These burgers have an addictively crispy outside and are soft and chewy inside, with plenty of protein from cooked black beans. You can use commercial gluten-free panko or bread crumbs or make your own by grinding a few pieces of bread in a food processor. You can also replace panko with bought or homemade almond meal. To make it yourself, simply grind whole peeled almonds or almond slivers to a coarse powder.
This makes a big batch of burgers, so freeze any ungrilled patties on plates or baking sheets so they don’t stick together and then transfer them to freezer-safe containers. To cook from frozen, bake for 30 minutes at 375 F (190 C) then broil for a few minutes on each side to crisp exterior.
Place whole, unpeeled sweet potatoes on baking sheet and roast in 415 F (210 C) oven for 30 minutes, or until soft, slightly deflated, and oozing caramelized sugars.
Cut sweet potatoes open in several places to help them cool, then peel and place in large bowl with beans, green onion, 1 Tbsp (15 mL) panko, lime zest, cumin, smoked paprika, 1/4 tsp (1 mL) salt, and 1/4 tsp (1 mL) black pepper. Mash to combine. Sweet potatoes should be fairly smooth with some of the beans remaining whole to create a chewy texture. Use food processor if you prefer a smoother texture.
On small plate or in shallow bowl, combine remaining 2 Tbsp (30 mL) panko with remaining 1/2 tsp (2 mL) salt and 1/4 tsp (1 mL) pepper.
Shape batter into 8 patties and coat in panko mixture. Add a little more panko crumbs if necessary. Preheat broiler and lightly grease baking sheet. Place rack in centre of oven. Place patties on prepared baking sheet and broil in centre of oven for about 8 minutes, then flip and broil for 5 minutes more, or until toasted and crispy.
Serve on buns, if using, with your choice of toppings such as lettuce, onion, ketchup, mustard, or salsa.
Tourtière is, for me, the dish that best represents Québec. It can be traced back to the 1600s, and there’s no master recipe; every family has their own twist. Originally, it was made with game birds or game meat, like rabbit, pheasant, or moose; that’s one of the reasons why I prefer it with venison instead of beef or pork. Variation: If you prefer to make single servings, follow our lead at the restaurant, where we make individual tourtières in the form of a dome (pithivier) and fill them with 5 ounces (160 g) of the ground venison mixture. Variation: You can also use a food processor to make the dough. Place the flour, salt, and butter in the food processor and pulse about ten times, until the butter is incorporated—don’t overmix. It should look like wet sand, and a few little pieces of butter here and there is okay. With the motor running, through the feed tube, slowly add ice water until the dough forms a ball—again don’t overmix. Wrap, chill, and roll out as directed above.
My love of artichokes continues with this classic recipe, one of the best ways to eat this interesting, underrated, and strange vegetable. Frozen artichoke hearts are a time-saving substitute, though the flavour and texture of fresh artichokes are, by far, much superior and definitely preferred.
Cervelle de canut is basically the Boursin of France, an herbed fresh farmer’s cheese spread that’s a speciality of Lyon. The name is kind of weird, as it literally means “silk worker’s brain,” named after nineteenth-century Lyonnaise silk workers, who were called canuts. Sadly, the name reflects the low opinion of the people towards these workers. Happily for us, though, it’s delicious—creamy, fragrant, and fresh at the same time. Cervelle de canut is one of my family’s favourite dishes. It’s a great make-ahead appetizer that you can pop out of the fridge once your guests arrive. Use a full-fat cream cheese for the dish, or it will be too runny and less delicious.