International flavors are game-day tailgate winners

I have absolutely zero interest in football, basketball, or baseball - so for me, gatherings around game days are all about the food. The spread always includes a few of the grubby, nostalgic snacks we grew up with - cheesy queso dip, I'm looking at you - as well as some fresher, lighter snacks that often incorporate flavors from one of the many international cuisines that surround us in the U.S. You're looking at my contribution right now: a Korean take on the usual pulled-meat slider; a juicy sandwich loaded with gingery, chile-spiked shredded chicken and tender kale braised with garlicky kimchi.

These sliders were inspired by a simple meal made by The Kitchn's own Faith Durand. The recipe featured a one-sheet-pan roast of cubed winter squash and boneless, skinless chicken thighs marinated in a mixture that included gochujang (Korean red pepper paste), ginger, toasted sesame oil and sherry vinegar. It was deeply flavorful - and an abrupt reminder of the tub of gochujang sitting unused in my own refrigerator. Why wasn't I using the stuff on a weekly basis?

Motivated, I decided to incorporate a similar combination into my usual braised chicken-thigh routine the following week. A bag of kale, a pouch of Trader Joe's kimchi and a seeded baguette on the verge of going stale led to an incredible discovery: a new sandwich, near-perfect the first time around. I credit the gochujang. And the kimchi; that stuff has magical powers.

As with any new discovery, this one needs to be shared with the world, and what better time than during a major televised sporting event? For maximum crowd exposure, I've revamped the recipe as sliders.

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