A Jucy Lucy is a burger, hailing from Minnesota with the cheese in the middle of the pattie. I've described this as a ‘Modernist’ variation as I have used a couple of techniques from Modernist Cuisine at Home – the follow up to Nathan Myhrvold’s five volume opus Modernist Cuisine designed for the home cook.
I've based my burger construction of one I found in the January 2013 issue of Gourmet Traveller. Burger construction is a science in and of itself and this strategy seemed to work very well, so often in the past I have made delicious burgers that fall apart while eating them. This however is an ace strategy that worked extremely well.
The first ‘Modernist’ ingredient was Pressure-Caramelised Onions. These were both amazingly delicious and extraordinarily easy. Finely slice a white onion and add this to one large or two smaller heatproof glass jars. Also add 10g of butter and 1/8 teaspoon of baking soda. Seal jars and cook in a pressure cooker with 1 inch of water for 1 hour. Then empty the contents into a pot and reduce to remove the liquid – perfectly caramelised onions without any fuss. Basically the baking soda raises the ph of the onions, acting as a catalyst for caramelisation; and rather than just caramelising on the outside they do it the whole way through. There are some awesome vegetable soups made this way in the book that I want to try out.
The next was sous vide burgers – Lauren wanted them to be cheese stuffed so they therefore became the famed Jucy Lucy. Basically you make a pattie around a piece of cheese – in this case some smoked Havarti from Kapiti. Rather than grilling these as per usual you put into a strong ziplock bag with a small amount of vegetable oil. Then you place into a waterbath @ 55 degrees (C) for an hour resulting in a perfectly medium rare pattie which you finish by frying in hot oil. I jerry-rigged the water bath out of a chilly-bin and as I thought it would lose more heat than it did brought the temperature up to 60 degrees using hot tap water and a small amount of boiling water from a kettle. After an hour it had only lost one degree of heat which I think is pretty damn good. Our patties were slightly more cooked than intended (medium) but they were delicious none the less. I will definitely be using this technique again, especially with steak.
For each pattie I used 150g minced beef. About an hour before beginning to cook I salted all the meat lightly and combined gently. Then I created two 75g sides, rolling them between two sheets of clingfilm to roughly the same shape. I then put a rolled out 20g piece of Havarti on top of one side, topping it with the second side and holding gently to seal. Then place in a lightly oiled sturdy plastic bag and seal by holding it under water to push any air out. Refrigerate for one hour and then place in the water bath.
Make sure if you are doing this you use extremely good beef mince, either made at home or from a butcher you trust. As mince has a huge amount of surface area it is much easily contaminated with pathogens, as compared to a whole piece of meat.
Lauren made buns which were delicious, but I can hardly try and take credit for those. Most good bread recipes are easy to convert to buns.
Now for the construction: On the bottom of the bun create a thin layer of the caramalised onions, then the beef pattie, next sauce (I used a smoked BBQ sauce I made myself but whatever you like would work well) then tomatoes, lettuce, pickle; finally topping it with the bun and a generous layer of mayonnaise.
Eat and enjoy!