Chili, chocolate are winning combination

Sherrel Jones offers recipes for the Super Bowl.
BY SHERREL JONES Published: January 29, 2014
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What's a Super Bowl without chili and chocolate? No matter which team you're cheering on, you'll have a couple of winning foods on your menu with these favorites.

Chili makes a perfect fit for the Super Bowl with plenty of options for serving. Ladle chili into a giant bowl and bring on the extras. I like to go all out with chopped onions, bright colorful peppers, jalapeno and avocado. It's like confetti for chili. Don't forget the cheese, sour cream and the hot steamy cornbread or handfuls of Fritos.

My favorite meat for chili is ground buffalo from the Wichita Buffalo Co. in Hinton. We love venison when we can get it. Both are super lean and make excellent choices for chili. Of course, you also could use ground beef, turkey or sausage.

I like to combine meats in chili, but it is hard to beat J.C. Potter's sausage with buffalo or venison. I use a 3 or 4 to 1 ratio: 4 pounds lean buffalo with 1 pound sausage.

Score even more extra points with chocolate in play for dessert. How about one of those football field-size chocolate sheet cakes nestled under a blanket of smooth soft swirls of rich chocolate studded with pecans?

You can also liven up your chili with a little chocolate. Stirring a few tablespoons of cocoa into that big pot of chili adds a hint of something unique to the chili. Some chili heads like to add coffee and, of course, extra heat.

If you're really adventuresome, you could experiment with a bit of cayenne pepper in the cake's frosting. (I'm talking ¼ teaspoon in the whole batch of frosting.) I haven't attempted that yet as that chocolate cake is an adventure by itself. The cake and frosting have a whole pound of butter combined, and you might need a middle linebacker just to carry it across the kitchen.

There's enough cocoa in the cake to satisfy even the most devout chocoholics, so don't think you have to add the chocolate to the chili. The point is that making a big pot of chili and a huge slab of chocolate cake will see you through the Super Bowl with rave reviews.

Chocolate Sheet Cake

This one is what I call an “Old Faithful” recipe. In our family, it was Grandma Della's Chocolate Sheet Cake. She brought it to the lake and made it often for family gatherings. It is rich and moist and about the easiest made-from-scratch cake ever. Using cocoa in lieu of flour as part of the pan prep makes it extra rich. Makes 24 3-by-3-inch pieces or 48 1½-by-3-inch pieces.

The cake:

Softened butter or cooking spray and cocoa for pan prep

2 cups sifted flour

2 cups sugar

1 teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon salt

2 eggs, beaten

1 cup buttermilk

2 teaspoons vanilla

2 sticks butter (1 cup)

2/3 cup cocoa powder

½ cup water

Frosting:

1 cup or 2 sticks butter

¾ cup milk

¾ cup cocoa

4 ½ cups powdered sugar, sifted

2 teaspoons vanilla

2 cups coarsely chopped pecans

Cake: Adjust oven rack to middle position. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Season jellyroll pan or baker's half sheet (approximately 13 inches by 18 inches) with softened butter, then dust with cocoa. Measure flour, sugar, soda and salt. Stir together. Beat eggs and blend with buttermilk and vanilla. Heat butter, cocoa and water, stirring constantly until butter is melted and cocoa dissolved. Pour over flour and sugar mixture. Stir in eggs and buttermilk mixture until well blended. Pour into prepared pan and bake for about 20 to 22 minutes or just until cake springs back when pressed lightly in center. (Ovens may vary.)

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