SUPER CHILI BOWL
Super Bowl Sunday is something I've come to look forward to and it's not because of the game. I mean, I like the game well enough, especially this year's. It was exciting and I was so pleased for the city of New Orleans. But why I really look forward to the Super Bowl is the chili... and then there's the Fargo dip, but I'll dip into that a little later.
For a decade or so our friends, Candace & Craig, have given an annual Super Bowl party. And, as in many Super Bowl parties across America, there are margueritas, beer, wine, dips and chips and chili. BUT, what makes their Super Bowl party so memorable is the chili (and the Fargo dip, but I'll dip into that a little later). There's never just one big pot of chili at this party, though.. there's three - sometimes four - to choose from. Like a 'wine' tasting with protein. Well, that's probably a bit disingenuous since we all do more than 'taste' the various chilis... we go back for seconds and thirds... sometimes eating a mountain of each, one at a time... sometimes putting all three in our bowls at the same time. And, of course, there's the shredded cheese, cilantro, chopped onions, sour cream, etc., etc. to adorn these flavorful concoctions. Though my favorite chili acoutrement is the Fritos. Yup, Fritos which our chili chef recommends we put on the bottom of the bowl, then pile the chili on top. BUT, before we dive into the chili, we first have 'appetizers'...
This year Richard went 'retro' and brought the classic spinach dip which he served in a scooped out round peasant bread w/ the cut-out bread torn into pieces to be dipped into the dip. Friends, Chris & Sandy, brought a palate pleasing pate reminiscent of the Pate Therese I blogged about around Thanksgiving, though this pate was smothered in a wonderful cream cheese 'icing,' served w/ classic Wheat Thins... and then there's Jule's Fargo dip. Yup - now is the time to dip into this dip. It's not an onion dip. It's not a leek soup dip. It's not a mushroom dip. It's just Fargo dip (yes, that Fargo, so named because Jule grew up in Fargo and this is the dip her mother made for her father every day as his afterwork reward to complement his one-olive vodka martini...stirred not shaken. Sorry James.)... a dip made from a secret combo of garlic, salt and onion powder and, if you serve it with Ruffles original potato chips, you can’t eat just one. We (those of us who have attended this annual event all these years) have tried to figure out how this dip is made - but sadly, it remains a Jule family secret. Secret or not, however, it's something we look forward to every year.
By half-time, we were dipped and pate'd out. We'd had margueritas, wine or beer and were now ready for the chili 'tasting.' This year, our choices were:
New Mexico Chilies
All were delicious, I couldn't pick a favorite, though perhaps I did lean a little to chili #2. It had bacon!
You'd think we'd be full after dipping and chili-ing, but after the game, the desserts appeared. I made some classic brownies w/ walnuts - but it was Jule's three desserts that scored! A master chef, she's particularly brilliant when it comes to desserts and these were no exception. The first one I tasted was a sweet apricot chocolate and pecan bar. Oh my! The second was a cappuccino brownie that sent my brownies to the back of the class, and the last, and my favorite, was the pepper roasted pecan chocolate cupcake w/ a caramel center. It was the most amazing cupcake I'd ever eaten. Since Jule made it up, there isn't a defined recipe, but if you bake, I think you can figure it out from the directions she gave me.
PEPPER ROASTED PECANS & SALTED CARAMEL CENTER
EXTRA CHOCOLATE CUPCAKES
Chocolate Chips or Chunk (best quality possible)
Your favorite Chocolate Cake recipe
2 –3 TBSP Unsalted Butter
Heavy Cream – slightly heated
Preheat oven to 350.
Put whole raw pecans on a baking sheet, cover with freshly ground black pepper. Roast until the color of the pecans has deepened to dark brown – about 10 minutes. Cool.
Make your favorite chocolate cake batter. I use the one from the Big Yellow Gourmet book.
Use a cupcake pan, put in the cupcake paper holders. Ladle in cake batter so that 1/4 of the cupcake holder is filled. Put in a layer of chocolate chips. Add another thin layer of cake batter. Then add layer of roasted pecans. Then another layer of chocolate chips. Then top off with another chocolate cake batter layer. You’ll be almost to the top now.
Bake at 350 until a knife inserted into cupcake comes out clean.
While they are baking, make your caramel. Cover large saucepan with granulated sugar. Add the butter. Add just a bit of water to lightly wet the sugar. Med-low heat, let the sugar melt until it turns into a caramel. Add the heavy cream and sea salt to taste. Stir.
Once the cupcake is done, while still hot, take a spoon and make a bit of a split in the cupcake, drizzle in as much caramel as you like and then “stick the cake back together”.
You can reheat these when it’s time to serve — but keep a watch so they don’t “cook more”.
Enjoy with ice cream! I did.
So... the party's over and I'm back to South Beaching it. But the super chili bowl memory lives on.