Melissa has concoted an ultimate Super Bowl spread that is sure to inspire you and marvel your guests. The fact that you have food and beverage is what attracted them to your space in the first place – aside from your wall-engulfing television and non-folding furniture. You’ve lured your guests because you opted out of take-out and prepared them a great big ole’ bowl of love (talking about chili here). In this case, Melissa is coming over to cook for my guests. Oh, and that will be $10 from each of you upon entry since I bought all of this blue cheese that’s not on sale. Enjoy the Super Bowl, everyone!
The All-American Game. Readers, let’s be honest here. I haven’t got a clue about football. I will not dare to wax poetic about who is best contender for the grand Super Bowl championship. I will not spout statistics about MVPs, losses, and wins…I wouldn’t offend you in that manner. Here is what I do know. I know that The All-American Game, football, deserves All-American fare. To that end, I believe so few foods speak of American culture as does beef chili, the centerpiece for our gathering. There are endless variations of American chili – chili with beans, without beans, with tomatoes, without tomatoes, vegetarian chili, white chili, green chili, and so on. One can become inundated by the possibilities. Need not fear y’all; Below you will find a chili to please the crowd. A true comfort food in its own right, when chili is paired with our favorite people and our favorite sport, it becomes the definition of warmth and goodness.
**Note: Adjust proportions based on the size of your party.
Hearty Beef Chili
2 cups chopped onion
1 cup chopped green bell pepper
8 garlic cloves, minced
1 pound ground sirloin
1 jalapeño pepper, chopped ( I like a lot more, just saying)
2 tablespoons chili powder
2 tablespoons of molasses
1 tablespoon ground cumin
3 tablespoons tomato paste
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 bay leaves
2 (28-ounce) cans no-salt-added whole tomatoes, undrained and coarsely chopped
2 (15-ounce) cans no-salt-added kidney beans, drained
1/2 cup (2 ounces) shredded reduced-fat sharp cheddar cheese
Parsley and green onion for garnish
Heat a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat, add onion and cook until translucent. Add the next 4 ingredients (onion through jalapeño) to pan; cook 8 minutes or until sausage and beef are browned, stirring to crumble.
Add chili powder and the next 7 ingredients (chili powder through bay leaves), and cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Stir tomatoes, and kidney beans; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 1 hour, stirring occasionally.
Uncover and cook for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Discard the bay leaves. Sprinkle each serving with cheddar cheese.
Note: Like most chilis, this version tastes even better the next day.
In my humble opinion chili should always be served with cornbread. To elevate the cornbread concept a bit, I enthusiastically recommend jalapeno cornbread. The spicy and sweet combination is scintillating. Yes, I used a literary term. It is like jazz to the tastebuds.
1/2 cup butter – melted
2/3 cup sugar
1 cup buttermilk (see notes for homemade if needed)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup flour
1 cup cornmeal
3 tablespoons diced jalapeno peppers
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
In a bowl whisk together butter and sugar. Add in eggs, buttermilk and baking soda. Stir to combine.
Add flour, cornmeal, jalapeno peppers and salt. Continue to stir to combine.
Spray a 8×8 pan with non stick spray. Pour cornbread mixture into pan.
Bake for 35 minutes.
Let cool for 20 minutes then cut into slices.
Potato Salad with Sour Cream and Scallions
Cleary ladies and gentlemen, I am on a mission to revisit many time-honored football foods, with a new vision. Below is a what I would refer to as a sophisticated version of potato skins. While the rest of the meal is on the stove, I say you throw this awesome potato salad together.
2 pounds white new potatoes, quartered and cut into 3/4-inch chunks
Coarse salt and ground pepper
3/4 cup reduced-fat sour cream
1/4 cup light mayonnaise
1/2 cup thinly sliced scallions, plus more for garnish (optional)
4 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled, for garnish (optional)
In a large pot, cover potatoes with salted water. Bring to a boil; reduce heat. Simmer until potatoes are tender when pierced with the tip of a sharp paring knife, 12 to 15 minutes. Drain well.
Meanwhile, in a large bowl, whisk together sour cream and mayonnaise; add warm potatoes, and gently fold to combine. Season with salt and pepper. Cover; refrigerate at least 1 hour and up to 1 day.
To serve, season salad again with salt and pepper, if needed; fold in scallions. Garnish with bacon and more scallions, if desired.
Fried Chicken Tenders and Blue Cheese Dip
It would be an anthema not to include a wings recipe. Let’s face it, everyone is looking forward to wings. Everyone will be disappointed if they are not featured. Don’t disappoint. Tensions are already running on high. That being said, these wings are actually wingless for easier eatablity. It’s a fun take on chicken fingers.
1 cup crumbled blue cheese (about 4 ounces)
1 cup low-fat buttermilk
Coarse salt and ground pepper
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 pounds chicken tenders
1/2 cup vegetable oil, such as safflower
1/3 cup hot sauce
2 tablespoons melted butter
Preheat oven to 250 degrees. Place a wire rack on a rimmed baking sheet, and transfer to oven. In a medium bowl, stir together blue cheese and 1/2 cup buttermilk. Season dip with salt and pepper, and set aside.
Place flour and remaining 1/2 cup buttermilk in separate medium bowls; season with salt and pepper. Set out another rimmed baking sheet alongside. Dip chicken in buttermilk (allowing excess to drip off), then in flour (shaking off excess); place on sheet.
In a large skillet, heat oil over medium-high. Working in batches, fry chicken until golden brown and cooked through, 3 to 4 minutes per side. Transfer to rack in oven to keep warm.
In a large bowl, stir together hot sauce and melted butter. Add chicken, and toss to coat. Serve tenders with blue-cheese dip.
Brussel Sprout Salad
And just when you thought, I was going to add another rich icon to our smorgasbord, here is a light, crisp salad. All that indulgent engorgement will have you wishing for something ethereal. This salad is it. Thinly sliced brussel sprouts will marry nicely with the classics of chili and cornbread.
10 medium-sized Brussels sprouts
Handful of pistachios
Handful of dried cranberries
Handful of pomegranate seeds
For the dressing:
1/3 cup Greek yogurt (or vegan mayonnaise) – optional
2 tablespoon lemon juice (or nice wine vinegar)
1 tablespoon olive oil
Salt & pepper to taste
Whisk the dressing ingredients together & season with salt and pepper. Taste and adjust the flavors. Some like lemon more than others. Some like more salt. Suit yourself.
Toast the pistachios in a dry pan for 2-3 minutes, until aromatic & beginning to change color. Stir the whole time & take care not to burn them. Set aside.
Trim the hard ends off the brussels sprouts & shred with the blade of your food processor or cut thin by hand. Be sure to break up any of the white cores that remain – even cutting them by hand if your food processor let them slip by.
Now, just toss together (go easy on the dressing).