I am quite excited to have my first recipe post to share with you, and to report back on how it worked out for me. I found this recipe online by Kathy Patalsky, and wanted to try it right away. We love sweet potatoes and cook with beans and spinach all the time, so it seemed like a perfect fit! I changed a few small details in the recipe, so I will record exactly what I put in and how I cooked it here. I actually even forgot a stage or two, so I will reproduce the recipe here with my changes added.
- 1 medium sweet potato, baked and peeled
- 16oz. cooked white beans (canned, drained and rinsed)
- 1/2 cup white onion, chopped
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/3 cup flour
- 1/2 – 1 cup finely chopped spinach
First of all I baked the sweet potato in the microwave for about 5 minutes (normally these days I would do it for longer, but when I first tried this recipe I wasn’t used to cooking them in this way. I would recommend 10 minutes at minimum). Then I removed the skin before adding it to a bowl with the cannellini beans. I mashed them up with a fork, then folded in the onions and the rest of the ingredients and continued mashing. When it seemed ready, I shaped eight patties out of the mixture and set them to one side.
Once I had the patties made, I put them one at a time into a frying pan with just a small amount of oil. As they were frying, I noticed that the process was very “dirty” – small pieces of the burger would fall off into the rest of the pan and then burn quickly because of their size, leaving a black ring of tiny crumb fragments wherever the oil went and also coating both sides of the burgers themselves in this black mess. It definitely did not make them look very appetising, and also meant that it was difficult to see how they looked and whether they seemed fully cooked or not.
After I had fried them and served them up, they were still very crumbly. I had to be very careful while moving them to the plates, as they had a tendency to slip off the spatula in pieces. Getting to eat them, we found that they actually tasted quite plain – it was the beans that stood out more than the sweet potato, so perhaps changing the quantities would be an improvement. There was a very soft texture once you got past the burnt bits that stuck to the outside, and the red onions that I used had a strong taste. This was a good thing as with normal onions, I’m not sure there would have been much memorable about the burgers! They were not offensive either, however, particularly since we do eat a lot of beans in stews and suchlike on a regular basis.
I froze some of the burgers to use later, and decided to try something a little bit different when cooking them to improve the flavour. Instead of doing them in oil, I actually put a bit of maple syrup in the frying pan and tried them that way. I much preferred the flavour this time round as it was a lot fuller, and the sweet and smoky syrup went well with the sweet potatoes. This was a huge improvement in my opinion, although it would have made them significantly less healthy to eat! It also seemed to cut down the amount of browning on the edges of the burgers, so that they almost looked edible rather than all black and crusty as before.
The main thing that I managed to leave off the process when I was making them was that the original recipe called for baking them in the oven after frying. I misread this completely and did not put them in the oven at all! Instead I fried them for a little longer than was called for, until they were cooked through. If I get round to trying this again then I will definitely be trying the oven cooking instead, and perhaps leaving out the frying part as suggested on the recipe, so that I don’t get the crispy black bits this time.
Taste – 4/10
Price – 8/10
Rest of experience – 7/10