Cheddar, Caramelized Onion & Bacon Burger with Sweet Mustard Aioli

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The very first time I made this burger, I was 16 weeks pregnant.  Even though my first trimester was comparatively easy, I still didn’t have much of an appetite.  Once the second trimester rolled around, it returned with a vengeance.  It was Super Bowl Sunday and I wanted to put on a spread—especially because I was hungry all the time.  This burger became the centerpiece of the menu and it did not disappoint.

 

For the Burgers:

1 1/2 lbs ground beef (80-90% lean, you pick)

1 tsp Worcestershire sauce

1 tsp Dijon mustard

2 tsp kosher salt

1 tsp freshly ground black pepper

4 slices sharp white cheddar cheese

 

1. In a large bowl, gently mix the beef, mustard, Worcestershire sauce, salt and pepper with your hands until just combined.  Do not over-mix, unless you want tough burgers.

2. Divide the meat mixture evenly into quarters.  Form 4 patties, about 1-inch thick and 4-inches in diameter.  Using your thumb, make an indentation in the center of each patty.

3. Heat the grill or grill pan to high heat, then grease the grate or grill pan with vegetable oil.  Place the patties on the heated surface and cook about 3-5 minutes per side, depending on your desired done-ness.  Each side should have a nice sear.

4. Place the cheese on the patties the final minute of cooking time.  Remove from heat and assemble the burgers.

 

For the Caramelized Onions:

1 large red onion or sweet onion (such as Vadalia), halved and sliced 1-4 inch thick

1 Tbsp unsalted butter

1 Tbsp olive oil

 

1. Place the butter and olive oil in a large skillet.  Heat over medium-low heat, allowing the butter to melt completely.  Swirl the butter-olive oil mixture around the pan to coat.

2.  Lower the heat to low and add the onions to the skillet.  Stir the onions occasionally over the course of 25-30 minutes, until softened and golden.

3.  Use immediately, or remove the onions from heat and store in a sealed plastic container in the refrigerator; reheat before use.

 

For the Sweet Mustard Aioli:

1/2 cup mayonnaise such as Helman’s or Dukes

2 Tbsp whole grain mustard

1 Tbsp honey

Salt & freshly ground black pepper to taste

 

Mix all ingredients together in a small bowl until combined.  Chill until you are ready to use.

 

To Assemble the Sandwiches:

4 pretzel rolls

2 Tbsp unsalted butter, softened

8 strips of bacon, cooked

4 burger patties, prepared as instructed

Caramelized onions

Sweet Mustard Aioli

Butterhead lettuce to taste (optional)

 

1. Pre-heat the oven to broil.  Slice the pretzel rolls in half.  Spread the cut side of each half with a thin layer of softened butter.  Place the rolls cut-side up on a baking sheet and broil them for 1-2 minutes to toast.  Remove from the oven when the cut surface begins to brown.

2. On the bottom half of each pretzel roll, place the desired amount of butterhead lettuce.  Top the lettuce with two strips of bacon (you may want to break each strip in half to better fit onto the sandwich), followed by the burger patty, then the caramelized onions (about 2 Tbsp per burger, or to taste).

3.  Spread 1-2 Tbsp (or to taste) of the Sweet Mustard Aioli onto the cut side of the top half of each pretzel roll.  Place the lids on the burgers and serve immediately.

Makes 4 burgers

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