I've often played around with the idea of Portobello mushrooms as a burger but this particular recipe really stood out for me. Garlicky maple syrup drenched mushrooms with cider vinegar and thyme, these densely flavoured burgers are based on a recipe by Celia Brooks Brown in her book World Vegetarian Classics. The recipe is very quick and easy but the results are sublime. I'm thinking that these would also be good cooked on the barbecue but I haven't actually tried as yet.
Portobello mushrooms are the best choice for this recipe. Portobellos are a fully mature version of brown crimini or chestnut mushrooms. They are large, brown and "meaty" with firm flesh and a full flavour, making them an excellent choice for a vegetarian burger. Some similar large mushrooms are sold as "flat white mushrooms" or "breakfast mushrooms". These are essentially white button mushrooms which have been allowed to grow for longer. So while you can certainly use them to make burgers, they do not have the same fullness of flavour as typical brown portobello mushrooms.
For 4 burgers:4 Portobello mushrooms, cleaned
4 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
4 sliced cloves of garlic
2 tablespoons of maple syrup
1 tablespoon of cider vinegar or sherry vinegar
½ teaspoon of dried thyme
salt and freshly ground black pepper
Buns, sauces, salad vegetables and all the usual burger trimmings.
Remove the stems from the mushrooms and use a sharp knife to cut a criss-cross pattern on the gills. This is to make sure that your sauce really soaks into the mushrooms. Make sure you don't cut right through. You need the mushrooms to hold on to their shape. Place them on a baking sheet with the cut sides up.
Mix the olive oil, garlic, maple syrup, vinegar, thyme and seasoning together in a small bowl and mix well. Carefully spoon the liquid over each of the mushrooms, making sure the garlic slices are evenly distributed.
Bake in a moderately hot oven (400F/200C) for about 15 minutes until tender and juicy.
Serve immediately in warmed buns with your favourite burger toppings. Sliced avocado is fabulous with these. Other toppings I like a lot are roasted peppers or fried onions.Celia Brooks Brown's book World Vegetarian Classics: Over 200 Essential International Recipes for the Modern Kitchen is available from Amazon.com.
Alternatively you can get it from The Book Depository with free shipping internationally.