Twice a week, I volunteer at my local Budget Office as their receptionist. Today was one of those days. Today was also not very warm (although 15 degrees in July is not *cold* really), and it was heavy showers for portion of the day… I decided last night that we would have homemade burgers for dinner tonight.
Now this is normally an easy fix dinner. Throw some beef mince in a bowl, add a few bits and bobs for flavouring and seasoning, bang it into a hot frypan, cook until browned and cooked through. Right?
Wellll….. not so easy fix in this house. You see, my eldest child – Miss 20 – is vegetarian. Simple, you might think. There are vegetarian patties in the supermarket. Errrrr. No. Well, yes. But, no. Yes there are vegetarian patties in the supermarket chilled shelves (we have tried pretty much all of them, with varying degrees of success). But none of them have met with Miss 20’s absolute approval. Until tonight when I MADE vegetarian burger patties for her (and non-vegetarian ones for us). HUGE success. And actually quite easy.
A few weeks ago, I happened to see in the reduced to clear section of a local supermarket, a couple of 500gm tubs of Olive Grove Felafel Mix.
This stuff is great to keep in the freezer or fridge for easy, fast and delicious meals. You (I) can make small felafel patties (great for adding to a pita pocket with lettuce, tomato, and a bit of plain yoghurt with mint and parsley dressing), felafel balls (like meat balls) or felafel burgers. I buy these tubs up when they are reduced and pop them in the freezer for future use. Just defrost the day before and give a good stir before using.
Tonight, I used about 200gm (or a third of a tub) of the felafel mix, about a cup of leftover (unminted) peas from last night that I mashed, a medium grated carrot (unpeeled, but quartered and cored), a zucchini (grated), one egg, and salt and pepper.
When you grate the apple and the zucchini, make sure that you squeeze as much juice out of the grated fruit as you possibly can. The drier the better (this goes for the non-vegetarian burger patties recipe below as well).
Mix the felafel mix, mashed peas, grated zucchini, grated apple, egg, and salt and pepper together with your hands.
When thoroughly mixed, form good sized handfuls of mix into palm-sized (or slightly bigger) patties. You want the patties to be the width of your finger thick.
You can either pan fry the patties, or just put them onto some baking paper and bake them at 180 – 200 degrees for 20 – 30 minutes. Or as I did tonight, pan fry to get the colour and then pop them into the oven to finish cooking.
Miss 20 said that they were the BEST vegetarian patties she has EVERY had (and she has a lot of vego food at Uni). They were moist and succulent, and the apple gave *just* the smallest amount of sweetness to the patty that made it tasty.
For the non-vegetarians in the house, I made Pork and Apple Burgers. I have been making these for probably close to 10 years now. They are a great way to get more veges into our diets, and a really great option when pork mince is cheaper than beef mince! This recipe serves 4 decent serves. I use half the recipe for me and Miss 5.
500gm pork mince
2 medium apples, quartered and cored, and grated.
2 medium zucchini, grated
3 T breadcrumbs
salt and pepper to taste
Make sure that you squeeze as much juice from the apple and zucchini as possible. The fruit adds moisture to the mix, but if you don’t squeeze out the juice, there is too much moisture and the patties fall apart rather than stay as patties.
Mix all together. Form into slightly bigger than palm sized patties, about the thickness of the width of your finger.
Pan fry in hot oil until browned on both sides, then pop onto a baking-paper lined tray (I use a sponge roll tin) and into the oven preheated to 180 – 200degrees, for 20 – 30 minutes until cooked through.
Now comes the fun part: assembling the burger!
You can basically put whatever you desire into your burger. Miss 20 has no affection with onions so that is a no-go for her, but smooshed avocado, cheese, lettuce, tomato, mayo, and tomato sauce are givens. She will also usually have pineapple on her burger, but she has a sore mouth tonight so opted out of that.
Miss 5 had pineapple, lettuce, cheese, and tomato (and mayo and tomato sauce of course). I had smooshed avocado, cheese, bacon, red onion rings, lettuce, tomato, mayo, and tomato sauce.
What do you serve these with?? Normally, the go-to would be oven fries (if you drizzle with a *little* oil before cooking, they don’t tend to dry out), but tonight, I decided to try the McCormicks Italian Herb Roast Potato mix. Only, to mix things up a bit, I used potatoes, orange kumara (on special this week at my local New World for $2.99 for a kg bag), and parsnip. It’s simple:
Cut the veges into chunks. Drizzle with 1 T oil. Mix well. Sprinkle over the McCormicks mix. Mix well to coat. Tip onto a lined tray, and into the oven at 200 degrees for 35 – 40 minutes. Done.
Wanna see the finished dinner?????