So maybe you’re happy with the gluten-free burger buns that you find in the shop, but personally I think they’re just sugar fluff.
I’d like a little more bang for my buck, nutritionally speaking. I’m also happier continually stuffing my face with veg instead of bread. So for this burger recipe I’ve used roast aubergine instead. Anyhow, these guys are insanely delicious, easy and gluten free, sugar free and all that wonderful stuff.
– 1 cup (170g) coarse maize meal
– 2 cups (470ml) boiling water
– ½ cup (50g) grated Grana Padano or Parmesan cheese sunflower oil for frying
– ½ red onion cook off first if you prefer them softened
– 500g lean organic minced beef
– small handful shredded fresh mint or basil leaves, trust me, it’s weird, but it’s good
– 2 tsp Cajun seasoning
– ½ cup (50g) GF oats
– 1 egg
– Salt and pepper to taste I like lots of pepper in burgers!
– 1 large aubergine
– 2 tbsp tamari soy sauce
– ½ cup (120ml) water
1. Have a small baking tray (around 23cm square) lined with some baking parchment and ready to go.
2. Add the polenta and water to a small pot on the stove on a medium-high heat.
3. Stir constantly and like absolute crazy so there are no lumps. This will thicken fast to the consistency of, eh, cream cheese or thick porridge? I dunno, a thick thing anyway.
4. Add some salt and pepper and the cheese and stir until the cheese has melted in. Pour this into the lined tin, flatten out as best you can and pop into the fridge to set. This is gonna be pretty cool, I promise!
5. Meanwhile in another part of town … Finely dice your onion.
6. In a big bowl, mix the minced beef, onion, shredded herbs, Cajun seasoning and pepper to taste – I don’t always add salt as it is often in the seasoning already, but you can check.
7. Then add the oats and egg – if you can’t have oats, just leave out both the oats and the egg. I like them, as they give it a more classic burger texture and it feeds a few more folk with the leftovers.
8. Mix it all up nice and good and then shape into burgers. As a general rule, for this meal try to get the size of the burgers close to the width of the aubergine so they fit nicely!
9. Pop some cling film over the burgers and into the fridge they go, while we get on with some other stuff (this give a chance for the flavours to settle and the oats to soak up any liquid).
10. Take out your polenta mix – it sets pretty fast – and cut into your favourite shapes. In this instance rectangles would make sense, so that they are actually ‘fries’, but triangles work too!
11. Preheat the oven to 160°C.
12. Put a big non-stick pan on a high heat. When it’s hot, add the sunflower oil. Test a little polenta fry. If it sizzles, lash a few more in.
13. Fry as many at a time as fit in the pan and allow space for turning them over. Have a plate ready with some kitchen paper on it to pile them up on as you go. You only need to fry them long enough to get them golden on each side.
14. When they’re all done, transfer them to an ovenproof dish, cover in tinfoil and pop in the bottom of the oven. Keep that pan going, folks! Or if it’s barbecue weather get grilling!
15. Add a little more oil and fry your burgers in batches. I like burgers well done so I get them good and brown on each side. Then transfer them to another ovenproof dish and finish cooking them off in the oven.
16. Preheat the grill to high.
17. Slice the aubergine into around 1cm-thick slices.
18. In a bowl, mix the water and tamari together. Dip all the aubergine slices in the tamari mix and lay out on the grill.
19. Grill for roughly 5 mins either side. Check frequently in case you’ve a kick-ass grill that wants to singe your creation!
20. Plate up the slices of aubergine as top and bottom buns for the burgers and pop your polenta fries on the side. They have a lot of taste themselves but you can dip them in garlic mayo, ketchup or whatever you like!
21. To top the burger I usually do some combo of pickles, baby leaf spinach, yellow mustard and maybe cheese. I don’t bother with onion slices since there is already red onion in the burger.