Hello friends, I am back from Austin, Texas where I just spent five glorious days at Blogher Food, a conference that celebrates the passion behind food blogging. What a blast I had eating my way through the city and hanging out with all my old and new blogging buddies. More on all of that later.
But there is something I love just as much as food conferences and that is a good-old fashioned recipe contest. It's a fun way to get the creative juices flowing. I love being handed a product and having to come up with a great idea to really show off its flavor.
This particular contest is sponsored by Saucy Mama, with their line of gourmet mustards. I first met the Saucy Mama crew at an event last summer. They are seriously some of the nicest and most generous people I have come across in the blogging world. Their products are also made right here in Oregon, something else I love.
Anyway, they are having somewhat of "chopped" competition with food bloggers, except they are calling it "sliced". There are also secret ingredients in each round for appetizers, entrees and desserts.
This first square-off is for appetizers. I chose to use Saucy Mama's Creamy Garlic Mustard and the secret ingredient was bacon (how perfect). Like I mentioned, making something that remained true to the flavor of the mustard and wasn't just a dipping sauce was important to me. However, I also wanted to add a brightness to the recipe, which is where the peperoncini came into play. I cannot tell you how well it works in this dish. I kind of high-fived myself once I tasted it.
If I don't get "sliced" in this round, I will go onto the entree competition with a new mustard and a new secret ingredient. Wish me luck!
Since this is an appetizer, simple ingredients were key. Have you ever bought this packaged, cooked chicken from Costco? I use it in so many things (pastas and soups), when I need a quick meal. It is so convenient and tastes great. If you do not have access to chicken like this, feel free to use a rotisserie chicken cute into cubes (easier to do when the chicken has been in the fridge overnight).
A slow warming of the mustard with cream cheese and a few other ingredients make a tasty sauce.
While the chicken mixture is heating up, toast the slider buns in the oven.
Creamy Garlic Mustard-Chicken Sliders with Bacon and Peperoncini
- 8 ounces cream cheese
- 1/2 cup Saucy Mama Creamy Garlic Mustard
- 1/4 cup finely chopped peperoncini
- 2 teaspoons peperoncini juice (from the jar)
- 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 2 lbs pre-cooked chicken (Kirkland brand) or rotisserie chicken cut into 1" cubes
- 12 slices center cut bacon, cooked until crisp
- 3 Tablespoons olive oil
- 12 slider buns
- melted butter and poppy seeds (optional)
- 12 whole peperoncinis
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Over medium-low heat combine cream cheese, mustard, peperoncini, peperoncini juice and red pepper flakes. Stir with a wooden spoon to help the cream cheese melt over the heat. Once it is a creamy consistency, add the chicken and stir to coat. (Keep warm)
- While making the chicken mixture, brush insides of slider buns with olive oil and toast them in the oven for 15 minutes.
- When buns are ready, break each piece of crispy bacon in half and place both slices on the bottom of the bun. Add warm chicken mixture on top of the bacon. Top with a bun and brush with melted butter and sprinkle with poppy seeds (optional). Secure a whole peperoncini on top of the bun with a skewer or toothpick.
Don't underestimate the power of cute skewers. It makes all the difference.
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