Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Juicy Lucies (cheese-stuffed burgers) with Texas Tapenade

Have you ever had a Juicy Lucy? I hadn't even heard of them until I moved to Minneapolis several years ago. I have to say, they may be the sole reason worth suffering through a midwest winter. A Juicy Lucy is just a burger with a pocket of gooey molten cheese hidden inside. Our favorites were the lucies at Adrian's Bar and Grill - a wonderful old dive bar in south Minneapolis. Dang they were GOOOOD...

Adrian's I believe were made with cheddar but cheddar didn't seem quite right with turkey burgers for some reason so I decided to try a trio of white cheeses here and wasn't disappointed. The accompaniment - Texas Tapenade - is more a sun dried tomato pesto than a true tapenade, the Texan element being jalapeno stuffed olives. If you don't have those on hand, feel free to substitute regular jumbo green olives or even kalamata or black olives along with a good pinch of red pepper flakes for that southern heat wave element. Yeee haw!

PS - don't be upset if your burgers separate into two patties by the end of cooking exposing the cheesy goodness inside. That's just Lucy flirting with you....

Juicy Lucies with Texas Tapenade
Serves 4.
* The tapenade is great on crostini or with crackers as an appetizer or snack or on any number of sandwiches.

1 package (1.3 pounds) ground lean turkey
1/4 cup minced shallots (2 regular)
1 garlic clove, minced
zest of 1 large lemon
2 tablespoons shredded parmesan
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
fresh cracked pepper
4 English muffins, toasted or griddled

In a large bowl, combine the minced shallots, garlic, lemon zest, parmesan, salt, and pepper with a fork until evenly mixed. Add the turkey meat and gently combine with your hands trying to incorporate everything evenly but not overwork the meat. Set aside while you make the juicy filling.

Juicy Filling:
3 oz goat cheese
2 tablespoons parmesan
2 tablespoons shredded mozzarella
good grating fresh nutmeg
fresh cracked pepper
dash salt
splash half and half or heavy cream, just enough to bind all the cheeses together without making it too wet/mushy

Mix the cheese, nutmeg pepper and salt together with fork. Add JUST enough half and half or heavy cream to help them make friends and bind being careful not to make it to 'wet' as you'll need to form the mixture into little patties. Once combined, use your hands to make little flattened discs. I confess to getting 5 out of them and only 4 burgers of the meat mixture, so you might want to reserve the 5th patty for another use (cracker spread/etc.)

To form the juicy lucies, gather enough ground meat in your palm (about the amount it would take to make a jumbo sized meatball or a thin hamburger patty.) Gently press and turn with your hands to make a patty, ensuring you'll have enough of an 'edge' around your cheese disc so that you can seal it. Set the patty on a greased surface then set the cheese disc in the center. Create another thin patty out of the meat mixture and place it over the cheese disc. You'll need to carefully pick it up and turn the juicy lucy in your hands as you gently press and crimp the edges together, ensuring you've got a good seal. Set aside and complete the rest of the patties. (After forming, you can either refrigerate for up to 8 hours, covered, or cook right away.)

To cook, preheat oven to 400 degrees. Season the burgers on the top sides with salt and pepper. Grill or pan fry until golden on both sides - about 4 minutes per side, ensuring you don't have too high a flame so that the cheese melts through but doesn't liquify too early in the cooking process and leak out (also be careful when flipping - remembering your delicate little package inside.) Transfer to the 400 degree oven for 5 minutes to cook all the way through. Remove and let 'rest' for five minutes, lightly tented with foil, before serving.

Serve with Texas Tapenade (below) on toasted English muffins.

Texas Tapenade Ingredients:
3/4 cup sun dried tomatoes packed in oil, drained (reserve oil)
1 clove garlic
2 jumbo jalapeno-stuffed green olives (or regular jumbo olives plus a pinch of red pepper flakes)
zest of a small lemon (or half a large one)
2 tablespoons pine nuts (toasted)
2-3 sprigs boxwood (pistou) basil or 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil leaves
1-2 teaspoons oil from the sun dried tomatoes
fresh cracked black pepper

Texas Tapenade Directions:
If you have the time or energy, give the sun dried tomatoes and garlic clove a rough chop. If not, just chuck them all into the blender and pulse a few times. Add the green olives and pulse again until there are no large chunks of olive left (unless you like your tapenade on the chunky side.) Add the lemon zest, pine nuts, basil, oil from the sun dried tomatoes and some fresh cracked pepper and pulse again until well blended. Decide wether you want to add more oil or not (there is a never ending battle at our house between my husband and me - I like my pesto on the drier side - he the liquidy side...) make any adjustments necessary and either refrigerate for up to 3 days before using or serve right away.


Velva said...

I could easily enjoy juicy lucy's. Very cool.


Natalie said...

Put it in my belly!!!

Jenn said...

OH MY GOD... that sounds so amazing!! Or as Chris said as I was explaining it to him: Oh, that just sounds cheesy good!!!

Design Wine and Dine said...

Love it and now MUST try it! Perfect for the coming long weekend!

Ma What's 4 dinner said...

I have heard of the Jucy Lucy and the Juicy Lucy! I hear there are 2 and they fight over who is the original. I've never been to either, but I watch a lot of travel channel. I'm dying to try one. Thanks for giving me a recipe to give it a go!

Lots of yummy love,
Alex aka Ma What's For Dinner

StephenC said...

That's such fun, even the name.

Malli said...

Texas Tapenade sounds delish and ur sandwich makes me sooo hungry!!