Gould farm in Monterey, Massachusetts, is a farm like many others in some respects —there are acres of organic gardens along both sides of the narrow road and cows that greet you with their kind stares. Up the hill there are pigs and chickens, and there is a dairy where Cheddar is cultured and aged before traveling to stores all over this part of the state. Poke your head into any door or walk through the garden beds and you will find staff and volunteers hard at work.
C. J. Walton came to Gould Farm as a volunteer in his early twenties. After a time at the Culinary Institute of American, he returned to the farm to develop his bread and pastry skills. He and the Harvest Barn team make bread, bagels, pastries, desserts, and yogurt for both the people who live and work at the Farm and the visitors who come to the cafe at the barn. I always end up talking to C. J. during my visits; whether it's his latest discovery on how to make ice cream more shelf stable or what new flour has improved the pizza crust; we get to talking and the girls always have to pull me out of there. C. J. also takes on the challenges of re-creating store-bought foods, and one Saturday I went into the café to buy croissants and I walked out with this recipe. If you are a veggie burger lover, try this one, and I'll wager that you'll never need another box of veggie burgers again. This comes together quickly, so have all of your ingredients chopped and ready to go.
- 2 tablespoons olive oil, plus extra for the baking sheet
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 6 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 medium carrots, shredded
- 1 red bell pepper, diced
- 10 large mushrooms, stems removed, caps diced
- 1/2 cup corn (fresh or frozen)
- 1/2 tablespoon ground cumin
- 1/2 tablespoon dried oregano
- 1/2 to 1 tablespoon chili powder, or to taste
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- 4 cups cooked black beans, from 2 cups dried black beans, or three 15.5-ounce cans black beans, drained
- 2 cups cooked short-grain brown rice (from 1 cup dry)
- 2 cups breadcrumbs, homemade or store-bought
- 2 large eggs, beaten
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast (see note below)
- Optional: One 5-ounce can sliced water chestnuts, drained and roughly chopped
1. Heat the oil over medium heat in a large saucepan. Add the onion and cook until soft and shiny, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic, carrots, red pepper, and mushrooms and cook, stirring often, until soft and aromatic, about 10 minutes. Add the corn, cumin, oregano, chili powder, salt, and pepper. Continue to cook for 3 minutes more. Remove from heat and allow the mixture to cool slightly.
2. Preheat the oven to 425°F. In a large mixing bowl, combine 2 cups of the beans, 1 cup of the rice, and half of the cooked vegetable mixture. Mash with a potato masher until the ingredients are well blended. Use your hands to combine this mixture with the breadcrumbs, eggs, mustard, vinegar, soy sauce, yeast, and remaining 2 cups beans, remaining 1 cup rice, and cooked vegetables. Add the water chestnuts, if using. Let the mixture cool entirely.
3. Oil a baking sheet with olive oil. Using your hands, form the mixture into well-packed patties, about 4 inches in diameter. Lay the patties on the oiled baking sheet, and flatten with a spatula. Bake for 15 minutes, flip the patties, flatten with the spatula once again, and bake for another 15 minutes. Serve immediately, or if storing for later, allow to cool, then freeze on a baking sheet for at least 3 hours before transferring to freezer bags.
Storage freezer: Freezer-safe container or bag, 4 months (microwave for 1 minute and then grill, or fry the frozen patties on low heat in a covered, oiled frying pan for 10 minutes on each side).
Storage fridge: (After defrosting) covered container, 4 days.
Nutritional yeast: Nutritional yeast is a flaky, yellow, inactive yeast found at any health food or gourmet store, often in the bulk department. It is packed with vitamin B12, high in protein, and has a wonderful cheesy flavor that makes it an addictive and satisfying addition to popcorn.