January, 2014 - The Super Bowl Issue
Super Bowl Sunday is just around the corner, and I see this as a great excuse to shovel a path to my grill, get a hot fire going and create some seriously delicious flavors. These freezing temps call for comfort food, so this year I’m sharing an all-star round up of some of my favorite past newsletter recipes. From a smoky Hearty Winter Chili, and succulent Santa Fe Hot Wings, to a creamy Grill Lover’s Guacamole – these recipes are perfect for gameday because nearly all of the prep and cooking can be done ahead of time. This way when game time rolls around, all you need to do is sit back and enjoy!
Other great football recipes
Grill Lover’s Guacamole
Last weekend, I was at a beach house with good friends from Detroit and Chicago while we were participating in the Great Lakes Kite Festival in Grand Haven, MI. Grilling at the house has become a tradition we all enjoy. The guacamole we made this year was so good I had to share it with you for Memorial Day. What makes this guacamole so good? Bacon! … and corn and red onion kissed by the fire of the grill. The usual suspects (cilantro, lime, jalapeno and garlic) are there as well. This is a guacamole you have to taste to believe. It was gone 8 minutes after we served it.
- 2 ears corn, shucked and cleaned
- 1 red onion, cut in half
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Fine sea salt
- 1/2 cup lime juice
- 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 6 avocadoes
- 1 bunch cilantro (about 4 ounces before trimming), stems removed and coarsely chopped
- 3 jalapenos, stemmed, seeded and finely chopped
- 1 pound bacon, cooked and cut up
- 1 pint grape tomatoes, quartered
Prepare the grill for direct grilling with a hot fire, about 500ºF.
Brush the corn and the onion with olive oil and liberally season with salt. Grill the onion over direct heat until blackened on the cut side and the whole onion is soft. Grill the corn quickly, turning frequently, just until marked all around. Remove both from the grill and let cool for at least 10 minutes.
Cut the corn from the cob and loosely dice the onion. Reserve.
Place 1/2 of the lime juice in a large bowl along with 1/2 teaspoon salt and the garlic. Pit the avocadoes and add the meat to the bowl. Stirring as you add each piece in order to coat with lime juice and discourage oxidation. Use a potato masher to break down the avocadoes. Leave it chunky and loose. Stir in the onion, corn, cilantro, jalapeno and bacon. Test for taste, adding more lime juice and salt as needed. Fold in the tomatoes.
If not serving immediately, press plastic wrap into the surface of the guacamole to keep air from making contact. This will keep in the refrigerator for up to 2 hours, but it is best served immediately upon assembly.
Working ahead: The corn and onion can be grilled and the tomatoes can be cut 2 hours ahead of time. The bacon can be cooked up to a day in advance.
Santa Fe Wings
I love hot wings – all kinds of hot wings. For my Memorial Day Barbecue in 2006, I created Peach Bourbon Habanero Hot Wings. They were a huge hit, but a bit of a project. This year I wanted to do something easier. The result is Santa Fe Wings. These are only mildly spicy and have a complex, earthy flavor that comes from Ancho chiles and coriander. Start the wings marinating the night before.
For the marinade:
- 10 ounces (2 bottles) Cholula hot sauce
- 1/4 cup canola oil
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- 8 cloves garlic, crushed
- 3 pounds chicken wings
For the blue cheese dip:
- 1/4 cup sour cream
- 3/4 cup mayonnaise
- 1/4 teaspoon Colman’s mustard powder
- 1 teaspoon finely grated fresh lemon zest
- 1/4 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
- 5 ounces crumbled blue cheese
For the seasoning:
- 1 Ancho (dried Poblano)chile
- 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
To make the marinade, whisk together all ingredients in a medium bowl. Place the wings in a large, zip-top freezer bag and pour in the marinade. Squeeze out all the air, seal, and refrigerate for 12 to 18 hours.
To make the blue cheese dip, combine all ingredients. Cover and refrigerate for 1 to 6 hours before serving.
Before firing up the grill, remove the wings from the marinade and spread them out in a single layer on a baking sheet. Discard the marinade. Remove and discard the stem from the Ancho chile. Place the chile in a coffee grinder or blender along with the coriander and grind to a fine texture. Sprinkle the seasoning blend over the wings. Use it all, generously covering the wings on all sides. Let the wings rest at room temperature while you start the grill.
Prepare the grill with direct and indirect cooking zones. You will want a hot fire for the direct grilling zone and a temperature of 400º in the indirect zone. A charcoal fire is preferred; use Kalamazoo Quebracho Charcoal for best results.
Grill the wings over direct heat for 10 minutes, turning frequently until marked on all sides. Transfer to the indirect zone, close the hood and continue cooking until the wings are done, about 15 to 20 minutes more. Your goal is a crispy exterior with fully cooked meat that is still tender.
Remove from the grill and serve with blue cheese dip. Sliced green onions would be a nice garnish. These wings pair just as well with ranch dip as they do with blue cheese.
Hearty Winter Chili
To many, chili is the ultimate “man food” and the ultimate expression of culinary independence. This recipe fits the bill on both counts with smoked pork belly and our own Not-So-Basic Barbecue Rub in place of the traditional chili powder. Despite the long cooking time, the recipe is not a lot of work. Prepare it a day ahead and reheat it for the game. You will need a 5 1/2 or 7 quart cast iron Dutch oven.
As written, I would call this a medium heat chili. For a more mild chili, cut the chipotle and jalapeno amounts by half.
- 2 pounds pork belly, cut into squares roughly 4" x 4"
- 4 tablespoons Not-So-Basic Barbecue Rub
- About 3 cups wood chips, soaked for at least 1 hour (I use maple)
- 1 tablespoon canola oil
- 3 to 3 1/2 pounds beef tri-tip, cut into 1/4" cubes
- 1 12-ounce bottle of brown ale (I use Bell’s Best Brown Ale)
- 2 pounds Roma tomatoes, roughly chopped
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 4 chipotle peppers (canned, in adobo sauce), finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons adobo sauce
- 2 fresh jalapenos, finely chopped
- 1/2 large red onion, diced
- 16 ounces frozen corn kernels, thawed
- 2 15-ounce cans of chili bean mix (pinto, kidney and black), rinsed and drained
- 6 to 12 ounces tomato paste
- Sour cream, shredded cheese and sliced green onions for serving
- Prepare the grill for indirect cooking with wood smoke at 325°F.
- Rub 1 to 2 tablespoons Not-So-Basic Barbecue Rub into both sides of the pork belly pieces. Add the wood chips to the grill, place the pork in the indirect cooking zone and close the hood to begin smoking. I get this going before prepping all the other ingredients. The pork belly can get about an hour of smoking in while you cut up all the other ingredients. After the pork belly has been smoking for an hour, heat a 5 1/2 quart (or larger) cast iron Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the canola oil. Brown the tri-tip for a few minutes, working in small batches to avoid over-crowding the pot.
- Remove and reserve each batch of beef as it is finished.
- Remove the final batch and deglaze the pot with the beer. Add the tomatoes to the pot and return to a simmer. Stir in 2 tablespoons Not-So-Basic Barbecue Rub, plus the cumin, chipotles, adobo sauce and jalapenos. Stir in the beef, onion and corn. The beans and tomato paste will not be added until the final hour of cooking.
- Place the pot on the grill in the indirect cooking zone without its lid. The lid stays off the pot the entire time the chili is cooking. Close the grill and cook for 4 hours. Keep the wood smoke going the entire time. A skin of smoked chili will form on top.
- Stir this in every 30 minutes or so for maximum flavor. After the chili has cooked for 3 hours, stir in the beans. Remove the pork belly from the grill, cut it into 1/4" cubes and stir it into the chili.
- If the chili has not thickened most of the way to your desired consistency by this time, stir in 6 to 12 ounces of tomato paste to thicken as needed. (Remember, the chili will thicken as it cools, and it will be thicker the next day, even after re-heating.) Continue cooking for another hour.
- Serve the chili with sour cream, grated cheese and sliced green onions on the side.