Fava Bean Burgers

by angelika on August 31, 2011

I don’t normally have the best luck when attempting veggie burgers from scratch. I have issues with them falling apart. When I saw this recipe for fava bean burgers in Ottolenghi’s cookbook Plenty I knew I had to try them, past bad luck be damned.  I love fava beans, they are so buttery and rich. I’ve posted two fava recipes already this summer, Fava Bean Crostini and Asparagus and Fava Risotto. Fava’s are about to leave for the year. They may actually be gone for some readers, but don’t fret, you can use frozen beans just as easily for these burgers. What you are bound to find, is that these burgers are incredible. The buttery smooth taste of the favas come through, and they are punctuated with an exotic combination of coriander, cumin and fennel. The addition of a lemon yogurt and sour cream sauce makes you feel as if you were transported to the exotic parts of the Mediterranean for your supper. 

Fava Bean Burgers
serves 4
3/4 teaspoon cumin seeds
3/4 teaspoon coriander seeds
3/4 teaspoon fennel seeds
1/2 lb spinach 
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 cups shelled fava beans
1 cup peas
3/4 lb potato, peeled and diced
1/2 green chili, seeded and minced
2 garlic cloves, pressed
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
salt and pepper
3 tablespoons cilantro, minced
6 tablespoons dried breadcrumbs
1 egg
1/2 cup flavorless oil like grapeseed or sunflower
lemon sauce:
3 tablespoons Greek yogurt
3 tablespoons sour cream
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon chopped cilantro
salt and pepper to taste

Place the seeds in a pan and dry roast them until fragrant. Then blend them in a spice grinder or with a mortar and pestle.

Wilt the spinach in a hot pan with 1 tablespoon of olive oil. When cool enough to handle, squeeze out all the liquid. Chop and set aside. 

Blanch the fava beans in boiling water for one minute. Drain and run under cold water. Pierce the skins with your nail and squeeze out the bright green bean. Discard the skins. The original recipe calls for 3 cups of fava beans, but I bought the last 3 lbs of favas that my store had, so I added a cup of peas. You can use all fava beans if you’d like. 
Cook the potatoes in boiling salted water until they are tender. Drain and place them in a large bowl. Immediately add the fava beans and peas, the spice blend, chili, garlic, turmeric and remaining two tablespoons of olive oil. Mash the mixture together using a potato masher. Don’t worry if not all the beans are totally mashed, this gives the burgers a really nice texture.

Add the spinach, cilantro and breadcrumbs and a pinch of salt and pepper. Taste and adjust seasoning, then add the egg. 
With wet hands, shape the mix into fat patties roughly 2 inches in diameter. Chill for at least half an hour.   I think this resting time in the refrigerator is really helpful in keeping the burgers together. 
To cook, heat the sunflower or grapeseed oil on high heat, then add the burgers and fry until golden brown. About 5 minutes per side. Drain onto a paper towel. 

To make the sauce, comine all the ingredients and whisk until smooth.
Serve the burgers with some sauce on top and a side salad. 
A votre santé!

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