, , , ,

Personally, I think November can be a real jerk of a month. I do love early autumn, with the crispness in the air and the leaves turning colour, even the leaves falling and the slightly bittersweet melancholy atmosphere. But there’s not all that much I like about November. The weather is bleak and cold, the clocks have changed (or are about to change, depending on where you are) and the darkness is coming ever earlier. For students I think November sucks just a little bit more because it’s the final push of the semester and all of the work you knew was looming but have been putting of since the beginning of September because November seemed so far away is suddenly piling  up and is seemingly impossible to get through. I am a student myself, and November is normally around the time in the semester when, unless I’m really organized, I lose the ability to feed myself beyond eating crackers straight from the box or melting cheese on something in the microwave.

To combat the November syndrome, I’ve got some great recipes coming up that are easy to make in bulk and have stashed in your fridge or freezer so there is something you can grab when you’re too tired to think about feeding yourself. I had planned to start the month a little differently, but it is November after all, and I am a student and the work I knew was looming since the beginning of September is piling up and I’m not certain I’m going to get through everything I need to get done this week. So I’ve  have to do a little bit of a shuffling with my November plan. *Sigh* In any case, here we go.

These curried potato chickpea patties were born out of frustration with trying to get veggie burger patties to hold together without using a tonne of filler. After a few tasty but failed attempts, it occurred to me that perhaps the patty should be *about* the filler instead of trying to dance around it. I thought mashed potato would hold together without much help, as earlier versions had necessitated lots of egg and bread crumbs or grated cheese. The result here is less something I’d stick between a bun and eat like a burger (unless the idea of eating a potato sandwiched between bread is appealing to you) and more like a samosa without the pastry around the outside. I think the possibilities are endless; you could mix up different combinations of legumes with potatoes, add in vegetables, or change the spice profile. I like the crunch of the breadcrumbs around the potato patty, which is a nice contrast to the softness of the potato inside. Leftovers freeze well separated by parchment paper, and are a quick and tasty meal re-heated with a simple salad or some steamed veg on the side.

Nutritionally, I think it’s important to note that potatoes and legumes do not combine to make a complete protein, so if you’re eating a vegetarian diet, you’ll need to get some grains in to complete the bouquet of amino acids. You don’t, however, need to have your grains and beans at the same meal – your body can store the amino acids for later. So say if you had some cereal or toast (or pretty well any grain) earlier in the day, then these potato and chickpea patties for dinner, the amino acids from the cereal grains and the chickpeas would then combine to form a complete protein, just like that. Magic.

I like to cook my beans from dried, rather than using canned beans. They’re considerably cheaper, and I think taste way better when you cook them from dried. It’s pretty rare that I have the foresight necessary to soak my dried beans overnight, so more often than not I end up using the hot-soak method; put your rinsed beans in a pot with plenty of water, bring to a boil for 10 minutes, then turn off the heat, cover, and let sit for about 1 hour. Then either drain and add fresh water to the pot, or top up the soaking water (there are arguments for either, I tend to do the latter because I want the water soluble B-vitamins and proteins that have been leeched into the soaking water, but if you’re worried about gas you can opt for the former), bring to a boil again, reduce heat and simmer for about 40 min, or until the beans are tender.

Curried Potato Chickpea Patties Recipe:

I leave the skins on my mashed potatoes because there are a lot of nutrients in the skin I don’t want to lose, but if you’d prefer to peel your potatoes, do so before you boil them. The spice in these patties is fairly mild, so if you’re after a spicier patty then add some more chili flakes. If you wanted to make these vegan, you could easily sub out the butter in the mashed potatoes for olive oil, and skip the egg dip. I like the crunch of the egg/breadcrumb coating, but it’s not necessary. Smaller patties would make for great cocktail party finger food. We served these with creme fraiche because that’s what we had on hand, but a nice spicy chutney would be a great accompaniment.

2 cups cooked chickpeas (1 can, or from 1 cup of dried beans)

1 1/2 lbs potatoes (about 2 cups when mashed – I used a waxy varietal)

2 Tbsp butter

2 Tbsp fresh chopped chives

1 tsp salt

1 Tbsp curry powder

1 tsp ground cumin

1 tsp red chili flakes

1/2 cup bread crumbs

2 eggs, beaten

oil for pan frying

Dice the potato into chunks, put into a medium pot and cover with cold water. Bring to the boil, reduce heat to medium, and simmer until the potatoes are just barely tender. Drain off the water, add 2 Tbsp of butter, and mash the potatoes. You should have about 2 cups. Add chickpeas to the potatoes, and give them a bit of a mash as well so there are some that are mashed into a rough paste, and others that are still intact. Add chives, salt, curry powder, and cumin, and stir to combine. Line a baking sheet or large plate with parchment paper, and set aside. Using clean hands, form the potato mixture into patties about 2.5cm (1 inch) thick, and about 7 cm (~ 3 inches) wide. Set on the parchment paper. You could refrigerate the patties at this stage if you are not ready to cook them.

When you are ready to cook the patties, heat a large skillet over medium heat, and add a bit of oil to the pan. You’ll need two bowls – one for the beaten eggs, and the other for the bread crumbs. Try to keep a dry hand and a wet hand for the breading part. Using your wet hand, place a patty into the egg bowl, and turn over to coat. Lift up and allow excess egg to drip off, then transfer into the bowl of breadcrumbs. Using your dry hand, toss breadcrumbs over the patty and turn to coat. Lift it out of the bowl and shake off excess, and then transfer either into the waiting skillet, or onto a fresh sheet of parchment. Pan fry the patties for a few minutes on each side, until the outsides are golden brown, and then transfer onto a plate. Serve immediately, or cool and toss into a freezer bag for another meal. Or both.

This recipe made about 10 large patties.


All text and photos © The Muffin Myth 2010