Sunday, January 20, 2008

Game Day Dinner

It's about 20 degrees outside with a biting wind and today is playoff day. That means I'm stuck watching the patriots vs. chargers and giants vs. packers games that are back to back this evening. It may not be my ideal way to spend a Sunday afternoon, but I have to give a little bit during the playoffs, or else face built up levels of testosterone that are frankly scary. So I've resigned myself to sitting with eyes glazed over watching bulky guys of diminished intelligence run back and forth in spandex, slapping each others behinds and jumping on top of each other with bone crunching force.

My one solace during football season is game food, which is comfort food at it's best. This meal, with a cold Sam Adam's Winter Lager is enough to make football tolerable. At least until halftime.

Southwestern Corn Bake
2 packages Jiffy corn bread mix
2 cans creamed corn
2 cans regular corn
1 stick softened butter
2/3 cup plain yogurt
1 1/2 minced chipotles in adobo sauce
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. oregano
1/4 cup diced banana pepper rings
2/3 cup shredded mexican cheese


Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Combine all ingredients in a large mixing bowl and stir to combine. Transfer into a greased 9 x 13 pyrex baking dish. Bake until edges brown and pull away from the pan, about 50 minutes. It will be slightly soft in the center.

My two cents:
This is an extremely easy go-to cornbread. I love the no fuss preparation and the flavor is rich and satisfying.

Game Day Chili
1 medium Mayan sweet onion, chopped coarsely
3 strips bacon, sliced thin
1 lb. ground sirloin
1 paket low-soium taco seasoning
1 Tbsp. cumin
2 Tbsp. chile powder
1 minced chipotle chile in adobo
1 Tbsp. tomato paste
1 Tbsp. oregano
3/4 bottle beer
1 8 oz. can italian style diced tomatoes
1 16 oz. can baked beans (brown sugar style)
1 1/2 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
1 Tbsp. maple syrup
1 tsp. Worchestershire sauce
1 tsp. liquid smoke
1/2 tsp cocoa powder
1/2 tsp espresso powder
1/2 cup diced banana pepper rings

1/4 cup flour
3/4 cup liquid from banana pepper jar


Saute onions and bacon in a large saucepan until all the fat is rendered and onions start to caramelize. Add ground beef and seasonings, including chipotle and tomato paste. Continuously stir to break up meat and mix thoroughly until meat is cooked through.

Deglaze pan with beer. Add tomatoes, beans, mustard, syrup, Worchestershire, liquid smoke, cocoa and espresso powder.

Combine pepper juice and flour to make a slurry. Add to chili and bring to a boil to thicken.

Serve brilliantly hot with a large wedge of cornbake, topped with shredded cheese and red onion.

My two cents:
One of my many takes on chili. Good, hearty and quick.

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