Since I don’t have a sausage-stuffing machine (you can buy an attachemnt for your KitchenAid mixer) and stuffing sausages by hand is both a chore and a bore, I decided to revamp Keo Choulaphan’s Lao-style sausages into sliders instead. The result is a winner! Try them as breakfast sausages, too.
Lemongrass pork sliders
Makes: 8 sliders
Time: 35 minutes
1 pound ground pork
1 green onion, finely chopped
1/2 tablespoon fish sauce
1/2 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon fine sea salt, divided
Pinch ground Szechuan peppercorns
2 small dried red chilies (or 1 teaspoon crushed chili flakes)
1 clove garlic, peeled
1 lime leaf
1/2 cup roughly chopped white or yellow onion (1/2 small)
1/4 cup chopped lemongrass, tender white parts only (from 2 stalks)
1/3 cup cilantro, stems and leaves
1/3 cup culantro, roughly chopped
1/2 cup good quality mayonnaise
1 to 2 tablespoons Sriracha or other chili paste
1 teaspoon freshly-squeezed lemon or lime juice
1/4 teaspoon soy sauce
8 slider buns, split in half
1. Place the pork, green onions, fish sauce, sugar, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and Szechuan peppercorns in a large mixing bowl.
2. To make the seasoning paste, whirl the chilies, garlic, lime leaf, and lemongrass in a small food processor until confetti bits form, about 30 seconds. Add the onion and whirl for about 30 seconds. Add the cilantro stems and leaves and the cilantro and whirl until a smooth pastes forms, about 1 more minute.
3. Scrape the seasoning paste into the bowl with the pork and mix thoroughly. Microwave about 1/2 teaspoon of the mixture in a small bowl for 30 seconds on medium, or until no longer pink. Taste and add the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt if desired. Divide the mixture into 8 equal balls.
4. Heat 1 tablespoon vegetable oil in a non-stick cast-iron skillet over medium heat until it shimmers. Gently arrange 3 to 4 balls in the pan and flatten with a spatula into 1/2-inch-thick patties. Fry for 2 to 3 minutes on each side until nicely browned and a meat thermometer registers 150 degrees F. Drain on paper towels and repeat with remaining patties.
5. When you’re ready to make the sliders, whisk together the mayonnaise, Sriracha sauce, lemon juice, and soy sauce in a small bowl to make the Sriracha aioli.
6. To assemble the sliders, spread some Sriracha aioli on the bottom bun, layer with one pork patty, followed by lettuce and the top bun.
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