A fine vegeburger

OK, so it’s never going to be a fine steak burger. But in our house, a confirmed vegetarian would never eat a steakburger anyway. So the search is always on for a good, tasty veggieburger that does’t taste of dehydrated soy product. I think this might be it.

Finely grate one carrot. Microwave 4 small potatoes. Finely chop half a pack of vacuum packed chestnuts. Finely chop about 5cm from the tops of a bunch of spring onions. Finely chop a handful of flatleaf parsley. You will notice I have not used the food processor! A little gentle chopping is very soothing. And chopping in a processor does tend to bring out the juice in any of the ingredients.

Remove the potatoes from their skins and put in a bowl with all the other ingredients. Add a quarter of a teaspoon of cayenne pepper, a good grind of black pepper, salt, a teaspoon of freshly ground coriander seed. The secret ingredient is a dessert spoon of goat curd – or you could use cream cheese. This helps bind it all together without the need for an egg, which would make it too wet. Get your hands in the bowl and squeeze all the ingredients together.

Form into burgers (or sausage shapes), dip in beaten egg, then drop into coarse semolina or polenta, mixed with some cayenne (to your taste) and make sure it is all covered. Put on a plate and put in the fridge for half an hour.While the burgers are settling down and recovering, fry some onions and set aside. Make a chopped salad. In ours tonight we had cucumber, apple and dill; fresh fennel and avocado; chicory, red pepper and celery. The dressing was a thick vinaigrette, loosened with a little plain yogurt and a dash of maple syrup.

Heat some oil in a frying pan and fry the burgers gently on both sides will they are golden then stuff between tasted focaccia (left over from lunch today) with the onions. Serve with the salad and maybe sauce, or chutney or wholegrain mustard.

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