With the college basketball tournament happening over the next few weeks, this is a perfect time to put together a party to watch the games. I always have the basics, like guacamole and chips, salami sticks and skewers with either fruit or cheese and vegetables. But, this year, I’m adding Buffalo chicken sliders with homemade “basketball” buns. These orange mini buns have a fun basketball pattern etched on top and are filled with a spicy chicken patty, blue cheese and celery sauce, lettuce, tomatoes and carrots. It’s like eating Buffalo wings on a bun. The pen used to etch the buns is available online and at many craft and cake decorating stores.
March Madness Buffalo Basketball Sliders
makes 20 sliders
2 lb Ground Chicken
1 cu White Onion, finely chopped
1 lg Egg, beaten
1/2 cu Frank’s Red Hot Sauce, or your favorite hot sauce
1/2 tsp Salt
1/2 tsp Pepper
1 cu Bread Crumbs
4 oz Crumbled Blue Cheese
1 cu Celery, finely chopped
1 cu Light Mayo
2-3 Plum Tomatoes, sliced
Green Leaf Lettuce
2-3 Carrots, thinly sliced with a potato peerle
20 Slider Buns (recipe below)
Additional Hot Sauce
Wooden Skewers (optional)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Combine first 6 chicken patty ingredients in a large bowl. Add in 3/4 cup of breadcrumbs. Shape into 20 patties and place on a lined baking sheet. Sprinkle the remaining 1/4 cup of breadcrumbs on top. Roast for 30 minutes or until fully cooked with an internal temperature of 165 degrees F. Remove from oven and drain on paper towels.
Mix together dressing ingredients and set aside.
Slice each basketball slider roll in half. Top each bottom half with a bit of leaf lettuce and a slice or two of tomato. Top the tomato with a chicken patty. Spread a bit of additional hot sauce on top of the patty (optional). Then top the patty with the blue cheese sauce. Add a thin carrot slice on top the sauce and then cover with the top of the bun. Use a wooden skewer (optional) to hold the slider in place. Arrange on a platter and serve with additional hot sauce.
Basketball Slider Buns
makes 20 mini buns
2 1/2 tsp Active Dry Yeast
3/4 cu All-Purpose Flour
1 tbl Brown Sugar
1 1/2 tsp Salt
2 1/2 tsp Olive Oil
1 lg Egg, beaten
1 1/3 cup Warm Water - about 105-110 degrees F
30 drops each of Red and Yellow Food Coloring
Green or Black Food Safe Felt Pen (available at craft and cake decorating stores)
Mix yeast with the brown sugar and 2 tablespoons of flour. Add 1/3 cup of the warm water. Stir to combine. Add olive oil and let rest for 10 minutes. Add food coloring to the remaining cup of water. Mix remaining flour and salt in a large bowl. Add egg, yeast mixture and colored water. Combine and knead for 10 minutes on a floured board. Place in a lightly oiled bowl. Turn to coat all surfaces and cover to rise for 1 1/2 hours. Punch down, divide into 20 equal portions. Roll each portion into a ball. Pinch any seams together into a central location and then place the ball on a lined baking sheet, pinched seam down. Cover with a towel and let rest for 45 minutes. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Place rolls in the oven and bake for 15-18 minutes until rolls are brown. Remove from oven and cool completely.
Once cool, create basketball pattern on each roll by first creating an “X” that goes across the top and side. Then create an upside down “U” intersecting each side of one of the lines of the “X”.