Juicy Lucy Burgers

I’m back and I’m ready to start cooking!

Sorry for my ridiculously long absence – some exciting stuff happened over the last 6 months – for starters, I got married and went on an amazingly long and necessary honeymoon to Southeast Asia. As you can imagine, my time was 100% consumed by wedding planning, honeymoon planning and of course, work. But here I am… back and ready to get this recipe train going again.

Tomorrow is the 4th of July, which means, you are all planning on BBQing, right? Right. Meet the mother of all hamburgers – THE JUICY LUCY. Meat dripping with fat, stuffed with cheese, grilled, topped with goodies and shoveled directly into your month. It’s that easy (and ever so delicious).

The Juicy Lucy is a legend. The birth of this monster cheeseburger is claimed by 2 separate joints on the same street in South Minneapolis. Whoever invented you Juciy Lucy – you taste good and that’s enough for me.

So sink your teeth into this burger, light a sparkler and try not to blow off any limbs this July 4th!

1  1/2 pounds ground beef
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
4 chunks melty cheese (such as pepper jack or swiss)
4 hamburger buns, split

Combine ground beef, salt, and pepper in a large bowl; mix well. Form 8, thin patties from the beef. Each patty should be slightly larger than the chunk of cheese.

Sandwich one chunk of cheese between 2 ground beef patties. Tightly pinch edges together tightly seal the cheese within the meat. Repeat with the remaining cheese and patties.

Preheat a cast-iron or other heavy bottomed skillet over medium heat. Cook burgers until well browned, about 4 minutes. It is common for burgers to puff up due to steam from the melting cheese. Turn burgers and prick the top of each to allow steam to escape; cook until browned on the outside and no longer pink on the inside; about 4 minutes. Serve on hamburger buns, top with grilled onions and sauce!

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Black Bean Burgers

Sometimes I get cravings for inexplicable items of food. There is usually nothing conscious that triggers these cravings, but there is a nagging sense of ‘want’ that WILL NOT go away until I have satisfied the beast. Yesterday my brain and stomach decided they wanted Black Bean Burgers. The last time I ate a Black Bean Burger was over 2 years ago while I was visiting Seattle. It’s not like I eat these often and therefore think about them a lot. Quite the contrary… I give little thought to these beantastic burgers, so… I decided to succumb and introduce Judd to the joys of a well made meatless patty.

Easy to make and yummy to devour, we were both pleasantly surprised by the flavorful patty filled with earthy spices and a kick of heat. The black bean purée combined with a whole can of beans, fresh jalapeño and cilantro creates a burger with nice texture. Cumin, dried oregano and cayenne give this dish a latin flare and rich flavor that is just asking to be dressed up with fun condiments. Top these burgers with sour cream, salsa and avocado to brighten both your plate and taste buds.

Makes 4 servings

2 (14-ounce) cans black beans, rinsed and drained, divided
3 tablespoons mayonnaise
1/3 cup plain dry bread crumbs
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon dried oregano, crumbled
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
1 jalapeño, seeded and minced, optional
1/4 cup finely chopped cilantro
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
4 soft hamburger buns, lightly toasted

Accompaniments: sour cream; salsa; avocado

Pulse 1 can beans in a food processor with mayonnaise, bread crumbs, cumin, oregano, and cayenne until a coarse purée forms. Transfer to a bowl and stir in jalapeño, cilantro and remaining can beans. Form mixture into 4 patties.

Heat oil in a 12-inch heavy skillet over medium-high heat until it shimmers. Cook burgers until outsides are crisp and lightly browned, turning once, about 5 minutes total. Serve on buns.