Burger Queen 

 A while ago I mentioned to someone that I had been to a European supermarket in our area. It mainly stocks Italian produce.

‘I know why you went there,’ she declared, ‘It was the mozzarella burgers, wasn’t it?’

It most certainly not not been, because I had never heard of such a thing – but I was instantly intrigued. Having been a vegetarian for over three decades, I don’t miss meat at all, but I do miss the opportunity to stuff some warm protein in a bun and chow down.

‘Tell me more, ‘ I replied.

It turned out not to be quite as exciting as giant cheese pillows, but instead a frozen product in the Linda McCartney range of vegetarian food: burgers made from textured vegetable protein, with mozzarella in the mix somewhere to presumably make it a bit luscious.

I looked for them the next time I was there,  but they were out of stock. To be honest, I was in two minds about them anyway as I am never a huge fan of stuff that looks and tastes like meat, but isn’t. It got me thinking, though about the idea.

This Sunday I created my own version and I have to say I was pretty damn happy with the result. It was pretty simple to make, the only problem being that I did not make a note precisely of the measurements, but for anyone who is interested, this is what I did:

1 x can lentils, drained and rinsed
1x small onion
Couple of mini bococini mozzarella
Around half a cup of breadcrumbs
1 egg
I tsp fresh thyme
1/2 tsp ground mace
Squeeze of ketchup.

Place around a quarter of the lentils in a processor (I used a mini one that came with my blending stick) and whizz to a paste. Add paste to the remainder of lentils in a bowl.

Use the same processor bowl (unwashed) to finely chop the onion, add that to the lentils and season with thyme, mace pepper and salt, ketchup. Next, add breadcrumbs and beaten egg and combine, adding more breadcrumbs until the mixture forms a solid somewhat wet, sticky mixture. Form into three to four balls (depending how big you like your burgers. Divide each in two and form the bottom of the patty wth one half, then place half a bococini in the middle and place the other half of the patty on top, so the cheese is sitting snugly between the two. Pat the two halves gently together to seal.

Shallow fry slowly on a low heat, turning until both sides are browned and the cheese just starts to peak through.

Serve on a bun with a thin coating of mayonnaise and pesto topped with salad, and perhaps a dollop of tomato chutney on top.

Delish, even though I say so myself, I wonder if adding mushrooms might improve it even more?


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