Beware, before you make this. These sliders turned my sweet, even tempered, loving husband into a frothing, wild-eyed stalker. (Actually, he stalks me a lot… “I’m hungry,” “Hazel’s up,” “Where’s the controller?” “Can I take a nap now?” “Where are you going?” “Is that poop?”) They’re super SUPER simple to make and even easier to eat. You’ll notice I did not put them on buns, and that, of course circles back to two basic facts:
- I can’t eat more than like 30g of carbs a day because of my dietary requirements.
- I’m too poor to buy buns we won’t use. Again, no shame in my game, we go CHEAP in this house!
Of course, don’t let that stop you from using them. Or cutting circles out of sandwich bread if the struggle is real for you this week. What’s fun about these little suckers is that you could probably get two “buns” out of one slice of bread! How about THAT for thrifty?
I decided to make my own hot sauce when I realized that we drain a $3.25 bottle of Frank’s about every 10 days. I needed something stronger, and perhaps with a little more…. mmmmm, character. Frank’s is a classic, but it gets old. So! I moseyed on down to our local Produce Junction, where I picked up a 2 lb bag of serrano chilis for $2.50 and made my way home feeling energized and ready for action.
…. Then I forgot about them for several days until I looked in my fridge and had to GRASP at my chest! For lo, I had no Frank’s Red Hot and no homemade replacement for my eggs. So I set to work and created this fiendishly fabulous green chili sauce that I decided to name after my beloved hometown demon, the Jersey Devil!
Have you ever read the children’s book “If You Give A Mouse A Cookie?” Spoiler alert: It starts out like this: “If you give a mouse a cookie, he’s going to want a glass of milk.” Now, in my case it goes, “If you give a mom some hot sauce, she’s going to want a buffalo chicken cheesesteak.” Of course, this is very depressing, since I can’t HAVE a buffalo chicken cheesesteak on my diet because sometimes, life isn’t fair. So I decided to tweak the idea a bit and came up with these delicious Jersey Devil Style Cheddar Stuffed Chicken Sliders. Hazel and I were so excited! She was probably more excited that I was excited, but I knew what was about to go down. I whipped them up, and she practiced along in her baby kitchen. I tried to include Julie in the carrier, but she was having none of it and decided nap time was a far better option. “A” for effort.
After we made them, I put Hazel in her chair, turned around, and noticed that the majority of these lovely little cheesy morsels had vanished, along with almost all of the mashed ‘cado and pico de gayo. Frantic, I scanned the room, and there was my husband, absorbed into something undoubtedly related to Dragonball Z, with a mouthful of my beloved sliders. I gave the rest to munchkin and had to make a new batch. I could’ve been mad, but in my opinion, that indicates a very successful recipe! So instead I rejoiced, and am now bringing the goodness to you.
You’re welcome in advance, because a homemade hot sauce is not only cheaper than store bought, but SOOOOOO much tastier.
Jersey Devil Hot Sauce
Time: 15 minutes
Yield: about 3 c or so
- About 1/2 lb of Serrano chilis, chopped (roughly a cup and a half)
- 5 garlic cloves
- 1/4 c onion, chopped
- 1 tsp ghee (or oil of choice)
- 1/2 tsp stevia powder (or 1-2 tsp honey, maple syrup, or sugar)
- 3/4 tsp salt
- 2 c water
- 2 c white wine or apple cider vinegar
- Juice of 1/2 – 1 lemon
- Heat oil in a medium non-stick pan. (*A little tip from my home to yours, don’t use a cast iron skillet for this part. I did, and I quickly turned my kitchen and living room into a WWI trench during a mustard gas attack. No one was thrilled with me. But we remained undeterred! Hazel, in a moment of quick thinking, removed the sink from her play kitchen and stood in it…. which didn’t help anything, but it was cute; and I transferred the ingredients to a different pan and put a fan in the window.) Once the oil is shimmering, add peppers, garlic, and onions, and saute for about 5 minutes, until they caramelize a little bit. Add water, sweetener of choice, and salt. Let the liquid cook off except for a few millimeters fro the bottom of the pan, then toss in a couple ice cubes and remove from heat. Let it cool.
- Once the peppers are cooled off, place them in a blender on high and waste ’em. Well, don’t waste them, but puree them in a mobster-like fashion. It’s more fun that way. After the concoction is smooth, pour it into a mixing bowl and finish with vinegar and lemon juice. It’s pretty hot, but it’s got so much personality! So use it liberally, but experiment a little to see what your personal tolerance is.
- Store in a couple glass mason jars in the fridge.
Jersey Devil Cheddar Stuffed Chicken Sliders
These are deliberately made super quick because when I did this I had a screaming toddler and a hangry husband up in my grill. If you want to get artsy or elitist about it, which I totally respect, feel free to use fresh versions of the powdered ingredients listed below.
Time: About 20 minutes
Yield: 12 sliders (…. which feeds one hungry husband and approximately 1/4 of a bottomless toddler. You may want to go ahead and double it from the jump.)
- 1 lb ground chicken
- 2 Tbs Jersey Devil Hot Sauce (or to taste. I say air on the side of caution because again, this is pretty darn hot for the average bear.)
- 1 tsp onion powder
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1/2 Tbs paprika
- 1/4 – 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- Roughly 12 – 1″ by 1″ by 1/4″ squares of extra sharp cheddar or smoked gouda cheese
- Oil (or my beloved ghee) for pan-frying
- Preheat oven to 350.
- In a medium to large mixing bowl, mix up the chicken with the hot sauce, spices and salt. Break this up into 12 small balls. Working one at a time, place a ball in your hand, mash it into a disc with other hand, and position a cheese square in the middle. Fold it in gently, diabolically sealing the cheese’s fate, careful not to leave any openings in the meat for the cheese to escape as it heats up and expands.
- Once you have 12 adorable little cheese dungeons, heat a tbs of oil in a large, heavy bottomed skillet over medium high, and, once it shimmers, drop each slider onto the pan with at least 1/2″ spacing between each piece. As we’ve discussed in previous posts, what you’re actually doing here is searing these little guys, because nobody eats steamed sliders on purpose. Let them chill where they fall for about 3 to 5 minutes, until you’ve got a solid, golden sear on the bottom, then flip. Don’t flip until you have a solid sear, or you’ll open up fissures in the meat shell and the cheese will take the opportunity to escape. Allow to stay on the heat for about 2 minutes, then, if your pan handle is heat proof, place the whole kit and kaboodle into the oven. If the handle is plastic or cheap rubber, let the sliders sear an extra minute, then transfer onto a parchment lined cookie sheet (Parchment means you don’t have to clean it after, so I use that, but you can also use nonstick spray.) and place in the oven.
- Let them bake 8-10 minutes, then remove and serve as desired. I like them with a side of pico de gayo, mashed ‘cado, and slathered in extra Jersey Devil sauce because I’m a masochist, but they’re great on a bun, too, with your basic LTO. It’s your body, you do what you want!