Ultimate Veggie Burgers
Makes 12 4-inch burgers
1/4 cup dried brown lentiols, rinsed and picked over
2 1/2 teaspoons table salt
1/4 cup bulgur wheat
2 tbs vegetable oil
2 medium onions, chopped fine (2 cups)
1 large celery rib, chopped fine (about 1/2 cup)
1 small leek, white and green parts only, chopped fine (about 1/2 cup)
2 medium garlic cloves, minced or pressed through garlic press (2 tsp)
1 pound cremini or white mushrooms, cleaned and sliced about 1/4 inch thick (about 6 1/2 cups)
1 fup raw unsalted cashews
1/3 cup mayonnaise
2 cups panko (Japanese bread crumbs)
Ground black pepper
Bring 3 cups water, lentils and 1 tsp salt to boil in medium saucepan over high heat; reduce heat to medium low and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionallu, until lentils are just beginning to fall apart, about 25 minutes. Drain in fine-mesh strainer. Line baking sheet with triple layer paper towels and spread drained lentils over. Gently pat lentils dry with addiitonal paper towels; cool lentils to room temperature.
While lentils simmer, bring 2 cups water and 1/2 tsp salt to boil in small saucepan. Stir bulghur wheat into boiling water and cover immediately; let stand off heat until water is absorbed, 15 to 20 minutes. Drain in fine-mesh strainer; use rubber spatula to press out excess moisture. Transfer bulgur to medium bowl and set aside.
Heat 1 tbs oil in 12 inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add onions, celery, leek and garlic; cook, stirring occasionally, until veggies begin to brown,about 10 minutes. Spread veggie mixture on second baking sheet to cool; set aside. Add remaining 1 tbs oil to now-empty skillet; heat over high heat until shimmering. Add mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden brown, about 12 minutes. Spread mushrooms on baking sheet with veggies; cool to room temperature, about 20 minutes.
Process cashews in food processor until finely chopped, about 15 1-second pulses (do not wash food processor blade or bowl); stir into bowl with bulgur along with cooled lentils, vegetable-mushroom mixture, and mayo. Transfer half of mixture to now-empty food processor and pulse until coarsely chopped, 15 to 20 1-second pulses; mixture sohuld be cohesive but slightly roughly textured. Transfer processed mixture to large bowl; repeat with remaining unprocessed mixture and combine with the first batch. Stir in panko, 1 tsp salt and pepper to taste. Line baking sheet with paper towels. Divide mixture into 12 portions, about 1/2 cup each, shaping each into tightly packed patty, 4 inches in diameter and 1/2 inch thick; set patties on baking sheet; paper towels will absorb excess moisture (patties can be covered and refridgerated up to 3 days).
Heat 2 tbs vegetable oil in 12 inch skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Cook burgers 4 at a time, until well browned, about 4 minutes on each side, lowering heat to medium if browning too quickly.
To freeze: stir an additional 1 tsp panko into batter for each patty prior to shaping.