I can’t say I’ve thrown a lot of Kentucky Derby parties.
I can’t say I’ve been to many.
Okay, I haven’t been to any, and yes, I googled “Kentucky Derby Party” when I started thinking about this challenge.
So experience-wise I’m a little behind the other ladies to say the least. But I was determined to make a good showing.
From my research, I kept coming across recipes involving pimento cheese and bourbon—a lot of bourbon.
Now this is not completely shocking, since a lot of good southern recipes (and many of Damaris's, Terra's and Becca's) involve one or the other.
And as I thought about the cheese and the bourbon, I began to lean towards making sliders.
But I wanted to bring a "Meat On The Side" spin to the dish—while of course keeping it simple and sticking to the challenge of using 10 ingredients or less.
So I decided to simmer some portobello mushroom tops in bourbon, lemonade, and brown sugar and then smother those in classic pimento cheese (I used Damaris’s pimento cheese recipe, because why mess with the best?!).
And by re-purposing the lemonade and bourbon that remained after I made my sauce, I was able to mix up a tasty cocktail—all while using only 10 ingredients and getting a party's worth of sliders done in 30 minutes!
Now I just need to get some other New Yorkers excited about the Derby (and I think these sliders and bourbon will do the trick!) so we can enjoy Saturday afternoon together, Southern-style!
My 10 Ingredients:
1. cream cheese
3. garlic powder
4. cheddar cheese
6. portobello mushroom caps
7. olive oil
9. light brown sugar
10. slider buns
kosher salt + ground black pepper ("free" ingredients)
Bourbon-Braised Portobello + Pimento Cheese Sliders
- 4 ounces cream cheese
- ¼ cup mayonnaise
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 8 ounces shredded sharp cheddar cheese
- One 4-ounce jar sliced pimentos (about ¼ cup), drained
- 12 to 16 portobello mushroom caps (12 if they are large, 16 if they are small)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 cup lemonade (+ more for cocktails!)
- ½ cup bourbon (4 ounces)
- 4 tablespoons packed light brown sugar
- 16 slider buns
- Preheat the oven to 200°F. Add the cream cheese, mayonnaise, garlic powder, ½ teaspoon of the salt, and the pepper to the bowl of a food processor, and combine until smooth. Transfer the mixture to a medium bowl, then fold in the cheddar and pimentos and set aside.
- Remove the stems from the mushrooms, then cut off the mushrooms’ gills and curved edges so that the bottoms are flat. Working with two large pans, heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in each pan over medium-high heat, then add half of the mushrooms to each pan (if you don’t have two large skillets, you can work in batches with one pan). Cook the mushrooms until they are just beginning to brown—about 3 minutes per side. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine the lemonade, bourbon, brown sugar, and remaining ½ teaspoon of salt.
- With the mushrooms still in the pans, turn the heat to low and add half of the bourbon mixture to each pan. When the bubbles subside, turn the heat to medium and continue cooking, flipping the mushrooms occasionally, until the mushrooms are well-browned and the liquid has reduced by three-quarters (there will be about 2 tablespoons of liquid remaining in each pan) and is thick and syrupy—about 6 to 8 minutes.
- Transfer the mushrooms from the pan to a baking sheet to keep them warm in the oven until you are ready to serve them. When you are ready to serve, trim the mushrooms if necessary to fit your slider buns. Place a mushroom square on the bottom of each slider bun, then top with 1 tablespoon of the pimento cheese spread along with the top bun. You will have about 1 cup of cheese spread leftover to use as a dip or spread!
- Combine ½ cup (4 ounces) of the lemonade with ¼ cup (2 ounces) of the bourbon. Cheers!