I hope I’m not too late with this dish. In addition to last week’s Thanksgiving recipe round-up, I wanted to give you a Thanksgiving veggie burger. But try as I did to wrap my head around a veggie burger suitable at the Thanksgiving menu, I just couldn’t quite make it work, not yet at least. (Give me a few more days.) But Holiday Veggie Burger Loaf? Now we’re talking. If you’ve passed the point of no return with your Thanksgiving menu this year, let this be a contender for the December festivities.
It took me a while to get to this recipe—here is one previous, failed attempt—but I ended up going back to one of my favorite burgers from Veggie Burgers Every Which Way, the Tuscan White Bean Burger. I tweaked it a little by adding kale, deglazing the onions with some festive brandy, and reworking it for a loaf pan, but there’s still caramelized onions, roasted garlic, and sage. The goal here is that it’ll compliment the old holiday table standbys: mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, spoon bread, creamed spinach or onions, gravy . . . all that stuff.
And if it weren’t the holidays I might not go here, but since it is, I will: You’ve got to serve this with gravy. I mean, honestly. The (vegan!) shallot gravy below is simple and very delicious, but if you want to try another vegetarian gravy recipe, I recommend this Mushroom-Thyme Gravy, too. But the best part about this Holiday Veggie Burger Loaf is that it makes a mean sandwich the next day, utilizing all those leftover fixings.
Holiday Veggie Burger Loaf with Shallot Gravy
Serves 6 to 8
2 heads garlic, broken into cloves and peeled
3 tablespoons olive oil, plus additional
1 medium white or yellow onion, diced
2 tablespoons brandy or cognac (or white wine)
3-1/2 cups cooked cannenelli beans (two 15-ounce cands, drained and rinsed)
8 ounces kale, stemmed and roughly chopped
2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
1 tablespoon minced fresh sage
1-1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
Squeeze lemon juice
2/3 cup toasted bread crumbs
Shallot gravy, recipe below, or other favorite gravy
1. Preheat the oven to 350°. Liberally grease a 9-inch by 5-inch loaf pan with olive oil, then fit it with a piece of parchment paper. Rub a bit of olive oil onto the parchment as well.
2. Roast the garlic: Spread the cloves out on a baking sheet or oven-safe skillet and coat with about a tablespoon of olive oil. Cook until completely tender and very fragrant, shaking the pan occasionally, 15 to 20 minutes. Put the cooked garlic in the bowl of a food processor.
3. Meanwhile, caramelize the onions: Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the onions. Toss the pan a bit for the first 5 minutes, then cook in 5 minute increments without disturbing the onions, letting them caramelize. When tender, golden brown, speckled with brown bits, and sweet, which will take anywhere from 20 to 30 minutes, add the brandy. Scrape up the browned bits from the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon, then transfer the onions to the food processor.
4. Add the beans to the processor. Pulse a few times, until just beginning to smooth out. Scoop up about a cup of the coarsely pureed mixture and put it in a large bowl (this will give the finished loaf some texture). Crack the eggs into the food processor and puree until smooth. Transfer to the mixing bowl with the reserved puree.
5. Return the skillet to the medium heat and pour in a splash of olive oil. Add the kale and cook, tossing with tongs, until tender, collapsed, and bright green, which will take a few minutes. Using the tongs, transfer the kale to a cutting board and chop it finely. Add the kale to the mixing bowl, along with the parsley, sage, salt, pepper, and lemon juice. Fold in the breadcrumbs.
6. Scoop the mixture into the prepared loaf pan, smooth the top with a spatula, and cover with foil. Cook covered for 70 to 80 minutes, until set in the center, and 10 minutes more, uncovered, until lightly browned on top. Let stand for 10 minutes before removing from the pan. Serve hot, with shallot or mushroom gravy.
Makes about 1-1/2 cups
2 tablespoons olive oil or butter
3 shallots, sliced into thin half-rings
1-1/2 tablespoons flour
1-1/2 cups warm or hot vegetable stock
1/4 cup dry white wine
1 teaspoon finely minced sage
Salt to taste
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Fresh lemon juice, to taste (optional)
Heat the oil in a skillet over medium-low heat. Add the shallots and cook until tender and caramelized, stirring frequently, about 10 minutes. Sprinkle in the flour and stir constantly for a minute or two, until the mixture darkens a shade and smells nutty. Gradually whisk in the vegetable stock, making sure to break up any lumps of flour, then add the wine. Adjust the heat so that the gravy is actively simmering and cook, whisking occasionally, until thickened to your liking. This will take 10 to 15 minutes, maybe more. Stir in the sage, salt, and pepper. Adjust the seasonings and add a squeeze of lemon juice if the flavors seem flat. Serve piping hot.