These are possibly the tastiest, juiciest veggie burgers we’ve ever made – largely thanks to the mushrooms they contain. Giant puffballs, especially the bigger specimens, contain lots of water and even though the chopped mushroom is pre-cooked to evaporate some of that moisture, enough is retained to give the burgers a lovely succulence. You can add different spices and herbs to the burger mixture before you shape them, but we like to keep it simple and enjoy the lovely mushroom flavour. Serve the burgers on toasted buns with crisp wild leaves, sliced tomatoes and a dollop of hawthorn ketchup or barbecue sauce.
- 300g giant puffball
- Olive oil, for frying
- 1 banana shallot (or half an onion), finely chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- ½ teasoon fresh thyme leaves
- 1 tablespoon light soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- 85g fresh breadcrumbs
- 1 egg
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Burger buns, wild leaves and sliced tomatoes, to serve
- Clean the surface of the puffball with a brush and dampened kitchen paper, paying particular attention to the bumps around the base, which can harbour mud and moss. Slice the puffball thickly and cut the slices into rough chunks of about 2cm. (If the skin is thick and tough, or very damaged or dirty, trim it off and discard).
- Set your largest frying pan over a medium heat and add 3 tablespoons of olive oil. Add the chopped puffball (don’t worry if the pan seems too full, the mushroom pieces will cook down quite quickly). Cook for a few minutes until the mushrooms are starting to reduce in size, then add the chopped shallots, garlic and thyme leaves. Stir and cook over a medium heat for around 15 minutes, until the onions are softened and the puffball has cooked down and is started to brown. Add the soy sauce and lemon, and cook gently until the liquid is evaporated. Tip the contents of the pan onto a plate to cool a little.
- When the mushroom mixture has cooled a little, tip it into the bowl of a food processor with the breadcrumbs, egg and some seasoning. Pulse briefly to combine.
- To taste for seasoning, take a teaspoonful of the mixture and fry it in a little olive oil. Taste and adjust the seasoning in the burger mixture as necessary. Lightly oil your hands and divide the burger mixture into four. Shape into patties around 2cm thick.
- Slice the burger buns and have the fillings standing ready. Fry the patties in olive oil over a medium heat for 2–3 minutes on each side until browned and crisp, and serve immediately.
Make sure that your puffball is pure white throughout before you cook it. The flesh turns yellow as the mushroom matures – if any yellowing is visible, the puffball should not be eaten.