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Football Food: Ham and Swiss Sliders

Virginia is known for its ham so we thought we'd bake up a batch of those little ham sandwich thingies that you eat on Hawaiian rolls

Ham on, ham on, ham on whole wheat, all right!
Ham on, ham on, ham on whole wheat, all right!

For some reason I have ham on my mind.  It's hard to think of much else when you're a perpetually hungry man and every article you've read this week has a reference to Virginia, a fine American state famous for its ham.  We'll take some liberties here with tying it in to regional cuisine as this is probably more Hawaiian than Virginian considering the make and model of sweet rolls employed.  I was going to save this recipe for the next time we wound up in the Hawaii bowl because growing up, my mom always made these sliders on Christmas Eve out of the honeybaked ham we had on hand.  But maybe we should aim a little higher with the post season.  Plus there will be a great need for Kelly-Maliki-maki rolls to be invented for that occasion should it happen again soon.

These ham and swiss sliders are honestly great.  They are sweet, salty, a little funky, super easy to make, and ridiculously crushable.  Before we get into them let's get into some bourbon though because I think the sliders will pair really well with my Cutie Old Fashioned, my favorite gameday cocktail for these afternoon games when you have a limited amount of time to get where you need to be.  Cuties are a staple in my household, to the point where I'm pretty sure they regenerate by themselves in our fruit bowl.  It's a shame my bourbon doesn't do the same.  Combine the two with some sugar and good bitters and you have yourself a stew.

NDMSPaint's Cutie Old Fashioned


-4 oz 100+ proof Kentucky bourbon (I prefer Medley Brothers)
-huge tablespoon of sugar
-a dozen dashes of bitters (I prefer Fee Brothers grapefruit bitters (didn't have this on hand during the shoot)
-thumb-sized piece of Cutie peel


First we coat the bottom of an old fashioned glass with sugar:


Next we start dashing in the bitters until there's a nice slurry going on.  Stir it up:


What are Cuties?  Some sort of next level candy made to give you the impression that you are eating something natural and wholesome?  There's no way these things would ever occur naturally, right?  Grab one, peel some of the peel and drop it in the glass.  Take in the pungent orange smell; it's a match made in heaven for the potent bourbon we've chosen.


Pour in the bourbon and stir everything up vigorously, releasing some of the oils from the peel into the cocktail.  Drop in some ice and you're ready to go.  Might want to wait for that ice to melt some though.  Cheers!


Alright now we're ready to make those ham slider thingies.

Little Ham and Swiss Slider Things on Hawaiian Rolls

Ingredients (serves about 8-10):

-One 24 count package of King's Hawaiian little sweet rolls
-About 1.5 lbs of ham (any kind including deli sliced will do)
-medium onion, sliced thin
-stick of butter
-3 tablespoons of dijon mustard
-2 tablespoons of Worcestershire sauce
-1 tablespoon of poppy seeds
-6 slices of swiss cheese

Preheat oven to 350


First, the ham.  Ideally you have some sort of nice honeybaked ham, the kind you would serve on a holiday.  You'd use the leftover slices from that.  To push the limit here, I grabbed a cheapo brined-out-of-its-mind boneless half ham.  If you've ever had a Lunchable, this is where that ham likely comes from.  There's a time and place for all hams.  IMPORTANT: Make sure the ham is 100% guaranteed to be ham.  The ham provider needs to vouch for that ham.  You don't want to open it up and have it be something other than ham with nowhere to take it back:


Next, in a small saucepan, melt 3/4 of the stick of butter with the Worcestershire sauce, the mustard, and the poppy seeds.  You don't need to cook it thoroughly or anything, just melt the better completely and stir it all together:


With the remaining butter, start sauteing the onions until soft and golden:


Open up the package of rolls.  Unfortunately, they don't come pre-sliced.  Take your best knife and just run it through the whole thing.  You need a really good knife for this.  Otherwise you might need to break them up individually which will take just a few extra minutes, no big deal.  I'm running my Kramer knife through it like a boss:


Next, put the bottom layer of bread in a greased 14 x 10 baking dish:


Essentially this is a parallel universe lasagna.  Starch, meat, veg, cheese, sauce layered together.  The first layer after the bread is the ham, sliced relatively thick for that extra meatiness:


Once the onions are soft and brownish, spread them over top of the ham layer:


The next layer is going to be your layer of Swiss cheese:


Now, the sauce:


Make sure it is evenly distributed:


Finally, pop the tops back on and cover with foil:


Bake at 350 for about 20 minutes:


Once done you can divide them up and serve the sweet and savory warm melted goodness to everyone within close proximity:

They taste as good as they smell. Sniff sniff...

Uh-oh, looks like someone's creepin' on our sliders!  Best wait for the bye week, Coach!