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Lamb Sliders are the perfect snack for football gatherings

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There are still a few weeks of football season left and Executive Chef Fabian Quiros of Salt Creek Grille has a great idea for your next get-together. Lamb Sliders with Goat Cheese Spread will satisfy even the hungriest football fan. Try them out now and you’ll be all ready to serve them at Super Bowl time. As a bonus, check out Chef Quiros' Blue Cheese and Shallot Dip and Chipotle Macadamia Nuts.

Lamb Sliders with Goat Cheese Spread (makes 24)

3 tbls. extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup diced onions
2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
1/2 tsp. ground coriander
1 tsp. fennel seeds, chopped
1 tbl. chopped fresh rosemary
2 oz. fresh goat cheese (1/4 cup)
1/2 lb. Mexican chorizo, casing removed
1 lb. ground lamb
Kosher salt
1 cup Goat Cheese Spread (recipe below)
24 slider rolls (Hawaiian rolls work well)

For the sliders, heat the olive oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add onion and cook until soft, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic and cook 1 minute. Add coriander, fennel seeds and rosemary and cook for 1 minute. Transfer the mixture to a large bowl and refrigerate until cool.

Add the chorizo, ground lamb and salt to the bowl with the spice mixture and mix with your hands until just combined.

Roll into 24 small ovals (about 2 tablespoons meat each). Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours. Heat grill to medium heat and cook sliders for 2 minutes each side. To assemble the sliders, spread the goat cheese mixture (recipe follows) on each Hawaiian roll and set lamb slider on the bun. Garnish with baby arugula.

Goat Cheese Spread

6 oz. fresh goat cheese
3 oz. cream cheese
8 medium fresh basil leaves, chopped
1 large green onion, chopped
1 oz. minced garlic

In a small bowl with a fork, mash goat cheese with cream cheese to make a spreadable consistency. Add basil, green onion, garlic, and salt, to taste. Mix well. Set aside.

Blue Cheese and Shallot Dip

1 cup chopped shallots
2 tbls. olive oil
1 cup good mayonnaise
1/2 cup. crème fraiche or sour cream
4 oz. blue cheese

In a skillet, sauté shallots in olive oil over medium-low heat, covered, until golden and caramelized. This should take about 20 minutes. Let shallots cool. In a mixing bowl, blend mayonnaise and crème fraiche. Add softened blue cheese. Mash mayo mixture and blue cheese together until smooth. Stir in cooled, caramelized shallots. Add salt and pepper to taste. Cover and refrigerate until flavors mix, at least three hours. Eat with your favorite tortilla chips.

Chipotle Macadamia Nuts

2 tbsp. honey
1 1/2 tsp. dried chipotle powder
3/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
2 cup macadamia halves
2 tbsp. golden brown sugar
3/4 tsp. salt

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.

In a skillet over low heat, combine the honey, chipotle powder, and ground cinnamon. Stir nuts into warmed honey mixture. Stir well to coat. On a parchment paper-lined baking sheet, spread honey-coated nuts in a single layer. Bake until toasted and fragrant, about 15 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool only slightly (no more than a minute or two--you want them to still be sticky.) In a clean, medium sized mixing bowl, combine the sugar and salt. Pour the hot, coated nuts in the bowl and toss to combine. Spread nuts on cold waxed or parchment paper and let dry. It's best if they don't touch each other. Serve or store until ready to eat.

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