tell there’s no meat in there, huhhhhh?!” While some store-bought patties do attempt to maybe replicate a meaty texture or put some “char-broiled” lines on there, I can honestly say I’ve never gone into a vegetarian-burger-eating-experience expecting to think I was eating McDonald’s (*shudders*… though I’m man enough to admit that after five-and-a-half years of vege/pescetarianism I still do get the odd Mickey-D’s craving. Just because I like to go on the random anti-fast food diatribe about how there’s nothing real in there doesn’t mean they don’t succeed in making it taste good…).
And on the subject of tricking people, (I can’t help myself) I must here include a short anecdote about when I was home from college once, eating MorningStar Mini Corn Dogs, and my youngest brother entered the room in astonishment. “Are you eating corn dogs?!” And oh, the naivete, I oh-so-easily convinced him that, oddly enough, corn dogs were the one meat item I was absolutely unable to give up, and would he like one? The kid can’t be paid to go near a meatless product normally, but he gobbled the thing right up. Here I probably did raise my eyebrows exaggeratedly, prompting, “So, uh, whadaya think, huh? Good, huh?” To which he responded yes, to which I responded he’d just eating a veggie dog, to which he responded, “Uhhhh. I knew there was a vegetable aftertaste!” (There’s not.) See, told you I’d make it short!
Anyway just a few more disclaimers about these before posting photos and recipes:
1) If nothing else, please please please try the homemade hamburger buns. They’re lovely every time with these burgers. They’re lovely every morning after as vehicles for egg sandwiches. Honestly, I think they’d be grand just on their own with some butter as dinner rolls (and, of course, as buns for normal hamburgers as well). They taste great and, for me anyway, there’s always just the satisfaction of having made something unexpected all by yourself!
2) We forgot to get cheese before this bout of burger-making. They’re nice anyway, but it’s my opinion that everything’s better with melted cheese dripping off of it. I did get excited for a second and announce to Wayne, “Oh well! We’re just doing the vegan version!” But… we always serve them with a tzatziki-style yogurt sauce. And there’s egg in the buns. *Palm to forehead* D’oh!
3) I’ve come to the painful acceptance that the photos of this particular dish don’t really do it justice. I’m well aware that they just, simply put, don’t really look that appetizing (though, feel free to correct me if I’m wrong!). I guess what’s important to remember is that mushrooms are just nature’s sponges (in addition to… actual sponges) and if you’re a fan of balsamic vinegar, that’s the primary ingredient in the marinade and that’s the prominent flavor. Mixed with some onion and garlic, which become sauteed, and then served with the yogurt sauce and home-grown veg (on homemade buns)… I mean, it’s just a real nice combination, y’all. (In my best Paula Deen impression.)
Alright. /disclaimers. Commence recipe.
Balsamic-Marinated Mushroom Burgers with Yogurt Sauce
For the buns (which should be considered ahead of time, since the rest of the dish is real quick and these need extra time on account of the rising):
3/4 cup warm water (her recipe says “hot,” and it took me two attempts killing my yeast before I realized that just… wasn’t the best adjective. When activating yeast, you never want your water to be hotter than is comfortable to the touch.)
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp honey
2 tsp instant yeast
1 tsp salt
3-4 cups of flour
1. Mix water, olive oil, honey, yeast, salt, egg, and about 1.5 cups of flour in a large bowl. Beat until smooth.
2. Add another cup of flour and begin slowly kneading, adding more flour as necessary (usually about another cup-and-a-half). After about 5 minutes the dough should have come together well enough that you can form a solid ball.
3. Let the ball rest for a few minutes, then divide (as evenly as possible) into 8 portions. As you might have guessed, mine always come out a little uneven. Roll these into balls, place along a greased cookie sheet, flatten out a bit, and let “rise until doubled.” Kara suggests half an hour, I let mine go even a little longer and I can’t honestly say they doubled, but they rose enough in the oven to make it work.
4. Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit (177 degrees Celsius) for 15-18 minutes. Try to have this coincide with the burgers finishing because they’re extra nice when fresh!
Also, just to again give credit where it’s due, this is almost the exact recipe from CreationsbyKara.com, with the exception that I substituted honey for sugar. And, as I noted in the flatbread for my mini-pizzas, I always require more flour than the recipe states.
For the burgers:
4-8 oyster mushrooms, depending on their size. (In theory you want one to a bun, but you can’t always find them big enough. Also, back home I’d probably be inclined to go with portobello. In Thailand [and China, where we first started making these] those are hard to come by so we go with the largest mushrooms available in the Asian markets.)
1/2 cup of balsamic vinegar
2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
salt and pepper to taste
shredded cilantro and basil, optional
This one’s easy… combine ingredients and let sit as long as your little heart desires. (Remember, mushrooms=sponges, they’ll marinate quickly).
While the ‘shrooms are marinating and the bread is baking, why don’t you go ahead and throw together some nice yogurt sauce?
For the yogurt sauce:
1 container of plain yogurt
the juice of one lemon (in theory… we often find ourselves using lime because it’s more available here)
a handful of chopped cilantro
2 garlic cloves, minced
half of a cucumber, finely sliced/chopped
Again… too easy. Throw in a bowl and stir.
Time to cook. Heat another tablespoon of oil in a pan over medium. Throw in mushrooms (and marinade). Allows to cook until mushrooms have heated all the way through (they can be flipped a time or two), the onion is translucent, and half of the vinegar has evaporated/reduced; about 5 minutes (if you have cheese, throw it on after flipping and with about 2 minutes to spare. Putting a lid over the pan to catch steam can speed the melting process).
Prepare buns and assemble toppings.
Assemble les burgers.
Sorry, no cute pictures of Ollie attempting to trade cuteness for a bite. Oh but I do have this picture of my bike, originially owned by Jack, recently purchased off Emma as she set off for Australia last week. You will be missed! (But I’m lovin’ the wheels!)