Black Bean Burgers

I’ve posted quite a few burger recipes lately. Okay, two, but they’ve been close together so it feels like more. But I’ve decided to embrace the burger bandwagon this summer, so here’s one more burger recipe, this time for another variation on the classic, using black beans instead of ground meat.


The burgers looked pulled together, but as soon as they hit our mouths they nearly broke apart. That didn’t stop them from being delicious. Cumin helps pump up the black bean flavor, and mashed avocados, well, when aren’t they a good idea? I’ll eat avocados anywhere, anytime, and black bean burgers are a wonderful canvas for them. If you have a few leftover burger buns, this is a great way to use them.

Black Bean Burgers

Gourmet | February 2009

2 (14-ounce) cans black beans, rinsed and drained, divided
3 tablespoons mayonnaise
1/3 cup plain dry bread crumbs
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon dried oregano, crumbled
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
1/4 cup finely chopped cilantro
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
4 soft hamburger buns

Accompaniments: sour cream; salsa; lettuce


Pulse 1 can beans in a food processor with mayonnaise, bread crumbs, cumin, oregano, and cayenne until a coarse purée forms. Transfer to a bowl and stir in cilantro and remaining can beans. Form mixture into 4 patties.

Heat oil in a 12-inch heavy skillet over medium-high heat until it shimmers. Cook burgers until outsides are crisp and lightly browned, turning once, about 5 minutes total. Serve on buns.

Chicken with Three M’s: Mustard, Mascarpone and Marsala

I realize that lately I keep saying “this is my new favorite... INSERT DISH HERE.” I suppose it’s a side effect of trying so many new recipes. Sure, I have my staples. This soup. This pasta. And a few others. But it’s been a while since chicken has really amazed me. Though skin, definitely, is a big help. For months and months I had only skinless, boneless chicken in my freezer. Bor-ing. There was only so much of it I could take. So during my latest Costco trip, I broke free and grabbed bags of skin-on thighs. I’m so glad I did.


And did you know you can make Chicken Marsala without Marsala? I suppose at that point it would need a new title, but don’t cast this recipe aside if you don’t already have some in the fridge. I added a splash each of white wine and balsamic vinegar instead and it was wonderful. The mushrooms add an earthy flavor and taste delicious wrapped up in creamy mascarpone sauce.


Chicken with Three M's: Mustard, Mascarpone and Marsala

Adapted from Giada de Laurentiis


1 1/2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts, each breast cut crosswise into 3 pieces (I used four chicken thighs)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
5 tablespoons butter, divided
3/4 cup chopped onion
1 pound cremini mushrooms, sliced
2 tablespoons minced garlic
1 cup dry Marsala wine (I substituted splashes of balsamic and white wine vinegar)
1 cup (8 ounces) mascarpone cheese
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley leaves, plus whole sprigs, for garnish
12 ounces dried fettuccine


Sprinkle the chicken with salt and pepper. Heat the oil in a heavy large skillet over high heat. Add the chicken and cook just until brown, about 4 minutes per side. Transfer the chicken to a plate and cool slightly.

While the chicken cools, melt 2 tablespoons of butter to the same skillet over medium-high heat, then add the onion and saute until tender, about 2 minutes. Add the mushrooms and garlic and saute until the mushrooms are tender and the juices evaporate, about 12 minutes. Add the wine and simmer until it is reduced by half, about 4 minutes. Stir in the mascarpone and mustard. Cut the chicken breasts crosswise into 1/3-inch-thick slices. Return the chicken and any accumulated juices to the skillet. Simmer, uncovered, over medium-low heat until the chicken is just cooked through and the sauce thickens slightly, about 2 minutes. Stir in the chopped parsley. Season the sauce, to taste, with salt and pepper.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the fettuccine and cook until al dente, stirring occasionally, about 8 minutes. Drain. Toss the fettuccine with 3 tablespoons of butter and season, to taste, with salt and pepper. Swirl the fettuccine onto serving plates. Spoon the chicken mixture over top. Garnish with parsley sprigs and serve.

Crispy Black Bean Tacos

For a southern Californian, Mexican and Tex-Mex dishes impart a certain comfort-food quality. The cooking style is plentiful, authentic in many venues from taco carts to restaurants, and I've stood in long lines to claim my handmade tortillas at Santa Barbara's La Super Rica Taqueria. Two years ago during a terrible lapse in judgment, I ordered fajitas at a Mexican restaurant in Vermont. Though I'm not an expert, I know fajitas should not be served with carrots, but they were nestled among the onions and peppers, along with ketchup on the side. So sad. I think it's fair to say that there are some things (like clam chowder), that New England does exceptionally well. Mexican isn't one of them.

Fajitas were one of my favorite foods to make when I began cooking more seriously in college. They were easy, flavorful, and involved guacamole – always a good thing. For years it was always the same: grilled chicken, yellow, red and orange peppers, caramelized onions, and sour cream, cheese, and guacamole for garnish. I finally branched out to steak fajitas, but have recently put them aside (Ok, I make them once a month instead of once a week) and have been more adventurous with dishes like beer battered fish tacos (very California), and these Crispy Black Bean tacos.

It’s also helpful that I actually eat black beans now. Beans didn't appeal to me growing up, but over the years I’ve seen the light. These little tacos disappear fast but are deeply satisfying. The shell is crisp, slaw crunchy and sweet, and feta mild but very complimentary. I was so absorbed in eating them that I missed a solid five minutes of American Idol. Thank goodness it’s now possible to rewind live television.

Crispy Black Bean Tacos


1 15-ounce can black beans, drained
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
5 teaspoons olive oil, divided
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
2 cups coleslaw mix
2 green onions, chopped
1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
4 white or yellow corn tortillas
1/3 cup crumbled feta cheese
Bottled chipotle hot sauce or other hot sauce


Place beans and cumin in small bowl; partially mash. Mix 2 teaspoons olive oil and lime juice in medium bowl; add coleslaw, green onions, and cilantro and toss to coat. Season slaw to taste with salt and pepper.

Heat 3 teaspoons olive oil in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add tortillas in single layer. Spoon 1/4 of bean mixture onto half of each tortilla; cook 1 minute. Fold tacos in half. Cook until golden brown, about 1 minute per side. Fill tacos with feta and slaw. Pass hot sauce alongside.