Butterbean Burger

Even hardcore carnivores love Vivian’s downeast version of the veggie burger. It's made all the better with flavor-packed butterbeans!

(Makes 12 patties)

4 cups butterbeans, also called baby lima beans in the freezer section of your grocer
1 bay leaf
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
5 teaspoons salt, divided
1/4 cup olive oil
2 large yellow onions, peeled & sliced very thinly with the grain
1/2 cup roasted garlic puree
3 teaspoons ground cumin
1 tablespoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon chipotle powder
1 tablespoon Worcestershire (Vegetarians, use an anchovy-free Worcestershire sauce)
1 1/2 cups cooked brown rice 
1 cup panko bread crumbs

Cover the butter beans, bay leaf, and black pepper with cool water in a 4 quart pot. Bring the butter beans up to a simmer and skim off any scum that rises to the top. Cook the beans until they are completely tender and add 2 teaspoons of salt to the pot. Let the beans sit for about ten minutes in the seasoned water, then drain.

Meanwhile, in a medium sauté pan, cook the onions in the olive oil for about 30 minutes, or until they are slightly caramelized. You’re looking for a honey color on these. In a large bowl, toss the beans together with everything but the bread crumbs. Transfer this mixture to the bowl of a food processor and blend until it’s mostly broken down. You should be looking at a mixture that is about 70% paste and 30% recognizable pieces.

Transfer the contents of the food processor back to the bowl and stir in the bread crumbs. Let the burger mix rest for about 30 minutes. This will allow the bread crumbs to become acquainted with the bean paste, providing a sturdier burger.

Divide the bean mix into 12, roughly 5 oz portions and patty them out to 1/2 inch thickness. When you’re ready to cook your burger, heat a little oil in a sauté pan until nearly smoking. Add the burger and let it brown on one side for about 3 minutes. Once it’s nice and caramelized, even crispy, on that side flip the burger and brown on the opposite side.

You could, for sure, serve this on a bun with the accouterments of your choosing (I like smoked Gouda, crispy onions and a combination of ketchup and mayo), or you could just eat it with a fork alongside a salad with a bright vinaigrette.

Tips/Techniques: You could substitute really any bean of your liking here. Also, these patties freeze great and can be cooked from frozen with great success.