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Black and Blue Burger Sliders
Easy to Make and Versatile
Easy meals that the family will love
Sliders, or mini-burgers, are a lot of fun to make because they have the potential to be diverse and creatively inspired. Being smaller than typical burgers, these minis are more appealing as appetizers or tapas plates. They are simple to plan and execute, they cook fast, and every ingredient is interchangeable for another. In the following example, all of the ingredients were found in the kitchen and implemented easily into the build.
What You'll Need for 8-10 servings
- 1lb of Ground Beef or Turkey, Keep it Lean
- 2 Eggs, for binding it all together
- 1 cup of Bread Crumbs, Regular or Italian
- 1 teaspoon each Salt and pepper
- A shaker of Blackening or Cajun Spices, This puts the 'Black' in Black and Bleu
- 8-10 Cocktail Croissants, Any small bread works
- 1 large Red Onion
- 1 large Sweet pepper, Use a bright color for appeal
- 1/2 pint of Bleu Cheese Crumbles, Gorgonzola works great too!
- 1 head of Romaine Lettuce
- 3 Vine Ripened Tomatoes, Any tomato can be used
- 1/4 cup of Brown Sugar
- 1/2 stick of Butter
Hygiene is the key to preparation in the kitchen
First it is necessary to perform a few small prep tasks to get everything ready to cook. Having the various elements at a stage where they can be used immediately will reduce the likelihood of over cooking, getting injured trying to hurry, and the stress of falling behind.
Before anything else, a minimum of 30 seconds should be spend in hand washing. Silently, or not silently singing happy birthday to yourself is a good measure of 30 seconds. Lay a damp towel on the counter top and place a clean cutting board on top. The towel will ensure that the cutting board doesn't move or slide during cutting. The next step is finding a good, sharp knife. Despite common logic, a good blade creates a safer environment because it reduces the amount of pressure necessary to cut objects.
Get ingredients prepped and ready
Getting everything ready to cook
Mise en place, pronounced 'meez-in-ploz', is a French term that literally translates to 'putting in place' and most commonly refers to getting everything ready that may be needed for dinner service. The mise en place in this recipe includes dicing and julienning onions and peppers, forming burger patties, washing and cutting lettuce and tomatoes, and cutting and toasting the croissants.
Preparing julienne and diced onions:
- Cut off the ends of the onion and peel the skin off
- Lay one newly cut end into the cutting board while the other faces up, place the knife over the center and cut the onion in half end to end.
- Take one of these halves and place it horizontally so that the natural grooves in the onion's layers are running vertically. Beginning on one side, cut the onion in vertical lines along the onions grooves when they are close, otherwise cut a new path. The objective is to cut long, thin strips of the onion, otherwise referred to as julienne-style. Repeat this process for the other half of the onion, and afterwards remove a 1/4 cup and finely dice it by making cuts perpendicular along the thin strips. Keep the diced onions separated as they will be used in different ways.
Preparing julienne peppers:
- Wash the pepper thoroughly and place on the cutting board. Cut the pepper in half from top to bottom, so that there is half of a stem on each pepper. Using the middle and index finger like a hooked claw, reach into the pepper and bend back the stem until it rips free.
- Clear away the seeds from inside (and the few that went flying out when the stem ripped free) and pull away the white rib-like pillars running inside the pepper. The same method is applied to this as the onions, and long, thin strips are cut along the length of the pepper. It is okay to combine the julienne peppers with the julienne onions because they are cooked together, just leave out the diced onions to be used in the hamburger meat.
Halving the croissants for toasting:
- Using a sharp bread knife, or a long one with a serrated edge, carefully cut through the middle of the croissants or other mini buns. Oftentimes mini slider buns purchased at the local grocery store will be pre-cut for the purpose.
- Lay out the halves on a cooking sheet or other grated, oven safe flat pan. Pre-heat the oven to low BROIL.
Mix the ingredients thoroughly
How to shape a burger slider patty
The next step is to get the meat mixture ready so that the patties can be formed and prepared for cooking. Add one pound of ground beef, turkey, or a vegetarian substitution into a large mixing bowl, crack the eggs into it, add the bread crumbs and begin mixing thoroughly with clean and wet hands. Wetting the hands keeps sticking to a minimum and helps with the formation of nicely shaped patties.
Add the DICED onions into the mixture with the salt and pepper and a handful of bleu cheese crumbles. Be sure to break up the bigger pieces as they are added.
Mix all the ingredients completely for several minutes and begin pulling out chunks to roll into balls approximately one inch in diameter. Press against opposite sides of the meatballs to create a flatter patty, roughly three quarters of an inch thick. When the meat patties have been rolled out, pressed, and laid out, the cooking may begin.
A large pan of popping, juicy slider burgers
Let's Get Cookin'!
The two pans needed for cooking are a medium-sized sauté pan and a large round braising pan or a large griddle (even a George Forman grill will do the trick), and place them both on medium-high heat.
The julienne onions and peppers will go into the sauté pan when it heats up with a small amount of olive oil and there sweat for a few minutes. Next season the burgers heavily with blackening seasoning or cajun spices, as long as it has some kick, then the hot braising pan will accommodate the patties, arranged around the pan evenly.
As these cook we will prepare the lettuce, tomatoes, and croissants for their supporting roles in dinner. It is really important that after contact with raw meat, always thoroughly wash the hands with warm water and a good soap. Lets get a clean cutting board and finish up this meal.
Vegetables are a burger's best friend
Wash all of the veggies thoroughly with clean water and dry with a clean towel. Wet tomatoes can present a slipping issue when trying to cut them, potentially creating a dangerous operation. Cut the end of he tomato that has the stem and continue cutting 1/4 inch rings down the length of the tomato. I feel that the rings cut out of the tomato make for the perfect size for sliders.
Next cut 2 1/2 - 3 inch squares from the lettuce (I prefer romaine, but you can use what ever you like including spring mix). These don't need to be exact, as long as they fit on the buns that you are using. After cutting the veggies, place them in bowls or other containers and refrigerate to keep them crisp and cold.
The foundation of any Slider
How to carmalize onions and peppers
The objective of sweating the onions and peppers is to extract much of the water from them and remove some of the crispness of their raw form. When there is little to no fluid in the sauté pan, it is time to start the simple process of caramelizing.
First reduce the heat to medium low, and add a half stick of butter, allow it to melt completely. Stir in the brown sugar until it is completely mixed with the butter. Continue stirring the mixture until all of the veggies are completely coated with the butter/brown sugar. Remove the pan from heat and put it aside until the burgers are constructed.
Note: The sugar may seem to melt and pool in the bottom of the pan or dish, but don't worry, a quick stir before serving will reconstitute everything. Avoid refrigerating so that the sugar and butter stays in a semi-solid state.
Bleu cheese topped burger sliders
Bringing Home the Burgers
The last step in the cooking process is completing the burger patties. They should spend an average of 3-4 minutes on each side, less if you make them thinner. While there are a couple minutes still on the clock, go ahead and take this opportunity to add the bleu cheese. Be careful because the pan is still very hot, as are the patties.
Add a small handful of bleu cheese crumbles to the top of each patty, just understand that some of the crumbles WILL inevitably fall off but don't worry. When there is a fair amount on each patty, put a lid on the braising dish and allow the cheese to soften and melt slightly.
Black and Bleu Burger Sliders
You eat with your eyes first
Now that everything is done, lets start building our burgers! Start with the bottom bun, add a slice of crisp, clean lettuce. Place the tomato slice on top of the lettuce (the reason for this order is that the tomato acts like a small bowl that will hold the burger in place) and add a burger patty to the top of the tomato using a pair of tongs to avoid burns.
Place a small amount of the caramelized onions and peppers on top of the bleu cheese crumbles, and complete the build by topping the tower with the top half of the croissant or bun. The word tower is used because of the height of the sliders, standing roughly 3-4 inches from the plate, makes them tall and unstable. Using longer wooden toothpicks or wooden kabob skewers are the best way to get the sliders to stay put.
Now the gourmet black and bleu sliders are ready to eat! Throw together some quick sides or a handful of your favorite potato chips and enjoy dinner with a twist!