How to Make Okra Burgers in 2 to 24 Hours

Mommy, Daddy and Ian all had delicious, freshly fried, Okra burgers today! Ian's favorite!

Flash back to yesterday morning:

I pick up a smiling toddler from his crib. He's saying "hi!" and handing me his frog toy. I bring him to his playpen in the kitchen and take Misty out on her leash to pee. But she doesn't go. So we come back in.

I set him Ian in his high chair, facing out the window, and he happily sips his milk. I make him a slice of whole wheat toast with peanut butter and strawberry-rhubarb preserves. He eats some, tosses some, and smooshes some in his hair. It's fine.

Then Misty begs to go out. Obviously she wants to do the business she didn't want to do the first time. She somehow escaped the yard two days ago and has been on lockdown, but considering Amit is around I let her out to see what she does. 

3 minutes later, no sign of Misty. She didn't even pee. She just bolted for the exit, the invisible exit we can not find. The inmate escapes the horrible prison of her loving home, once again. 

I haven't had coffee or gotten dressed, but I walk to the back of the property and see her on the other side of the fence. "Misty, come back, come on, let's play". She wags her tail, looks at me, and runs through the hole in the second fence. The neighbor's patio furniture obviously smells more interesting than me. 

I jump in the car and drive around to the other street, and she gets right in. Phew! Time for coffee.

Amit takes Misty out and finds a hole under part of the fence where she pokes her head out. So he blocks it with a log and we go about our merry day. Problem solved. Until I'm halfway through my breakfast at 10:30, and he exclaims, "oh shit, she's f'ing gone!" 

He drives, I call out, we can't find her anywhere. Finally he drives back in with her, as she'd been trapped in a yard with 2 dogs and locked gates with no one home. So we spent Ian's mid-day naptime trying to figure out where our crazy security-hacking dog breeched our perimeter AGAIN.

She was literally pulling leaves and dirt from under the logs against the fence and pushing her head through. It's hard to explain but she would dive right through feet of leaves under the fence (on a hille) and push out the other side. The leaves just close up again, hiding the evidence. More logs were laid, and she is under supervision going forward. 

So the Okra burgers I planned to serve for lunch yesterday did not happen. Around 1 pm I decided to prep the burger mix so we could have it for dinner instead. I chopped and simmered everything for a long time, and pulsed it all together to put in the fridge to cool.  

But, as the day took us, we never made it home for dinner yesterday. As usual it took us an hour to leave the house to run errands at Home Depot and Costco (btw this is life now). But we didn't make it THERE either. One of the car tires was making a bumping noise and we pulled over a couple times and called the tire place that just installed them and just headed there. After telling us to come, those assholes refused to look at the car and told my husband just leave it there till the next day. We would, all 3 of us, have to find our own way home tonight. 

Obviously he didn't leave it, but we were hungry and tired and closer to the in-laws house than ours. So we popped in for a surprise visit, and like King, Queen and Prince, were treated to royal dinner service without a moment's hesitation. Grandparents rock. 

Today is better, although it's become dreary and stormy. The troublesome car is fixed, and lesson learned to stay in the Oyster Bay/Glen Cove area whenever you need a good service of any kind (as opposed to the more crowded central areas of Long Island). People up here (North Shore folks) are much more laid back, tend to know their neighbors and have that kind of local relationship incentive that make them just so much fricken NICER. 

So around 1pm I started frying batches of Okra burgers. The mix holds up well in the fridge overnight, and there's no raw egg involved to worry about either. 24 hours after I started, and we finally got to enjoy the finished product.

Okra Pinto Bean Burgers

yields about 12  3" patties 

1 T vegetable oil
¼ C onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
*1 T jalepeno (no seeds) optional
*2 T roasted red bell pepper, finely chopped,  optional
2 C fresh okra, ends trimmed, cut into ¼” rings
1 C carrot, trimmed, cut into ¼” rings
15 oz can pinto beans (preferably no or low-sodium), rinsed and drained
1 tsp chili powder blend
¼ tsp paprika
1/8 tsp cayenne
¾ C water
salt & pepper to taste

1 C old fashioned rolled oats

vegetable oil for pan-frying

Toppings: yogurt or sour cream, lime or lemon juice, hot sauce

1. In a skillet over medium heat, sauté onion in oil for 5 minutes. Add garlic, and jalapeno, if using. Stir in roasted pepper, okra, carrots, beans and spices. The spice amounts given are minimal, up to 1 tablespoon of chili powder would be fine if desired.

2. Add ¾ C water and simmer, covered, over low heat for 45 minutes. Carrots should be tender and okra should be darker green and soft. Season with salt and pepper and remove from heat.

3. Place the okra mixture in a food processor and add oats. Pulse to combine, leaving it slightly chunky. Cover and chill the mixture until ready to cook (30 minutes or overnight).

4. Heat 1 T vegetable oil in skillet over medium heat. Scoop tablespoons of the mixture and use a second spoon to slide the mixture into the oil. Flatten the patties slightly and cook about 5 minutes. Flip and flatten again, cook another 5-7 minutes or until firm and not squishy.  Remove to a paper-towel lined plate to cool Work in batches, being careful not to crowd the pan.

Serve warm with toppings of your choice, over greens with vinaigrette, or in a bun with some pickles and such.


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