Super Sunday: Ready, set — eat!

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Newsroom

                       Annabel Cohen
                       Food Columnist

Millions will tune in this weekend to watch the Patriots beat the Falcons — or the other way ’round. Either way, there will be more pizza, chicken wings and subs served than almost any other day of the year. Historically, the number of Super Bowl parties even outnumbers New Year’s Eve parties.

While the game officially begins at 6:30 p.m., a lot of folks start the party early, so schedule the important part — the food — accordingly. Pre-game watching is mostly snacks, while the halftime show is often the main event.

This year, Houston, Texas, is hosting — a great opportunity to add Tex-Mex, Atlanta and New England treats to the menu.

The following recipes are crowd-friendly and super-easy. If you’re having a big group, double or triple the recipes or serve more variety.

I like to supplement menu choices with plenty of “snacks.” I fill individual bowls full of grape tomatoes, olives, cashews, mini pretzel nuggets and other quick grabs. Add some candy as well: A vase or tall glass stuffed with red and black licorice, M&Ms and other favorites are always sure winners.

You simply can’t watch a Super Bowl game without eating. So tune in, chow down, rate the commercials. It’s tradition.

GRILLED CHICKEN FAJITAS WITH PEACH SALSA
You can make these with flank steak or London broil as well. Peaches in the salsa are a nod to Atlanta!

Salsa:
2 plum tomatoes
2 cups frozen peach wedges, thawed
1 red or green bell pepper
6 scallions, cut into 2-inch pieces
1 Tbsp. olive oil
½ cup fresh cilantro leaves
2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice or red wine vinegar
Hot red pepper sauce to taste
Salt and pepper to taste

Chicken:
1½ pounds boneless and skinless chicken breasts
1 Tbsp. minced garlic
¼ tsp. ground cumin
¼ tsp. dried oregano, crumbled
¼ tsp. ground cinnamon
¼ tsp. dried thyme, crumbled
1 Tbsp. hot red pepper sauce, such as Tabasco
Juice of 1 lime

Vegetables:
3 Tbsp. olive oil
1 large Spanish onion, or other mild onion, sliced thin (about 2 cups)
1 red bell pepper, sliced thin
1 green bell pepper, sliced thin

Other ingredients:
6-8 flour tortillas
Sliced avocados or guacamole, garnish

Make salsa: Place tomatoes and peaches in the bowl of a food processor and pulse several times until chopped. Transfer to a medium bowl. Repeat with the bell pepper and scallions (do not chop all the vegetables at once). Add the remaining ingredients and season to taste. Cover and chill until ready to use, up to 2 days ahead.

Make chicken: Combine all chicken ingredients in a large bowl and turn the chicken to coat. Cover and chill 30 minutes to several hours. Alternately place all ingredients in a zipper-style plastic bag and turn several times to coat. Chill for 30 minutes to several hours.

Heat grill to high. Remove from bag and grill on both sides on a hot grill or until just cooked through, 4-5 minutes on each side (do not overcook). Slice into thin strips and set aside while you prepare the vegetables. (You can also bake the chicken at 350℉ for about 20 minutes.)

Make vegetables: Heat oil in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and bell pepper and saute until softened, 8-10 minutes.

Combine the chicken and vegetables in a baking dish and keep warm at 225℉ for up to one hour before serving. Serve the fajitas with the salsa, avocado slices or guacamole, if using, and tortillas on the side. Makes 6 servings.

CORN AND POTATO CHOWDER
Pureeing some of the chowder will make it thick and hearty.
2 Tbsp. butter or olive oil
1 cup chopped onions
1 cup ½-inch diced carrots
½ cup chopped celery
3 medium redskin potatoes (1 pound), cut into ½-inch dice
4 cups fresh or frozen corn kernels
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 bay leaf
1 tsp. salt
4 cups (1 quart) vegetable broth
2 cups milk or nondairy milk substitute
Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
Fresh chopped scallions, garnish

Heat oil or butter in a small soup pot. Add the onions, celery and carrots and cook, stirring often, until the vegetables are softened and beginning to color. Add the scallion bulbs, bell pepper and celery and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables start to soften, about 10 minutes. Stir in the potatoes, corn, bell pepper, bay leaf, broth and salt. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 30 minutes.

Remove from heat and cool for 30 minutes. Ladle half the soup solids (not the liquid) into the bowl of a food processor or pitcher of a blender. Add the milk and process or blend until smooth. Add back to the pot and heat the soup slowly (over medium heat) until hot. Season to taste with additional salt and pepper and serve hot, garnished with scallions.

ROASTED GARLIC, WHITE BEAN AND KALE HUMMUS
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
16 medium, peeled garlic cloves
2 cans (about 15-ounces each) great northern beans, cannellini beans or other white
beans, drained and rinsed
4 leaves kale, large ribs cut away
13 cup tahini
¼ cup fresh lemon juice
Salt and black pepper, to taste

Preheat the oven to 350℉. Place garlic on a large length aluminum foil, drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with sea salt and wrap tightly in foil. Toss in the oven and bake for about 30 minutes.

In a food processor, place kale and process until finely ground. Combine the white beans and remaining ingredients. Process until smooth. Adjust salt, pepper and lemon juice to taste. Transfer to a serving dish and drizzle with additional olive oil. Serve with raw vegetables or pita. Makes 12 servings.

BEEF AND LAMB MEATBALLS WITH YOGURT DILL AND MINT SAUCE
Meatballs:
¾ pound ground beef
¾ pound ground lamb
¾ cup minced or ground red or Bermuda onion
1 large egg
½ cup chopped mint
¼ cup chopped parsley
1 tsp. ground allspice
1 tsp. kosher salt
½ tsp. Fresh ground pepper

Yogurt Sauce:
1 cup plain greek or vegan yogurt
¼ cup fresh chopped mint
2 Tbsp. fresh chopped dill
1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
1 tsp. Minced garlic
Salt and pepper to taste

Combine all meatball ingredients in a large bowl and mix well (I use my hands).

Shape meat mixture into 1½-inch meatballs. Chill for one hour or more.

Make the yogurt sauce: Mix all ingredients. Transfer to a serving dish, cover and chill until ready to serve.

Just before serving, preheat oven to 350℉. Line a baking sheet with parchment or foil. Arrange the meatballs on the baking sheet. Bake for 10 minutes. Serve the meatballs warm, with toothpicks and sauce on the side. Makes 8 or more servings.

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