West Indian Bean and Brown Rice Burgers

Our island-inspired burgers served above with avocado, garden greens and a mixed tomato and onion salad.

The burger mixture keeps well, covered and refrigerated, for 2 days. Make the burgers Monday night and pan-fry some more Wednesday evening! If you're cooking for 3-4 people, our recipe makes enough for one meal.

The bright and varied hues of the Caribbean are evoked in our salad made from red onions, green chilies and Honey Drop and Green Zebra tomatoes.

As easy and breezy as an afternoon on a tropical isle, these burgers are the ideal mid-week meal, provided you have already-cooked rice in the fridge. If you don't there are several varieties of pre-cooked brown rice for sale at the supermarket and there's always that lazy standby, the Chinese takeout. Cafe Drake HRV literally pulled this recipe together one night when the following ingredients were practically ALL that we had on hand.

In a medium bowl mash 1 15-oz can of rinsed and drained black beans with a fork. You don't need a puree, just make sure there are no whole beans left intact. Add to the mixing bowl 1 cup cooked brown rice, 1/4 cup whole wheat bread crumbs, 4 thinly slivered scallions, a dash of garlic powder, a large dash ground allspice, 1 t. dried thyme leaves (up to 1 T. if using fresh), 2 t. grated lime zest, 1 T. lime juice and 1 minced hot chile.

(Cafe Drake HRV grows tons of habanero peppers and, being essentially the same in heat and flavor as the Caribbean Scotch Bonnet, we employed one straight from the garden. Habaneros, while more authentic, are exceedingly hot however, so if your tastes run to milder spice levels, use a serrano or jalapeno.)

Now, season with salt and black pepper. Mix everything together with your wet, clean hands.You're going to need quite a bit of salt but start by adding a bit and increasing the amount until you get it to your taste. If the mixture isn't holding together too well, add a few more breadcrumbs. ALSO, if using an habanero pepper, either use thin gloves while mixing or wash your hands with soup and water immediately after mixing to prevent oils from the chili burning your skin.

At this point you can refrigerate the mix or fry as patties immediately. To prepare, simply shape into burgers and pan-fry in a lightly oiled skillet over medium heat, about 4-5 minutes per side. 

Serve on a bun with slices of tomato and red onion, or simply with a side salad.


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