Friday, May 11, 2012

Pecan & Mushroom Burgers with Blue Cheese Sauce

I've realized something interesting about my daughter (well, interesting to me because I have to feed her). If I mash up food, form it into a patty and slap it on a bun, she'll eat it. It doesn't seem to matter what it is. Because she hates mushrooms, loathes onions (she's notorious for picking them out of everything), and if you put a pecan in front of her, she'll flick it across the table. But she liked these burgers. True, she wouldn't try the blue cheese sauce and opted to have hers with ketchup, but who cares. For all I know, it's even better with ketchup (of course I'll never know, because there's no way I'm passing up blue cheese).

Makes 8 servings

Pecan & Mushroom Burgers:
2/3 cup bulgur
3/4 teaspoon salt, divided
1 cup boiling water
6 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
8 ounces white or brown mushrooms, stems trimmed, wiped clean and chopped
1 1/2 cups chopped onion (1 large)
1 1/2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
3/4 cup pecan halves
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1/2 cup fine dry breadcrumbs
freshly ground pepper, to taste
8 whole wheat buns (optional)
watercress, for garnish

Blue Cheese Sauce:
1/3 cup nonfat plain yogurt
3 tablespoons crumbled blue cheese (1 ounce)
1/2 teaspoon balsamic vinegar

1.      Place bulgur and 1/4 teaspoon salt in a small bowl. Pour the boiling water over, cover and set aside until water is absorbed, about 20 minutes. Drain in a sieve, pressing out excess liquid.
2.      Meanwhile, heat 2 teaspoons oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add mushrooms, onion and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt; cook, stirring, until the vegetables are softened, 8 to 10 minutes. Stir in vinegar. Immediately transfer the mixture to a plate and let cool to room temperature, about 30 minutes.
3.      Toast pecans in a small dry skillet over medium-low heat, stirring, until fragrant, 4 to 6 minutes. Transfer to a plate to cool.
4.      Prepare blue cheese sauce: Combine yogurt, blue cheese and vinegar in a small bowl; blend with a fork to make a chunky sauce. Can make ahead (cover & refrigerate for up to 2 days).
5.      Combine the vegetable mixture and pecans in a food processor; pulse briefly until coarsely chopped. Add egg and the bulgur; pulse briefly, scraping down the sides if necessary, until the mixture is cohesive but roughly textured. Transfer to a bowl; stir in breadcrumbs and pepper. Mix well.
6.      With dampened hands, form the mixture into 8 (1/2-inch-thick) patties, using about 1/2 cup for each. (Can be made ahead. Wrap patties individually and refrigerate for up to 2 days or freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator before cooking.)
7.      Using 2 teaspoons oil per batch, cook 4 patties at a time in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat until evenly browned and heated through, about 4 minutes per side. Meanwhile, split and toast buns, if using, to serve the burgers on. Garnish the burgers with watercress and the cheese sauce, if desired.

soaked bulgur, draining
mushrooms and onions

I bought my mushrooms already sliced and didn't
bother chopping them any more finely (since they
were ending up in the food processor anyway).
adding the balsamic vinegar
mushroom mixture and pecans in the food processor
bulgur and egg added
all mixed
mushroom mixture and breadcrumbs
mixed; ready to form into patties
frying the patties
pecan & mushroom burgers
crumbled blue cheese
adding yogurt
(I used thick Greek yogurt)
adding balsamic vinegar
blue cheese sauce

Because I used such thick yogurt, my sauce is very thick.
burger on a bun with blue cheese sauce & green leaf lettuce
(Obviously I didn't use watercress.)
pecan & mushroom burger with blue cheese sauce

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