Recipe: Beef sliders

February 27, 2009 1:13:21 PM PST
Nick Smith visits Aurea in the Stanford Court Hotel to learn the secret of making the perfect slider, and shares the recipe that everyone at home can try.

Aurea Beef Sliders

6 Slider buns (Hawaiian sweet rolls make a good substitute)
1 lb. Ground Beef (80/20)
1 Yellow Onion
1 tsp. Sherry Vinegar
¼ lb. Tillamook or high quality Cheddar cheese, sliced to small ¼" slices
1 oz butter soft
2 oz Canola Oil
Salt and Pepper

Method: Portion the beef to 6 burger patties approximately 2.5 oz each. Set aside

Cut the ends off the onion and cut in half from top to bottom. Then hold the onion cut side down and cut to julienne strips.

Heat 1 oz of the oil in a sauté pan over high heat until smoking and add the onions stirring to coat. Lightly season the onions to draw out some of its moisture. Continue stirring the onions and reduce the heat to medium. Cook the onions, stirring occasionally until they develop a deep caramel color, about 30 to 40 minutes.

Once the onions have caramelized stir in the sherry vinegar and set aside.

Heat up a grill or sauté pan over high heat and add the remainder of the oil to the pan. Season both sides of the slider patties with salt and pepper and place them gently into the pan. Do not move for at least three minutes. Flip the sliders over and cook for another three to four minutes. Depending on the thickness of your sliders this will a medium rare to medium slider. Cook longer for a more well done slider.

Lightly brush the buns with the soft butter and toast in a broiler or on the grill. Top the sliders with the cheddar cheese and the caramelized onions. Place in the toasted buns and serve.

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About Chef Jeffery Surprise, Aurea at The Stanford Court, a Renaissance Hotel
A passion for cooking that began at an early age brought Jeffery Surprise to The Stanford Court and to his most recent position as chef of the hotel's Aurea restaurant.

Growing up in Bethany, Connecticut, Surprise became interested in cooking at a young age, helping his mother and grandmother in the kitchen and watching television cooking personalities Julie Childs and Jacques Pepin. After graduating from high school, Surprise enrolled in New Hampshire College's (now the University of Southern New Hampshire) culinary program, earning his associates degree in culinary arts and a bachelor's degree in restaurant management.

While interning at The Sagamore in Bolton Landing, N.Y., Surprise realized that he enjoyed the fast-paced culinary environment of a hotel and headed to Florida to be a part of the culinary team at the Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island. Surprise next accepted an offer to transfer to the Ritz-Carlton, San Francisco, where he spent five years working under Chef Jean-Pierre Dubray.

Chef Surprise's next venture led him back to the East Coast and to Boston's acclaimed Radius restaurant working alongside Chef Michael Schlow. After one long, cold winter in Boston, Surprise set his sights for the Bay Area, where he landed a position as part of Michael Tusk's culinary team at Quince. Under Tusk, Surprise learned about the Slow Food movement, the benefits of local, sustainable farming, and a rigid adherence to seasonality. In addition, he had the opportunity to work with local organic farmers, building valuable relationships and learning not only where the restaurant's produce came from, but also the provenance of many of its meats.

Missing the diversity and fast pace of a hotel, Surprise began seeking a position that would provide the best of both worlds. After meeting The Stanford Court's executive chef, Werner Albrecht, he knew he had found a hotel that focused on service and innovation, and a culinary program that would allow him to practice the culinary arts at the highest level.