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A Chef's Life Marathon + Butterbean Burger Recipe


A Chef’s Life returns to KCTS 9 with a full three-hour marathon! Spend your Saturday afternoon with Chef Vivian Howard and enjoy SIX fresh episodes. Get ready to cook up a storm in your kitchen with the marathon that’s incorporating turnip greens, ramps, and farm-fresh eggs into your favorite recipes. Tune in and watch the marathon of A Chef’s Life at 3 p.m. on Saturday, June 27, and satisfy all your foodie desires with the Emmy Award-winning cooking show.


For those who are new to A Chef’s Life, the show stars Vivian Howard, a North Carolina native who learned the appreciation for food quite early in life, acquiring the tricks of the trade to eating with the seasons.

At age 23, Howard moved to New York for work. Little did she know that it was the city’s restaurants that would light up her taste buds. A server position at the Voyage in Greenwich Village allowed her to begin working under Scott Barton, the restaurant’s chef.

In 2005, Howard and her husband, Ben Knight, returned to her hometown of North Carolina where they opened Chef & the Farmer in the summer of 2006. The farm to fork restaurant serves local, seasonal, and creative cuisine. The couple’s close relationships with local farmers have allowed Chef & the Farmer to source over 70% of their ingredients from within 60 miles.

Want to watch other episodes from season one and two before the big marathon? You can find full episodes online (US-only).


Summer is heating up, which means it’s time to fire up that grill. For those who love getting the burner on for those backyard barbecues, but maybe want a little variety in what’s on the picnic tale, here’s a dish for you. The Butterbean Burger is made of all vegetables and no meat - now your vegetarian friends can finally enjoy the backyard festivities with the rest of the burger aficionados. The best part - you don’t even need the grill! This recipe requires only a sauté pan to cook with. 

•    4 cups butterbeans, also called baby lima beans in the freezer section of your grocer
•    1 bay leaf
•    1/2 teaspoon black pepper
•    5 teaspoons salt, divided
•    1/4 cup olive oil
•    2 large yellow onions, peeled and sliced very thinly with the grain
•    1/2 cup roasted garlic puree
•    3 teaspoons ground cumin
•    1 tablespoon smoked paprika
•    1 teaspoon chipotle powder
•    1 tablespoon Worcestershire
•    1 1/2 cups cooked brown rice
•    1 cup panko bread crumbs

1.    Cover the butter beans, bay leaf, and black pepper with cool water in a 4 quart pot. Bring the butter beans up to a simmer and skim off any scum that rises to the top. Cook the beans until they are completely tender and add 2 teaspoons of salt to the pot. Let the beans sit for about ten minutes in the seasoned water, then drain.
2.    Meanwhile, in a medium sauté pan, cook the onions in the olive oil for about 30 minutes, or until they are slightly caramelized. You’re looking for a honey color on these. In a large bowl, toss the beans together with everything but the bread crumbs. Transfer this mixture to the bowl of a food processor and blend until it’s mostly broken down. You should be looking at a mixture that is about 70% paste and 30% recognizable pieces.
3.    Transfer the contents of the food processor back to the bowl and stir in the bread crumbs. Let the burger mix rest for about 30 minutes. This will allow the bread crumbs to become acquainted with the bean paste, providing a sturdier burger.
4.    Divide the bean mix into 12, roughly 5 oz portions and patty them out to 1/2 inch thickness. When you’re ready to cook your burger, heat a little oil in a sauté pan until nearly smoking. Add the burger and let it brown on one side for about 3 minutes. Once it’s nice and caramelized, even crispy, on that side flip the burger and brown on the opposite side.
5.    You could, for sure, serve this on a bun with the accouterments of your choosing (I like smoked Gouda, crispy onions and a combination of ketchup and mayo), or you could just eat it with a fork alongside a salad with a bright vinaigrette.

You could substitute really any bean of your liking here. Also, these patties freeze great and can be cooked from frozen with great success.

Watch the A Chef’s Life marathon at 3 p.m. on Saturday, June 27.  


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Do I use butterbeans from frozen section or uncooked beans from a bag?
Thank you Kris

Thank you for your question, Kris. Both can work, however, we highly recommend uncooked beans from a bag. -- KCTS 9

Worcestershire sauce is not vegetarian. It contains anchovies unless you specifically select vegetarian worcetershire sauce.