Quick and easy to make, and a great vegetarian alternative to traditional beef burgers, these smoky aubergine burgers are bang on season. Topped with beautifully smoky Dorset Red cheese and lashings of sweet, malty onion and beer chutney, this ultimate BBQ burger is sure to win over even the biggest of meat eaters!
FOR THE SMOKY AUBERGINE BURGER
(Makes 6 burgers)
1 large aubergine
Oil (preferably smoked oil)
1 small red onion
2 tsp harissa paste
240g canned chickpeas
1 tsp cumin seeds
100g pine nuts
150g fresh breadcrumbs
Salt and pepper
200g Dorset red cheese (or any vegetarian smoked cheese)
6 Seeded bread rolls
Handful of rocket
Heat the BBQ/grill to high, slice the aubergine into thick slices, lengthways, and brush with a little oil. Allow the aubergine to lightly char on the BBQ/grill before turning over and repeating on the other side. When the aubergine slices have charred and softened (4 -5 minutes), remove from the grill, roughly chop and place in a large bowl or food processor.
Finely dice the onion and add to the bowl along with the harissa, drained can of chickpeas, roughly chopped parsley and cumin seeds. Toast the pine nuts in a dry pan on a medium heat for 1 – 2 minutes, careful not burn the nuts. Add 50g of the toasted nuts to the bowl.
Using a stick blender or food processor, blend the ingredients together until coarsely chopped. Very roughly chop the remaining nuts and add to the blended ingredients along with the breadcrumbs. Stir together, incorporating all the ingredients before tipping out on a well floured surface.
Divide you mixture into 6, and using floured hands mould into large, round patties. Place on a lined baking tray and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes to firm up. Once firm, heat a little oil in a non-stick frying pan. Brown the patties on either side for 2 – 3 minutes before placing back on the lined baking tray. Preheat the oven to 200C/Gas 5.
Generously top each burger with sliced or grated cheese and bake in the oven for 15 – 20 minutes, until the cheese has melted and the burgers have warmed through. Serve straight from the oven in seeded rolls with a handful of rocket and a spoon of beer and onion chutney.
FOR THE BEER & ONION CHUTNEY
3 large red onions
1 chilli, medium heat
Knob of butter
60g soft brown sugar
Thinly slice the onion and finely dice the chilli. Place in a pan along with a knob of butter and gently fry over a medium heat for 5 – 6 minutes, until the onions start to caramelise.
Add the sugar to the pan, stir until almost melted, then add the ale. Bring to a boil before turning the heat down low and allow to reduce for approximately 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Once a thick, sticky consistency is achieved, removed from the heat and cool – the mixture will thicken further at this stage so do not worry if your chutney appears to be a little loose. Once cooled, decant into a sterilised jar until ready to use.
Keep in the fridge for up to 3 months
Recipe by Helen Upshall