Let’s talk about butter beans. Most people know these fellows as lima beans. Yes, I know that many of you are probably giving an inward groan right now, but here me out! Lima beans (or butter beans, as I know them better) really aren’t all that bad. They have very tender skins and soft, creamy flesh. These two characteristics make them ideal for purreing into burgers (and I would say cakes too). They cook very quickly, and if you use the baby variety, you can even get away without soaking.
With such soft and “buttery” beans on my hands, I couldn’t help but wonder how they would whip up into burgers. They did excellently. I’ve made this recipe five times now (almost every week, sometimes even twice) and they never fail. Flavors are kept simple but still poignant–sweet tender leeks, assertive garlic, spicy white pepper, and smooth butter–and bound by rustic, flaked oats. They are then shaped into four thick patties and slowly cooked on a cast iron until a hearty crust forms. Served with oven-roasted potatoes or hearty garlic knots, they make an elegant dinner for four.
As a note, a recipe for the aforementioned garlic knots will be popping up around here soonish.
Butter Bean and Leek Burgers
1 cup whole grain rolled oats
1 1/2 cups cooked butter beans
1 tablespoon unsalted butter*
1 large leek, dark greens removed, thinly sliced into half-moons
4 large cloves garlic, minced
1/4-3/4 teaspoons kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper
spicy brown mustard or homemade ketchup, to serve
Throw the oats into the bowl of a food processor. Pulse the oats until they are flaky, with a crumb-like texture. Pour out into a separate bowl and set aside. Next, dump in your butter beans and puree until white, creamy, and fluffy. Pour out into a medium mixing bowl and set aside.
In a medium-large cast iron skillet, melt the butter. Toss in the leeks and saute until the leeks are very tender, but not caramelized–about 5 minutes. Add in the garlic and saute 1-2 minutes more.
Pour the leeks into the bowl with the butter beans. Add in salt (I used unsalted beans, so I opted for more than 1/4 teaspoon) and white pepper. Stir until thoroughly combined. Add in the flaky oats and mix again until thoroughly combined–the mixture will be relatively moist, but that’s okay. Scoop out into four equal portions onto a plate and set aside (if you can, let them sit for a while in the fridge so the flavours can marry more).
Begin to heat the cast iron skillet over medium heat, and add in just enough olive oil to cover the bottom of the pan. Lay the four mounds of bean mixture into the pan, gently pressing into patty form. You should hear a slight sizzle as you do this, but not much. Let the burgers cook on medium-low heat for about 5-7 minutes, until golden brown with a good crust. A good indication is their willingness to flip. If they’re ready to flip, you should have no difficulties–even with a barely greased pan. Flip them and repeat on the other side. Serve immediately with spicy brown mustard (my personal favorite) or homemade ketchup (very tasty as well).
*I woud sub in olive oil to make these vegan.