I’ve never really been one for football. It’s not really what you would expect, because my father is a die-hard Giants fan, and growing up we’d watch Big Blue play every Sunday. My dad and grandpa would drink beer, my mom would whip up delicious football snacks, and me and my brother would play quietly, rarely if ever glancing at the TV. Yet despite years of these football Sundays, the whole concept of the game, the rules, the fandom – it never really clicked for me.
As I’ve gotten older, however, I’ve developed more of an interest in football – mainly because of all the positive associations I have with it. Rockstar tailgates during my undergrad at University of Maryland, the amazing super bowl feast my boyfriend’s mom whipped up last February, and lately, dozing off on Adam’s shoulder nearly every sunday while I attempt to be a “good” girlfriend and learn about football… yeah, that’s really working out…
And not surprisingly, one of my favorite things about football is (gasp!) the food, and I know that I’m not alone in this. Nothing goes better with football than rich, handheld, cheesy, savory, spicy food and an ice-cold beer (or hard cider, for real). And when yesterday arrived, the intensely anticipated game that pitted my 49ers loving boyfriend against the rest of us Giants-loving New Yorkers, and really the city in general, called for nothing short of fantastic football food.
Sadly, all of our snacks were gobbled up before I could take pictures (who am I?) but the recipes turned out so well, I couldn’t not share them. The first was a very low maintenance oniony, cheesy slider that was thick and juicy on a soft mini potato bun. This was the first course of our football feast, and since our party unexpectedly grew in size right before these were served, there were only enough for everyone to get one! But since they’re small, I’d recommend making enough for at least 2 per person, depending on how much other food you’re feeding your football fans with! I can’t take credit for this photo, but they looked a little something like this:
Another great thing about sliders is, you can top them with whatever you want. We went with caramelized onions and cheese (a classic in my opinion), but you could do pepper jack and jalapenos for a spicier twist, or keep it simple with lettuce, tomato and perhaps some bacon crumbles. And because they’re so small, there’s no reason not to mix and match. You could even put out a selection of toppings and let your game day guests DIY their sliders. Options are limitless!
Cheesy Sliders with Caramelized Onions – Makes about 12 sliders
- 2 pounds of ground hamburger meat (at least 15% fat; ground chuck works well)
- 2 onions, thinly sliced
- 1 tablespoon of butter
- 1 teaspoon of olive oil
- 1 12-pack of mini potato buns
- 8-10 ounces of a soft, mild cheddar (we used Queso de Papa, which melts really nicely)
- Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
- Extra canola oil for cooking burgers
1. About an hour before you want to serve the slider, start your caramelized onions. In a large saute pan, melt the butter with the olive oil over very low heat. Add the onions and let cook, stirring occasionally, for about an hour until soft and caramelized. (Note: in culinary school, we called caramelizing onions a “back burner process” because it can be left to take care of itself while you do other things. No need to babysit the onions, as long as your heat is very low).
2. Prep your buns by splitting them and arranging the bottoms on a serving tray. Slice the cheese into 12 thin slices, or enough to have one slice for each slider.
3. Season the ground meat with salt and pepper, and mix thoroughly. Form meat into 12 equal sized balls (about 2.5 ounces of meat per burger). Flatten the meat balls slightly, and season top once more with a bit more salt and pepper.
4. Heat a large, non-stick skillet or grill pan over medium high heat. Add canola oil and swirl to coat. When oil is very hot and begins to shimmer, add sliders. Cook for about 3 minutes on the first side, flip, and cover the pan with tin foil. Lower heat to medium and cook for another 3 to 4 minutes or until cooked through. (Note: cook slightly less on each side for a rarer burger; this will get you a medium-well slider that is still very juicy).
5. Remove burgers from pan to rest and immediate top with cheese slices and tent with foil. Once cheese has melted, place burgers on the bottom half of buns, top each with a tablespoon of caramelized onions, and the top half of the bun. Serve immediately.These are definitely one for the game day books! Coming soon, a recipe for baked buffalo chicken wings that will spice up your Superbowl party.