Stop! Before you turn into that fast food drive-thru, there is a better way to eat a hearty breakfast at home or on the go. These belly-filling Pinto Bean Breakfast Patty Melts from The New Southwest: Classic Flavors With a Modern Twist by Meagan Micozzi. As part of the Cookbook Spotlight event I am participating in (see last week's fabulous Mushroom & Leek Migas here), each of the 15 bloggers participating gets to select a recipe from the book to cook and post about.
Although I was tempted by many recipes in the book, the one I kept turning back to was for these morning bean burgers. Not that you are limited to eating them in the morning--I made the full batch and these patties will end up as lunch, dinner and snacks too. Fabulously fiber-packed, they are a healthier alternative to a sausage muffin but just as satisfying.
No time in the morning? Assembling them ahead and cooking them up fresh is always best for that crispy outside but, if that won't work for you, cooking them up the night before and getting them ready to go also works well. Put a cooked and cooled patty on a toasted muffin with a slice of cheese and any thing else you want on them (I suggest baby spinach, guacamole and maybe a dash of hot sauce), then wrap it in wax-paper and pop in the microwave for about a minute. You are out the door with a tasty & filling healthy meal!
Pinto Bean Breakfast Patty Melts
Very Slightly Adapted from The New Southwest by Meagan Micozzi
(Yield: 7 Patty Melt Sandwiches)
2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil divided + more for frying
3/4 cup diced yellow onion
1 cup grated zucchini
2 jalapenos, stemmed and minced
2 Tbsp minced fresh garlic
3 1/2 cups cooked pinto beans (either canned or freshly prepared)
3/4 cup plain dry breadcrumbs
2 large eggs, beaten
2 Tbsp ground cumin
2 Tbsp freshly ground black pepper* (I used about 2 tsps--see Notes/Results below)
1 tsp ground coriander
7 slices Monterey Jack cheese
7 English muffins, sliced and toasted (I used whole wheat)
(I added baby spinach & guacamole)
Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large heavy-bottomed skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion and saute until golden, translucent, and fragrant, approximately 5 minutes. Add the zucchini, jalapenos, and garlic and saute for just 2 more minutes. Remove pan from heat.
Meanwhile, place the beans in a large, heat-proof bowl and mash with a fork or potato masher. (Meagan notes: "I prefer to use a fork here for a chunky, uneven consistency.") Stir in the breadcrumbs, eggs, cumin, black pepper, coriander and salt. Fold in the cooked onion mixture. Using a half cup measure, portion off and form seven 'burgers'. Refrigerate if not using right away.*
Once ready to cook and assemble your melts, heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a large heavy-bottomed, lidded skillet over medium heat. Add the patties and cook 3-4 minutes on each side, applying pressure to the top of the patties to flatten once you have a cooked side facing up. Note that you may need to work in batches so as not to overcrowd your pan, so you may need to refresh your oil between batches.
Once patties are crisp on the outside and cooked through, top each with a slice of cheese, place the lid on the pan and steam just 30 to 60 seconds to melt the cheese. Remove each patty melt to a toasted English muffin bun and serve immediately.
*Note: Meagan says, "These patties can be made in advance. I will often make the patty mixture on a Sunday and then fry them up for breakfasts throughout the week. If you form the patties in advance, you simple need to separate them with parchment paper so that they don't stick to each other. Store in the refrigerator until ready to cook and serve".
Notes/Results: These are excellent bean patties--crispy on the outside, perfectly tender and creamy on the inside and full of flavor. Speaking of that flavor, I was concerned about the amount of black pepper listed in the recipes--2 tablespoons. I am a black pepper fan but that seems like a massive amount to me. I emailed Meagan just to be sure and she was wonderful enough to send me a quick reply saying that she likes to season her patties pretty aggressively due to the lack of flavor in pinto beans but, she always encourages everyone to season food to their own palates. My little asthma lungs that cough at really strong black pepper ;-) led me to start with 1 teaspoon and tasting the mix as I went, I ended up with 2 teaspoons total of black pepper, keeping all the other spices as written. I really liked the flavor--they are cumin forward--with 2 tablespoons of it in the mix but, I loves me some cumin so it worked for me. Between the garlic, onion, kick of jalapeno and the spices these were well-seasoned in my book--but of course you should adapt them to your own taste buds. In order to boost them even more nutritionally, I chose to put them on whole wheat English muffins and add a layer of baby spinach. I also topped my plated one with a bit of guacamole--extra yum. (I thought it might be too messy for the "portable" ones.) Easy to prepare, satisfying and oh-so-good, this is definitely a keeper recipe for me.
This post is part of The New Southwest Cookbook Spotlight sponsored by Hippocrene and hosted at girlichef.
Come back next week for a final recipe, my review and a chance to win your own copy of The New Southwest!