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.
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
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.)
Frosting: While cake bakes, prepare and measure all ingredients for the frosting. About 5 minutes before the cake is done, begin melting butter. When butter is melted, add milk, vanilla and cocoa, stirring constantly until smooth. Pour over powdered sugar, blending well until smooth and satiny. Stir in pecans. Pour over warm cake, spreading evenly to cover the top.
City Slicker Chili
We call this City Slicker Chili because it is not too hot. The amounts of each ingredient can vary according to your taste.
Serves 6 to 8.
3 tablespoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon vegetable oil or canola oil
3 pounds beef, buffalo or venison (ground for chili if possible), or a combination of beef and venison
1 pound sausage (I use J.C. Potter's)
1 ½ cups diced onion
2 cloves garlic, minced, or 1 teaspoon garlic salt
1 green pepper, finely diced
3 tablespoons chili powder
2 teaspoons dried oregano
½ teaspoon dried sage
1 teaspoon thyme
salt and pepper to taste
½ cup red wine, if desired
1 can diced tomatoes or 1 (10-ounce) can Rotel tomatoes for hotter chili
3 or more (15-ounce cans) ranch-style beans, depending on how much you enjoy beans (black beans or kidney beans work well in combination)
V-8 juice or broth to increase liquid in chili
Assemble and prepare ingredients. Brown cumin in dry pan (large Dutch oven or stock pot) over medium heat, then follow with oil to coat bottom of pan. Add meat in same pot with onion, garlic, peppers and seasonings as meat begins to brown. Stir often to cook all meat.
When mixture is cooked, add tomatoes. Simmer for a while, then add beans if you desire. (You can drain the beans to reduce sodium.) Add V-8 juice or broth to increase liquid if needed. Cover and continue cooking over low heat. Stir occasionally. Taste and adjust seasonings as necessary.
Chili may become thinner with the addition of beef broth, beer or red wine. (Use up to 1 cup per 2 pounds of beef.) I sometimes use a beef bouillon cube when browning meat at the start for even more flavor.
Cooking notes: Toasting the cumin in the pan before cooking the meat really brings out its flavor. Deglaze meat and vegetable mixture with 1/2 cup red wine before adding tomatoes if desired. Chili is always better the next day and even two days later. Can be refrigerated up to five days and will keep in freezer for up to six months.
Sherrel's Chili Topper Confetti
Pop this on the top of your favorite bowl of chili. Spoon it over a little Monterey Jack and cheddar cheese, and you have a feast. Don't limit yourself to the specific amounts in this recipe; vary them according to your taste. Heat it up with more jalapeno peppers or leave them out if the chili is on the hot side. This fresh little topper is a cool bright contrast in flavor and texture to the steamy chili.
Makes 2 cups or 6 to 8 half-cup servings.
½ cup diced (small) red sweet onion
½ cup diced red pepper
½ cup diced yellow pepper
¼ cup minced jalapeno pepper
¼ to ½ cup cilantro leaves
2 tablespoons fresh squeezed lime juice
1 avocado cut in small dice
Prepare all ingredients. Mix lime juice with avocado to coat. Combine with peppers, onion and cilantro. Spoon over shredded Jack and cheddar cheese to top chili.