At his Boston gastropub, Blue Dragon, star chef Ming Tsai will serve these Asian-accented sliders. They're based on a recipe his mother made for him when he was young: She'd fill his thermos with the chile-sauce-and-ginger-flavored ground meat and include the slider buns in his lunch box. "Everyone at school wanted them, so I'd usually trade a little slider for a complete lunch," says Tsai.
2 tablespoons canola oil
2 (medium) red onions, finely chopped
1 cup celery, finely chopped
3 tablespoons sambal oelek or other Asian chile sauce
2 1/2 tablespoons garlic, minced
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, minced
Freshly ground pepper
1 pound ground chicken thighs
1 pound ground pork
1 cup hoisin sauce
1 cup canned diced tomatoes, drained
1/4 cup lime juice, freshly squeezed
20 brioche dinner rolls, split and toasted
Shredded iceberg lettuce and spicy pickles, for serving (optional)
How to Make It
In a large, deep skillet, heat the canola oil until shimmering. Add the onions, celery, sambal oelek, garlic, ginger and a generous pinch each of salt and pepper and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are softened, about 8 minutes. Add the ground chicken and pork and cook, stirring occasionally to break up the meat, until no pink remains, about 5 minutes. Stir in the hoisin, tomatoes and lime juice and bring to a boil. Simmer over moderately low heat, stirring occasionally, until thickened, about 20 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
Spoon about 1/4 cup of the sloppy joe filling on the bottom half of each roll. Top with shredded lettuce and pickles and serve.