This week involves giving a bunch of credit where credit is due. For starters, this whole idea and the mustard comes from here. To follow that, a pair of store-bought items make this complex-looking enterprise relatively breezy:
If that photograph appeals to you, skip right on down to the recipe and get started. But don't overlook the considerable charms of this robust veggie burger (and honestly, the final product is greater than the sum of its parts). To put together a burger serious enough to hold up to onion rings, hoppy beer, and potent dijon mustard, start with a heap of mushrooms. Thinly sliced mushrooms, once sauteed, give incredible texture, and here we cram as many into these burgers as possible while still making sure they hold together. Round the patties out with earthy black beans, slap them on the (indoor electric) grill, and you have a really fun meal on your hands.
Multitasking makes this dish come together fairly smoothly, so read through the recipe before getting started. The mustard beer sauce can be made first thing, or even the day before.
Note that this recipe yields roughly twice as much beer mustard as you'll need for this quantity of burgers (and we suggest you be generous with the sauce on these guys), but have no fear. It's great on everything. Toss it with a grain salad, or a green salad, or dip the rest of your onion rings in it. It's zippy, spicy, sweet, and even a little floral from the hops. Dead simple to put together, and a total win for mustard lovers, it's a recipe we're keeping close by.
Mushroom-Black Bean Burger with Onion Rings and Mustard Beer Sauce
serves 4, adapted from Climbing Grier Mountain
1 lb button mushrooms, wiped clean with a damp cloth
1 15-oz can black beans
frozen onion rings (at least 8, more if you like)
2 TBSP olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 TBSP reduced-sodium tamari
2 tsp red wine vinegar
1/2 tsp liquid smoke
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/4 cup unsalted chopped pecans
1/4 cup rolled oats
1/2 tsp fine sea or kosher salt
4 whole wheat burger buns
4-6 TBSP Mustard Beer Sauce, recipe follows
Preheat oven to 400. Meanwhile, remove and discard tough stems from mushrooms and very thinly slice the caps (cut in half any mushrooms larger than 2 inches in diameter before slicing). Drain and rinse the beans in a sieve and set aside to let drain.
Place onion rings on a baking sheet on a rack in the middle of the oven and bake for 10 minutes. Flip carefully and cook until golden, another 3-5 minutes. Set aside.
Meanwhile, heat oil in a skillet. Add mushrooms and garlic. Cook until mushrooms have released their liquid, 3-5 minutes. Add tamari, vinegar, liquid smoke, paprika, and thyme. Cook another 3 minutes, or until all liquid has evaporated (the mushrooms will remain moist). Set aside.
Heat a countertop electric grill(*). Meanwhile, use a coffee grinder to process the pecans and oats--in separate batches--into a fine meal. Add to a mixing bowl and stir in the 1/2 tsp salt. Add drained black beans. Mash roughly with a fork until you get a thoroughly mixed dough with some whole beans remaining. Stir in mushrooms. Form four large patties (dampen your hands in between as needed to prevent sticking). Cook with the grill closed until golden and cooked through, 8-10 minutes. Carefully use a thin, wide spatula to transfer them to a plate--they will be delicate at this point--and let cool 5 minutes. During this time, they'll firm up and become much easier to handle.
Preheat oven broiler, cut buns in half, and toast cut sides. Serve burgers topped with onion rings (two per burger, or to taste) and a tablespoon or so of mustard beer sauce.
Mustard Beer Sauce
1/4 cup pale ale, such as Sierra Nevada
1/2 cup dijon mustard
2 TBSP natural cane sugar (evaporated cane juice)
Let ale sit at room temperature for about an hour to allow the beer to lose some of its carbonation. Whisk beer together with mustard and sugar. Adjust seasoning, if needed. (Commercially prepared dijon mustards typically contain enough salt that you won't need to add any, but your mileage may vary.)
(*These should also work reasonable well in a skillet, browning on both sides, but be very careful when you flip them to keep the burgers intact. If you have success baking them, let us know.)