Meat and Grain Burgers

Jeff is about to start training for the Kansas City marathon. His 10-plus mile runs on the weekends — and my occasional 3-milers with Gabi in the jogging stroller — require more complex carbs and lean protein than we’ve been getting.

We found this recipe while leafing through Runner’s World, of all places. It came from Mark Bittman, a New York Times food writer and  fellow runner. We no sooner saw it than were trotting out to the deck with a plate full of burgers to grill. Cumin, cayenne and garlic kicked them up a notch. Onion, whole grain and spinach made them even more delicious, and can you get any healthier? We used beef, but ground turkey or lamb would be equally as delicious.

This meal was budget friendly, too. The addition of bulgur and spinach made six good sized burgers out of one pound of ground meat. We had these burgers two nights in a row, and then ate the leftovers for lunch Monday. Yum!

My only quibble: a couple of the burgers didn’t stick together well. Two fell apart when Jeff flipped them on the grill.  Maybe a larger egg would have helped? Fattier meat? Regardless, I highly recommend this one.

Meat and Grain Burgers
adapted from Runner’s World, June 2010

12 ounces fresh spinach leaves
1 pound ground chicken or turkey thighs, beef chuck or sirloin, pork or lamb shoulder
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 teaspoon ground cumin
Pinch cayenne
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 egg, lightly beaten
2 cups soaked, drained bulgur, or any cooked grains, such as cracked wheat, steel-cut oats, or whole-wheat couscous (I used bulgur. To soak, measure out 1 cup dried bulgur, and soak in about 2 cups hot water).

Boil a large pot of salted water; fill another bowl with ice water. Put spinach in boiling water for 30 seconds. Drain and plunge into ice water. Drain again, squeezing to dry, then roughly chop. Put spinach into a bowl. Add ground meat, onion, garlic, cumin, and cayenne. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Add egg and grains. Mix until combined. Shape into burgers. Grill on medium heat, about four minutes per side.

(If grilling isn’t an option, place burgers on a rimmed, greased baking sheet. Transfer to an oven. Roast at 400 degrees F until firm and browned, about 20 to 30 minutes. Turn once or twice. )

Put burger in a bun and add salsa or your favorite topping.

Serves 6


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