Big provisions are required to watch the big game, and nothing’s more substantial than a burger, even in its mini form – the slider.
If you plan to serve a variety of dishes for the Super Bowl, sliders are more sensible than the full-sized guys. But they happen to be a little trickier to cook because their size makes it tough to put a nice crust on the outside while ensuring that the inside doesn’t overcook.
These are adapted from a burger I used to make a million years ago at a bar called the Del Rio – my first job as a cook. The heart of the original version was a quarter-pounder topped by “the Det mix” – canned mushrooms, canned olives, grilled onions, freeze-dried green peppers and Kraft Singles.
There also was a secret ingredient: beer. The Det Burger was steamed in beer. It was a city-wide favorite.
A generation later, I assembled the same winning combo of ingredients – in a fresher form – and focused on the cooking process.
First, the sliders need to be about ¾-inch thick so they don’t overcook. Second, the skillet needs to be large, a 12-incher.
At first, the sliders will be crowded together, but they’ll shrink as they cook, giving off fat and juices in the process. You deglaze the pan with beer, which mingles with the fat and juices to create a delectable sauce.
I recommend spooning some of this liquid onto the buns, but my son suggests pouring the sauce into ramekins and inviting guests to dunk.
BEER-STEAMED CHEESE AND MUSHROOM BEEF SLIDERS
START TO FINISH: 50 minutes
MAKES: 12 sliders
3 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
½ cup finely chopped yellow onion
3 ounces mushrooms (white, cremini or shiitake), finely chopped
2 tablespoons finely chopped pitted green olives
2 tablespoons finely chopped drained, canned green chilies
3 ounces sliced sharp cheddar cheese, broken into 12 equal pieces
1½ pounds ground beef, shaped into 12 sliders, each about ¾-inch thick
Ground black pepper
¹/³ cup beer
12 slider buns
In a large (at least 12-inch) skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until golden, about 8 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the onion to a bowl. Add another tablespoon of the oil to the pan, the mushrooms and a hefty pinch of salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the liquid the mushrooms give off has evaporated, about 5 minutes. Transfer the mushrooms to the bowl with the onion.
Add the olives and chilies to the mushroom mixture and stir well. Set aside.
Return the skillet to high heat. Add the remaining tablespoon of oil and wait until it is almost smoking. Meanwhile, season the sliders on one side with salt and pepper. When the oil is hot, add the sliders, seasoned side down (it will be a little crowded in the pan), and cook them until they are just browned on the first side, about 2 minutes. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, turn the sliders over and cook for another 2 minutes.
While the sliders are browning, top each with a heaping teaspoon of the mushroom mixture, then place a piece of cheese on top of each. Quickly pour the beer into the pan, all around the sliders, cover the pan and steam for 2 minutes.
Turn off the heat and let the sliders sit in the pan for another minute to let the cheese melt completely. Spoon some of the liquid in the skillet onto the tops and bottoms of the buns, transfer the sliders to the buns and serve.
Nutrition information per slider: 280 calories; 120 calories from fat (43 percent of total calories); 13 g fat (4 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 45 mg cholesterol; 370 mg sodium; 23 g carbohydrate; 1 g fiber; 3 g sugar; 16 g protein.