I grew up in Minnesota and my home state had a lot of unique delicacies that I took for granted during my childhood. For example: grilled walleye, hotdish (aka casserole), wild rice soup, and lefse. I thought that everyone ate these foods. However, I left the Midwest for the West in my twenties, learned that the foods I grew up with were regional, and discovered new dishes and flavors that I’ve fallen in love with.

There is one Minnesota specialty that has stuck with me though and I still make it today. It is the Jucy Lucy. A Jucy Lucy is a beef cheeseburger with American cheese stuffed inside rather than on top. As the burger cooks the cheese melts making the center “jucy”.

I have partnered with my favorite neighborhood grocery store, New Seasons Market, to create a West Coast-style version of the Jucy Lucy. New Seasons Market has many locations with stores in the Portland, Oregon, metro area, southwestern Washington, Seattle, and northern California. I shop here because I know that I will always find the highest-quality meats and seafood, freshest produce, most interesting selection of cheese, and an impressive bulk food section.

New Seasons Market, Lake Oswego, Oregon

My version of the Jucy Lucy burgers are stuffed with richly-veined blue cheese and topped with soft, caramelized onions, pickled jalapeno peppers, and smoky peppered bacon. This is a childhood classic with a nod to the West Coast.

New Seasons Market, Lake Oswego, Oregon

Note: Caramelized onions may take up to 45 minutes to cook, but can be prepared up to two days in advance and refrigerated.

This post is sponsored by New Seasons Market. #newseasonsmarket

Jucy Lucy

Serves four

2 slices New Seasons Market Organic Classic White sandwich bread, torn into small pieces

1/4 cup whole milk

1 tsp garlic powder

1/2 tsp kosher salt

1/2 tsp pepper

1 1/2 lbs 85 percent lean ground beef (I like Oregon Country Beef from the meat department)

1 ounces blue cheese, portioned into four pieces (I like Organic Oregon Blue from Rogue Creamery)

4 New Seasons Market Organic Burger Buns

Caramelized onions (recipe follows)

One jar pickled jalapenos (found in the aisle that sells salsa and condiments)

4-8 slices of thick, peppered bacon from the deli, cooked and drained on paper towels

In a large bowl and using a potato masher, mash bread, milk, garlic powder, salt and pepper into a smooth paste. Add beef and lightly knead mixture until well combined. Do not overwork meat.

Divide meat into four equal portions. Using half of one portion of meat, encase one cube of cheese to form a mini burger patty.

Mold remaining half-portion of meat around the mini patty and seal the edges to form a ball. The goal of “double sealing” the cheese is to keep the cheese inside the patty while grilling. Flatten ball with hand, forming a 3/4″ thick patty. Repeat with remaining three portions of meat and cheese. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes or up to 24 hours.

Light gas grill. Turn all burners to high, cover, and heat grill until hot, about 15 minutes. Turn burners to medium. Clean and oil cooking grate. Place burgers on grill and cook without pressing down on them, until well browned on first side, 6 to 8 minutes. Flip burgers and cook until well browned and cooked through, 6 to 8 minutes.

Transfer burgers to a platter, tent with foil and allow to rest 5 minutes. Place patties on buns and top with onions, pickled peppers, and bacon. Serve and enjoy.

TIP: Serve Jucy Lucys with tater tots, french fries or a leafy green salad.

Caramelized Onions

1 large yellow onion, peeled and sliced thin

1 tbsp unsalted butter

Kosher salt

Halve onion through root end. Thinly slice onion into 1/4″ slices. I like to use a mandoline for quick work. This may seem like a lot of onion for the burgers, but they will cook down.

Heat butter in a large saucepan with high sides over medium until melted and sizzling. Add onions to pan and cook, stirring often, until onions are soft and starting to turn translucent, 1 -2 minutes. Season with a pinch of salt.

Reduce heat to medium-low and continue to cook onions, stirring every few minutes to prevent them from sticking, 15–20 minutes. If onions are getting too brown around the edges or they’re sticking, reduce your heat a bit and add a splash of water. Continue stirring until desired doneness which can be light brown (think French onion soup) or extra dark (my preference), cooking another 20-30 minutes. Once at desired color, take off heat. Onions can sit room temperature until burgers are ready.

Jucy Lucy recipe adapted from America’s Test Kitchen.