Beef Sliders with Aioli and Caramelized onions

Happy Father Day to all dads out there including the 3 closest in my life my husband, my dad and my father-in-law!

I hope this first full day of summer is not the gauge of how the rest of the summer is going to turn out. Here in NH it is a cold rainy dreary kind of day so far. To take the slight chill out of the air and it being father’s day, I decided it would be nice to make my husband one of his favorite soups. I know mid-June is not supposed to be soup weather but turning on the stove top and also I had some overripe bananas in the fridge so I also turned on the oven and made a few small loaves of banana breads.

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Clam Chowder – recipe blog 3/15/2015

While I loved being on vacation and especially in Italy with my daughter, I did miss cooking in my own kitchen.  It kind of was a crazy week of weather here in NH this last week. Monday was cold and barely made it into the 60’s and on Tuesday it was very close to 80 pretty ridiculous even for us. This is probably why they say if you don’t like the weather here wait 10 minutes.

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While at the local market they had a cooler with quick dinner ideas. They had some pretty great looking 80/20 beef sliders so I picked up a couple of packages along with some small buns from the bakery. Because of the size of the sliders it is really hard to put all the toppings we generally put on our burgers; lettuce, tomato, pickles etc. so I was in search of some ideas for an aioli of some sort. I came across one from Guy Fieri but his were not simple burger his were made with Kobe beef.  Pretty sure I have never seen Kobe beef in a local market here; but his aioli sounded delicious and he had added some caramelized onions so why not check it out.

They came out delicious and believe it or not we actually had a few leftover; I was worried about storing them bun and all but my son and his friend heated them up the next day and said they were still good so don’t feel you have to eat them all and you will have leftover aioli, the caramelized onions were another story, I made sure to use all of them up, they were SO good.

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Onions

2 tbs extra virgin olive oil

2 large Vidalia onions, thinly sliced – I used my mandolin to slice them

2 tbs Jack Daniels – or whatever bourbon you have on hand – if you don’t have any buy a nip or two

3 tbs unsalted butter

2 tbs sugar

Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper

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Aioli

2 cups Mayonnaise

1 tbs tequila – again buy nip if you don’t have any on the shelf

2 tbs fresh lime juice

3 tbs pickled jalapenos – I couldn’t find them and didn’t want to make them so I added a little pickle juice.

¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro

Burger

3 lbs grounds beef

Vegetable oil for the grill

1 tsp garlic salt

Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper

12 mini burger buns

Butter for the buns

12 lime wedges

Onions – heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat, before it starts smoking add the thinly sliced onions. Stir to coat; lower heat to low and cook until the onions are golden, 30+ minutes. Remove from heat to add the bourbon scraping up the yummy browned bits with a wooden spoon. Return to low heat, add the butter and cook until melted. Add sugar, salt and pepper to taste. Cook until there is very little liquid left in the pan

Aioli – put all the ingredients in a food processor until combined; cover and place in the fridge until ready to use.

Sliders – if not already formed, form the patties into 12 4-ounce patties and about ½ inch thick. Oil the heated grill grates, add the burger and season with garlic salt, kosher salt and pepper to taste. Grill until browned and cooked halfway through, 3-4 minutes.  Flip and top with some of the caramelized onions and cook 3 more minutes for medium.

Buns – butter both sides of the buns and place on the grill to toast about 1-2 minutes.  Spread the aioli on the top bun, place burger on the bottom, cover with the tops and thread each lime wedge onto a skewer; pierce the skewers through the sliders.

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Sliders, Rum and Coke and a Strawberry Daiquiri – strawberries from our garden

Adapted from Guy Fieri for Food Network Magazine

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