Sliders are fun finger foods you can serve for casual dinners or for larger gatherings, and parties. What’s fun about sliders, is that you can fill those tiny buns with almost any combination of meat or vegetables. Whether you prefer flatten meat or grain patties, or plump and juicy meatballs – I think it is the perfect food.
As I have mentioned in previous posts – I learned to make meatballs from one of the best, Eileen, my best friend’s mom. She taught me that the success of a great meatball is the ingredients, but also a light touch when you form them. Pressing too hard, creates a tough and somewhat dense meatball, and who wants that??
In this recipe, I try to cut down on hands-on cooking time and heating up the kitchen, so I used my slow cooker to cook the meatballs. The low and slow heat makes them extra tender and juicy, and when you place them on a soft bun, they just melt at your fingertips. This recipe makes about 20 sliders, so if you don’t consume them all, you can freeze some for later.
1 Italian roll or 4 slices white bread, torn into small pieces
1/2 cup milk
1 pound ground beef
1 pound ground pork
1 small white onion, diced
1/3 cup parmesan cheese, grated
1 tablespoon dried Italian seasoning
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
4 cups marinara sauce
2 balls fresh mozzarella, about 8 ounces
20 slider buns
fresh basil, optional
(Makes 20 Sliders)
1. In a small bowl, add torn up bread pieces. Add milk to bread and set aside. In a large bowl, add beef, pork, onion, parmesan cheese, Italian seasoning, garlic, salt, red pepper flakes, black pepper and egg.
2. Add milk soaked bread to meat mixture and toss gently with your hands, until combined.
3. Place slow cooker insert or a large pot on stove over medium-high heat, and drizzle with 3 tablespoons of olive oil. Form meat mixture into golf ball sized meatballs and in batches, cook in oil, to brown all sides. Remove meatballs, when brown and repeat this step, until all meatballs are dark golden brown. Place meatballs back into pot.
4. Pour marinara over meatballs and cook on low for 4 hours. If cooking on stove top, turn heat to simmer and cook for 2 hours. Gently stir meatballs once during cooking time.
5. 30 minutes before cooking is complete, slice fresh mozzarella cheese. Place slices over meatballs and place lid back on top.
6. Remove lid and from heat. Separate slider buns and place a meatball on top of each half bun. Top meatball with a piece of fresh basil and top with other half bun. Serve sliders on a platter or tray. Enjoy!