It’s hard to admit, but I’m a little jealous of Ufford’s Twenty Reasons To Hate The Redskins post and everyone else that gets to have the fiery-hot irrational hate against rival playoff teams this weekend. Sure, there are nerves and weak stomachs to temper the hate, but the laser-focused hate that comes out during the playoffs is to experience a maniacal giddiness that has no place outside of the sports world. Fans who don’t have teams in the playoffs will politely say watching the games without stress is freeing, that they can just relax and enjoy the games. It’s a lie. No matter who wins, you have a reason from sometime back in your club’s history to hate each and every other team. Even the Texans have been around long enough to be annoying in their own way (David Carr, actual Texans in Houston). Without a team in the playoffs, I’m stuck with this ball of nebulous dislike and disdain.
Rationalization sets in and you spend your during the games thinking of not who you want to win, but who you can live with winning. Seahawks? If they win now, will their fans finally shut up about Super Bowl XL? Bengals? Nick Lachey Super Fan for weeks. Atlanta? A win for popped collars everywhere. Broncos or Ravens? Green Bay ? No way. Pats? Well, they just lost the Super Bowl so maybe it’s okay if they win this one. Maybe. Colts? Vikings? Perhaps. I will have to reserve final judgement until after this weekend, because in Los Angeles, a city without a team, it’s easy to separate the wheat from the chaff for which fan base you’re going to be able to live with for the next year.
Super Bowl Recipe Month: White Chicken Chili and Deli Chopped Salad
Everyone has a chili recipe they’re good at making. That’s what you do for football. You make chili. All meat. All beans and lentils for vegetarians and vegans. Meat and beans. Albert Burneko over at Deadspin posted a pretty good take on why you should be putting beans in chili in his Foodspin column. It’s worth a read, even if I disagree with his use of sriracha.
Me? I make a really good white chicken chili. It’s creamy without being overly rich, hot enough to make you grab for your drink but not breakout in a sweat, and slightly smoky even though it’s not made over a fire. The best part is that it comes together in just over an hour, which means you don’t have to spend five to six hours smacking people across their knuckles with your wooden spoon each time they try to lift off the lid of your stockpot.
But as I said, everyone has their own best chili recipe. Feel free to add your chili recipes in the comments so we can argue navy beans versus kidney beans and ground beef versus short ribs instead of talking about Rex Ryan’s tattoo (which quite frankly, I find adorable).
Today’s Super Bowl Recipe Month special post includes a salad recipe I especially like for large gatherings, because it’s salad without having to mess with bowls and forks. Full of meat and cheese? Or course, but it’s still salad and on a day of eating chili, grilled brats, dips and chips, a salad is a welcome sight in any form.
To the recipes!
Deli Chopped Salad On Croutons
You will need:
1 pound pumpernickel bread, small loaf, thinly sliced
1 pound baguette, thinly sliced
1-2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2-1 teaspoon garlic salt
5 cups chopped romaine lettuce, about 3-4 small heads or 2 large heads of romaine
1/4 pound deli-style roasted or smoked turkey, diced
1/4 pound sliced salami, diced
1/4 pound sliced provolone cheese, diced
1 cup black olives, roughly chopped
1/2 medium red onion, finely diced
Kosher salt and cracked pepper, to taste
Ranch and Italian dressing for serving, recipes below.
Preheat oven to 325º.
Brush the pumpernickel and baguette slices with a small amount of olive oil and lightly sprinkle with garlic salt. Toast in the oven on a cookie sheet for about 5-7 minutes and cool.
In a large bowl, toss together the diced romaine, roasted turkey, salami, provolone cheese, olives and red onion. Crack about a teaspoon or so of pepper and a pinch of kosher salt and toss again.
Spoon a small amount of the deli tossed salad on each large crouton and top with a light drizzle of either ranch or Italian dressing, preferably matching the ranch dressing with the pumpernickel croutons and the Italian with the baguette croutons both for taste and as visual clues for your guests as to which dressing is on each mini salad bite.
Ranch and Italian Dressings
Here’s the secret to both ranch and Italian dressings; there are no recipes, just ratios of fats, oils, acidity and herbs suited to your personal preferences.
When making Italian dressing, I generally use a 4:1 ratio (either tablespoons or ounces, it doesn’t matter much with salad dressing) of olive oil to red or white wine vinegar, throw in a tablespoon or two of chopper whatever fresh Italian herbs I have handy; basil, oregano and chives (or dried if I must), mince a clove or two of garlic in a teaspoon of salt. Toss it all in a small bowl or bottle with some cracked pepper, a bit of grated parmesan cheese and stir or shake until combined.
Ranch dressing lends itself to even more personalization. In a small bowl, create a base using a 2:1 ratio (or 1:1, depending on how thick you like your ranch dressing) in 1/4-cup increments of a combination of buttermilk and mayonnaise, or buttermilk and sour cream, or buttermilk and plain Greek yogurt, or even two fatty dairy items (sour cream and mayo) with buttermilk for a very rich dressing. Add in chopped chives, parsley and even some dill if you like. Again mince your garlic in kosher salt and blend into the dressing with some cracked pepper. Let your ranch develop in the fridge for at least 30 minutes to 1 hour before using.
You can make both dressings and the large croutons the night before if you’re tight for time on game day.
White Chicken Chili
What sets this white chicken chili recipe apart from other chili recipes is taking the extra few minutes to saute and brown the meat and then cooking the onions and jalapenos in the browned chicken bits and fat. You get an added layer of smokiness and flavor which makes for a more flavorful chili than just tossing chicken in the pot to stew with the rest of the ingredients.
You will need:
1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken
Kosher salt and cracked pepper
1-2 tablespoons olive oil
7 tablespoons butter, divided
1 large onion, diced
2-3 jalapenos, diced and seeds removed
1/4 cup flour
1 cup milk, preferably at least 1% or 2% milk fat
2 cups chicken stock, preferably low-sodium if using canned stock
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1-2 (15 ounce) cans cannellini beans, rinsed and drained (Use two cans if you love beans or what to stretch out this recipe to feed more people.)
1 (4 ounce) can of green chiles, or 1 fresh green chile, roasted, seeds removed and chopped
1 pound roasted corn
6-8 ounces monterey jack cheese, shredded plus more for garnish if desired
For the corn, use 3-4 ears of fresh corn, grilled and removed from cob or a 1-pound bag of frozen corn. If you’re using fresh corn on the cob, grill the corn by lightly brushing with vegetable or canola oil and cook until lightly charred. Cool and remove from cob. If using frozen corn, heat in a cast iron skillet or grill until lightly charred and then cool. (You can read more about roasting corn and see photos in this recipe for Chipotle Grilled Corn Salad.) Or if your local grocer sells it, buy roasted frozen corn and thaw before using.
Season the chicken with salt and pepper. In a large skillet, melt 1 tablespoon butter with 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium-high heat. Once the butter and oil start to sizzle, add the chicken and brown on both sides, about 3-6 minutes a side depending on how thick the chicken pieces you are cooking are. After all the poultry has been cooked, remove from the pan and set on a cutting board or plate to cool. Once cool, dice the cooked chicken.
In the same pan, saute the diced onion and jalapeno until soft over medium heat, adding 1 tablespoon of olive oil if needed. While cooking the onions and jalapeno, be sure to scrap the little browned bits of chicken joy from the bottom of the pan into the vegetable mixture. When the onions have become translucent, remove from heat.
Time to get out the Big Pot (which would be a great nickname for Vikings wide receiver Jerome Simpson for his pounds of weed) and make the roux which will give us the thick chili base we’re looking for. In the bottom of a large stock pot, melt the remaining 6 tablespoons of butter over medium heat and whisk in 1/4 cup flour, stirring constantly. Once the flour as toasted and absorbed the butter — should take 2-3 minutes — gradually add in 1 cup milk and keep stirring until smooth. Slowly whisk in 1 cup of chicken stock and bring to a boil to thicken, about 5-7 minutes depending on how hot your stove runs.
Add in the ground cumin, chili powder, softened onions and jalapeno, green chiles, roasted corn, cannellini beans, most of the monterey jack cheese, and chopped cooked chicken. Season with kosher salt and cracker pepper as to personal preference, omitting the extra salt if using canned stock. Bring to a simmer, gradually adding the remaining cup of chicken stock until desired consistency is reached. Stir often, scraping the bottom of the stock pot as you go to prevent sticking. Allow to cook for about 15-20 minutes. If the chili seems a bit thin for your tastes, add in a bit more monterey jack. (I do this regardless.)
Once done, remove from heat and allow to set for a few minutes before serving, giving the chili one last scrape of the bottom of the pot.
Garnish each bowl of chili with a touch more monterey jack cheese and serve. If you and your crew are the types who like put additional hot sauce on their chili, I highly recommend either the Tabasco Jalapeno or Chipotle Tabasco sauce to match the smokiness of this particular chili over just the plain heat of typical hot sauces.
Like most chilies, this white chicken chili is just as good the next day, if not better — the jalapeno especially opens up overnight and the chili does become a touch spicier — so it can be prepared the night before your playoff or Super Bowl party. Refrigerate immediately after cooking and gently reheat over low heat on the stove top or grill top burner if tailgating.
I want more like this!
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