The Super Bowl is this weekend. Plenty of you are very excited about it. Me? I can’t even tell you who’s playing. Sorry. I was briefly interested when it looked like the Washington Redskins might have a shot at it. But then RGIII (yes, I know who that is!) suffered a terrible injury and it was all over.
So, I’m not a football fan. But that doesn’t mean I can’t appreciate a good Super Bowl party, especially for the food, which can be quite elaborate but is at its best when it’s classic and sastisfying. Something you can munch on absent mindedly. You wouldn’t want to distract from the game…too much. That might disqualify these sliders. They are pretty amazing.
My idea was to meld two football party favorites into one: sticky, spicy Buffalo chicken wings and three-bite sliders. It’s a pretty sweet deal: all the deliciousness of Buffalo wings but without the mess. Or a mini burger like you’ve never had before.
In particular, I wanted to make sure the burger patty worked well. Ground chicken can be rather bland and has a tendency to dry out. To keep this patty moist and flavorful, I infused it with the essential ingredients of Buffalo wings sauce: butter, which substitutes for the fat ground beef would have but is absent in ground chicken, Frank’s hot sauce for moisture and kick and some vinegar for tang, as well as a little garlic. No tasteless bread filling needed here. These patties are juicy and flavorful.
To offset the heat of the sauce, I threw in a sweet pickle chip. Blue cheese sauce completes the flavor from the original Buffalo wings dish, to which I added a bit of dillweed. If you can find smoked blue cheese, I recommend it, since it helps add a little grill flavor to a kitchen-made dish. Alternatively, you could add a little liquid smoke to the cheese-mayo mixture.
For the buns, if you wanted to make your own brioche, by all means go for it. But to make things easier, I used dinner rolls, not the ones labeled ideal for sliders, since I thought they were too large, but the even smaller ones that are less than two inches across. They are like three bites each, which is perfect for party finger food. Definitely a home run...er, touchdown.
Buffalo Chicken Sliders
12 mini dinner rolls, sliced in half
1 tbsp. unsalted butter
12 sweet pickle chips
¼ cup mayonnaise
3-4 oz. smoked blue cheese
½ tsp. dillweed
1 lb. ground chicken breast
1 tbsp. Frank’s RedHot sauce, plus extra
Seasoned salt, to taste
1 tsp. apple cider vinegar
2 tbsp. unsalted butter
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tsp. canola oil
Prepare the buns: Position oven rack 4 inches from broiler and preheat. Arrange cut dinner rolls cut-side up on baking sheet. Spread ¼ tsp. butter on each roll. Broil until toasted, about 45 seconds to a minute. Remove from oven before burning.
Make the sauce: Break blue cheese into chunks. Add to a small bowl and combine with mayonnaise and dillweed.
Cook the burgers: In a large bowl, combine ground chicken, hot sauce, seasoned salt, vinegar, butter and garlic. Form into small patties with about 2 tbsp. of mixture per patty to make 12 patties. Heat canola oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Cook patties, 6 at a time, about 4 minutes per side (8 minutes total).
Assemble: Place bottom of toasted bun on plate, top with ½ tsp. blue cheese, pickle chip, cooked burger patty, extra hot sauce and top toasted bun. Serve with celery sticks, and extra blue cheese sauce and hot sauce.