For many, foregoing meat on Fridays during Lent is a huge challenge. Some find it challenging just to remember that it is Friday period. Most have difficulty remembering that it is a Friday, in Lent. That is, until after they bite into a big juicy burger.
This Lenten Season the Newly Feds are taking the meat-free-Friday challenge one step further. We have decided to give up meat. All meat. Even bacon. No meat for 40 days. Period. We are 16 days in and the withdrawal symptoms are coming on strong. It’s not that we need meat, its just that its so tasty. So far, the worst has been having brunch without bacon (really?) and grilling steak without being able to eat it. Other that that, so far, so good. We have been adapting old recipes and trying lots of new ones. All in all, we have eaten well and stuck to our guns. This challenge, though, requires a bit of creativity and that’s where wild rice comes in.
Ever been to Duluth, Minnesota? No? Why are we not surprised? Despite being covered in snow 363 days a year and having an average temp of 4, Duluth is home to some great food. Some of the best is found at a brewery and restaurant called Fitger’s Brewhouse. There, you can find one of the best burgers, meat or veggie, we have ever had. The folks over at Heavy Table have attempted to recreate this fantastic burger, and they are not far off. That said, the Newly Feds don’t follow directions very well and we added our own twists and sort of winged this one in places. Let’s be clear, though. You WILL NOT miss the meat…that much. While nothing beats a good old fashioned beef burger, this comes pretty close to taking the edge off.
Vegetarian Wild Rice Burgers With Garlic Horseradish Mayo
Loosely adapted from Heavy Table. Makes approximately 8 burgers.
- 1 12 oz package pre-cooked wild rice (found at Trader Joe’s)
- 1 12 oz package pre-cooked brown rice (found at Trader Joe’s)
- 1 cup diced fresh mushrooms (we used button, but portabella would be excellent here)
- 1 1/2 cups HOT water
- 2 vegetarian bouillon cubes
- 4 eggs
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- A few dashes (to taste) of each of the following: black pepper, onion powder, ground cayenne pepper, paprika, salt, and garlic
- 1 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese
- 3/4- 1 cup crushed saltine crackers
- 8 good quality buns (we used Challah)
- 8 slices sharp good quality sharp Cheddar cheese
- Tomato slices (optional)
- Several tablespoons of canola oil (for cooking).
- 1/2 cup light mayonnaise
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1-2 tablespoons of horseradish spread
1. Cook both packages of rice, following package directions. Mix in a large bowl with the diced mushrooms. Cover and refrigerate overnight. This step is optional, but recommended.
2. The day of: Remove rice from the refrigerator. Take the hot water and bouillon cubes and mix until dissolved. Pour over the rice mixture and heat in the microwave until the rice is tender (approximately 5 minutes, depending on the power of your microwave).
3. Meanwhile, in a separate bowl, beat the eggs, and add the olive oil, and the seasonings. Mix well. Add the shredded cheese and mix to combine. Slowly, add the warm rice mixture, making sure the rice is not so hot as to curdle the eggs. Mix until combined. This mixture should still be wet. Add the crushed saltine crackers, a little at a time, adding enough crumbs until the mixture holds together loosely when formed into patties.
4. Heat a skillet, ideally cast iron, over medium-high heat. Once hot, add a small amount of canola oil to the pan. Form patties out of the rice mixture and place in the pan, being careful not to splatter the oil. We recommend cooking no more than three at a time. Cook for 3 minutes on medium-high heat. Flip with a pancake spatula and add a slice of cheddar cheese to the burger. Cook for an additional 3 minutes with a lid covering pan. Once done, remove the cooked burger and place on a plate lined with paper towels. Repeat for the rest of the burgers.
5. Serve burgers on the buns with lettuce, tomato and garlic horseradish mayonnaise (to make, mix the light mayonnaise, diced fresh garlic and horseradish).