Monday, March 25, 2013

M is for: March Madness {Buffalo Chicken Sliders}

Considering I haven't been working over the past four weeks, I'm feeling a little detached from March Madness this year. Working in sports television usually translates to a palpable buzz around the office come tournament time. There are generally several people hosting bracket pools and everyone is talking about their pick to win it all.

That's not to say I'm not going to be totally into the drama and excitement that comes with the NCAA Tournament. And since I've also been neglecting the blog lately, I figured that cooking up a March Madness appetizer would be a perfect opportunity to whet my appetite for basketball.

I don't know about you...but whenever I think of watching a big sporting event, buffalo wings always come to mind. I love the tangy, spicy flavor cooled off by ranch or blue cheese dressing. But what I don't generally love is how messy they can be. Sure...often that's part of the fun in eating wings, but let's be honest...who wouldn't appreciate a cleaner...and just as delicious...option?

That's where these sliders come into play. First of all, sliders are also a popular sport-watching party treat. They're adorable, easy to eat and much, much cleaner than their original counter parts.

If you are a frequent blog reader, you know that I normally love using Frank's Wing Sauce for all of my Buffalo Chicken recipes. However, I'm moving and most of my sauces are already packed. So I decided to try my hand at making my own version of a cayenne pepper sauce.

The best part about this recipe is you likely have most of this stuff on hand already. I used a combination of cayenne, garlic powder, chile powder, smoked paprika, onion powder, salt, oil and vinegar. All you really do is combine everything in a small saucepan and heat until just bubbling. If you want a slightly thicker sauce, mix a little cornstarch and water and pour into sauce until it's the desired consistency. The result? *Almost* as good as Frank's! So feel free to use your favorite bottled product, or try making this super easy version. For a richer and buttery taste, add a little melted butter to the sauce right before tossing with the chicken.

Speaking of the chicken...I used some leftover chicken pieces I keep in the freezer and sauteed it on the stove. But feel free to use chicken breasts, thighs, tenders...etc. You could even use one of those rotisserie chickens from the grocery store and pull off all of the meat. You'll need about a pound of cooked chicken to make 12 sliders. Toss the warm, cooked chicken with the wing sauce.

Spoon the chicken filling on your slider buns and top with shredded cheese. Run under the broiler for a minute or two until cheese melts and buns are toasty. Serve as-is or with a side of ranch or blue cheese dressing. Whether your team made the tournament or not...I think this recipe is definitely a winner!

Buffalo Chicken Sliders

by Jaymee Sire
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Keywords: bake appetizer snack buffalo wing sauce chicken sliders Super Bowl Tailgate American

Ingredients (12 sliders)
    For the sauce:
    • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
    • 1/2 teaspoon chile powder
    • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
    • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt
    • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
    • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
    • 1-2 teaspoons canola or peanut oil
    • 1/2 teaspoon cornstarch
    • 1 teaspoon water
    • 1/4 cup melted butter
    For the sliders:
    • 1 pound cooked chicken
    • 1/2 cup wing sauce
    • 1 cup shredded cheese
    • 12 slider buns
    • ranch or blue cheese dressing (optional)
    For the sauce:
    1. Combine spices, vinegar and oil and heat over medium heat until just bubbling. Mix together cornstarch and water to make a slurry and slowly add to sauce until it thickens to desired consistency. Stir in melted butter right before tossing with the chicken.

    For the sliders:
    1. Toss the chicken with wing sauce and spoon onto slider buns. Top with shredded cheese and broil for 1-2 minutes, until cheese is melted. Serve alone or with dressing on the side.
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    1. This looks so yummy. Thanks for the spicy recipe.

    2. Yum! My husband would love these! Can't wait to try - thanks! - MBC


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