Friday, October 7, 2011

Gorgonzola Juicy Lucy Hamburger with Sautéed Onions and Mushrooms, Garlic Aioli Paired with 2009 Cupcake Vineyards Red Velvet

2009 Cupcake Red Velvet and Gorgonzola Juicy Lucy

This pairing was inspired by my recent and intense exploration of California blends and an episode of America’s Test Kitchen.  If you have not explored the many blends coming out of California, I recommend you give them a chance.  Most popular among these blends are a combination of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Zinfandel.  Of course there are other blends, but these seem to be the dominant grapes used in these proprietary blends.

Out of the many I have recently tasted, I am very pleased.  It is a tough job, but I am up to the challenge.  These wines are smooth, layered with flavor, and generally inexpensive.  The 2009 Cupcake Vineyards Red Velvet was next on deck and was my choice to pair with the Juicy Lucy Hamburger.

Hamburger Rolls

Before viewing the episode of America’s Test Kitchen that inspired this pairing, I had never heard of a Juicy Lucy Hamburger.  Simply put, a Juicy Lucy is a hamburger stuffed with cheese.  According to Wikipedia;

“Two bars on the same street in South Minneapolis both claim to have invented the sandwich: Matt's Bar and the 5-8 Club. They differ in how they spell it; the former omits the letter "I" in "Juicy", while the latter uses the standard spelling. Shirts worn by staff at the 5-8 Club have the motto "if it's spelled right, it's done right" while advertising for Matt's Bar says, "if it's spelled correctly, you're at the wrong place."

If you are like me, the Juicy Lucy solves an important hamburger challenge – melted cheese.  I consider the construction of a hamburger something of utmost importance.  In other words, all the stuff that goes on a hamburger must be placed in a specific order to ensure the flavors combine optimally, and most importantly, the cheese must be placed directly on the burger to ensure it melts. 

There may be a few of you that are thinking I’m a lunatic.  But most of you will secretly admit you have your own routine and rationale for the proper order of hamburger ingredients.  I know you do – don’t be shy.

Sauteed Onions Mushrooms and Garlic

The Juicy Lucy elegantly takes care of the melted cheese issue by putting the cheese inside the burger and ensuring gooey, cheesy goodness in every bite – and no sliding cheese issues.  America’s Test Kitchen went into great detail on the best way to form the burger with the cheesy surprise in the middle.  They suggested taking a chunk of cheese and forming a small burger around the cheese to seal it completely.  The next step involves adding another layer of ground beef to form a fully sized patty.

Chef Sue decided she wanted to use crumbled gorgonzola which made the America’s Test Kitchen method difficult.  Chef Sue decided to go with two thin patties to encapsulate the cheese and firmly seal the edges to keep the cheese in place.

Chef Sue also decided to make her own hamburger from fresh sirloin and a handful of other ingredients you will find in the recipe.  Chef Sue’s unbridled creativity paid great dividends.  The burger was absolutely fantastic.

2009 Cupcake Vineyards Red Velvet

To accompany our Juicy Lucy hamburgers we chose the next California blend which was patiently waiting on deck – the 2009 Cupcake Vineyards Red Velvet.  From the winemaker:

“Our first blended red wine for Cupcake Vineyards has over the top aromas of chocolate, deep rich blackberries, red fruits that follow through the palate to a creamy mocha finish that is unmistakable in its intensity and length, with a hint of coconut. It’s reminiscent of a blackberry chocolate cupcake with a mocha coulis.”

“Red Velvet is a blend of Zinfandel, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Petite Sirah; each variety lending structure, aroma, depth of flavor and a long creamy finish to this wine.   The grapes were harvested from some of the finest vineyards of California’s viticultural areas; each picked for their ability to engender these grapes with distinct characteristics that will add to this blend. Each varietal was fermented separately and later blended and put through a unique oak regime that imparts a certain creaminess.”

We concurred with the tasting notes with the exception of the hint of coconut we did not pick up.  The body of this wine was perfectly matched to the hamburger and the chocolate and fruit flavors were a wonderful complement.  The wine also worked surprisingly well with the twisted pasta and vegetables we chose to accompany the burger.  Overall, this was an exceptional pairing.

This pairing is another great choice for your grilling season and certainly works great as another arrow in your quiver of great football food.

2009 Cupcake Red Velvet and Gorgonzola Juicy Lucy-1


Gorgonzola Juicy Lucy


  • 1 pound sirloin
  • 10 cloves roasted garlic
  • 4 tablespoons crumbled gorgonzola cheese
  • 1/2 medium red onion (for burger mixture)
  • 1 red onion, sliced, to top burger
  • 1 cup sliced mushrooms
  • 6 cloves roasted garlic (for burger topping)
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil


  1. Run sirloin, garlic and onion through meat grinder
  2. Combine salt and olive oil with ground sirloin.
  3. Form two thin patties, about 3/8" thick. (you will have enough ground sirloin for four complete burgers)
  4. On one patty place 1 tablespoon of gorgonzola cheese in the center.
  5. Top with second patty, and form into a single patty.
  6. Continue until you have prepared all four burgers.
  7. Place on preheated grill for four minutes.
  8. Flip, puncture with a small hole to release the steam from the cheese, and continue to grill for another three minutes.
  9. Top with sautéed onions, mushrooms, and garlic.
  10. Drizzle with garlic aioli

Twisted Pasta with Anchovies and Fresh Vegetables

Twisted Pasta


  • 1/2 pound fettuccini (Chef Sue made fresh pasta and twisted)
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes
  • 1 roasted red pepper
  • 3 anchovy fillets finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon capers
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Juice from 1/2 lemon
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1 ounce grated parmesan cheese.
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Sauté garlic and anchovies in olive oil and lemon juice.
  2. Add remaining vegetables and 1/2 cup liquid from the pasta boil
  3. When the tomatoes become soft, add pasta, remove from heat and let set for 2 minutes.
  4. Season to taste.
  5. Top with grated parmesan.

In vino veritas, buen provecho.


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