1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 15-ounce can lard-free spicy refried beans
1 1/2 pounds ground sirloin
1/4 cup grated onion
2 large cloves garlic, grated or finely chopped
1 tablespoon ancho or other medium-heat chile powder (about a palmful)
1/2 tablespoon ground cumin (about 1/2 palmful)
1/2 tablespoon ground coriander (about 1/2 palmful)
1/2 tablespoon sweet smoked paprika or sweet paprika (about 1/2 palmful)
Salt and pepper
Extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO) or vegetable oil, for drizzling
24 tortilla chips
2 cups shredded yellow sharp cheddar, smoked cheddar or pepper jack cheese
1 heart romaine lettuce or 1/2 head iceberg lettuce, shredded
2 plum tomatoes, seeded and chopped
Pickled sliced jalapeño chile rings, drained, for serving
Directions: In a medium saucepan, bring about 1/2 cup water to a boil. In a small cup, mix the tomato paste with a few spoonfuls of the boiling water to thin the paste. Add the refried beans to the pan, stirring with the water in the pan to thin out a bit while they heat through. Lower the heat and keep the beans warm.
Place the beef in a bowl and add the reconstituted tomato paste, onion, garlic, chile powder, cumin, coriander and paprika; season with salt and pepper. Form the meat into 8 small patties (thinner at the center than at the edges). Heat a griddle or skillet over medium-high heat. Drizzle the patties with EVOO, add to the griddle and cook for a couple of minutes on each side.
Position a rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat the broiler. Place the burgers on a rack-covered baking sheet and top each with about 2 tablespoons beans. Spread 3 chips with some of the remaining refried beans and pile on a burger (the beans are the glue between the chips). Repeat with the remaining chips, beans and sliders. Top the chips with the cheese and broil for a minute to melt.
Scatter the lettuce on plates or a platter and top with the sliders, tomatoes and pickled jalapeños.
Here's what I started with: