Several winters ago, we decided to branch out cooking-wise with the goal of both experiencing new flavors as well as learning certain anchors and techniques partial to a specific cuisine. The deal was that anytime we’d be making more than a five-minute serving of sustenance, we would cook the chosen cuisine. Our aim was to spend a month on one cuisine and then move onto another. To be honest I forget why, but back then first in the rotation was Southern Indian, and as we cracked open Savoring the Spice Coast of India (Maya Kaimal), Indian Appreciation Month was born.
The recipes were delicious, if quite time consuming, and Indian Appreciation Month dishes were quickly relegated to the weekends. We therefore needed not one but *three* months to exhaust all of the options! Which was fine, since a. it was winter and b. the food was delicious.
The next cuisine in the rotation was up for discussion of course, but I think after an entire quarter of devotion, we were happy to return to variety. That said, Mexican and Italian were carefully considered before we started roving the streets of Manhattan for anything but dahl. But from time to time, we’ve mentioned reinstating an Appreciation Month.
WHICH BRINGS ME TO!!! A mini-Mexican Appreciation Month (aiming for a week) in honor of the upcoming Cinco de Mayo. And thanks to The Best Mexican Recipes, by America’s Test Kitchen, I have already found that while some dishes do seem complex and involved, others are perfectly weekday friendly. So without further adieu, let’s dive into the smokey, creamy, firey, sweet and subtle flavors of Mexican food, starting with these outstanding Black Bean Burgers and accompanying Guacamole.
Black Bean Burgers with Traditional Guacamole
Hands-On Time: 30 minutes
Kitchen Equipment: Potato masher or food processor.
- 3/4 Cup fresh or thawed frozen corn
- 2 15 oz cans black beans, rinsed and drained
- 2 Large eggs
- 1 Tbsp minced canned chipotle chile in adobo sauce
- 1 Tsp ground cumin
- 1/2 Tsp salt
- 1 Cup panko bread crumbs
- 1/4 Cup finely diced red bell pepper
- 1/4 Cup finely chopped cilantro
- 1 Shallot, finely chopped
- 5 Tablespoons vegetable oil (canola is fine), measured individually as you go.
- Set the colendar in the sink and dump the black beans into. Rinse throughly and leave to drain.
- Heat 1 tbsp of oil in the frying pan over medium-high heat until runny. Add the corn and stir occasionally as the kernels begin to brown and snap, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat.
- Measure 2 & 1/2 cups beans from the colander and using the potato masher or food processor, smoosh or process until nearly smooth. Set aside for now.
- In a large mixing bowl, add eggs, chipotle, cumin, salt and whisk together. Add in processed beans and stir throughly to incorporate.
- Then stir in corn, panko, bell pepper, cilantro, shallot, whole beans and mix gently but throughly to evenly incorporate.
- Divide mixture into six portions and form into approximately hockey-puck sized burgers. (At this point, I added a generous pinch more panko as the mix felt just a bit too wet.) Wrap individually in plastic wrap and place in the fridge for up to 24 hours or in the freezer for three weeks, OR, cook right away!
- Heat 1-2 tbsp oil in the same pan used for the corn over medium-high heat.
- Gently place burgers, up to three at a time, into frying pan and cook until well browned on both sides, about 5 minutes per side. It’s helpful to flip them regularly to prevent burning.
- If necessary, keep cooked burgers warm in a 200 degree oven as you finish the batch.
Serve with your favorite guacamole (pictured here, a chunkier, more traditional version made from: 3 ripe avocados, 1/4 cup minced fresh cilantro, 1 jalapeño chile, stemmed, seeded and minced, 2 tbsp finely diced red onion, juice from 1 lime, 2 garlic cloves, minced, 1/2 tsp ground cumin & salt to taste) and a soft bun.
Note: Black Bean Burgers and Chunky Guacamole Recipes first featured in America’s Test Kitchen’s The Best Mexican Recipes.