There’s no denying that the Super Bowl constitutes one of the biggest eating orgies of the year.
Americans will scarf down 30 million pounds of snacks on Sunday. The amount of fat they’ll consume is equivalent to the weight of 13,000 NFL offensive linemen, according to the killjoys over at the Calorie Control Council.
A lot of that fat will probably be in the form of chicken wings (1.25 billion wings, according to the National Chicken Council) and guacamole (71.4 million pounds of avocado, says the Haas Avocado Board).
But with the New England Patriots in the big game this year, why not serve up more than just the same old wings and guac? Why not be a little more creative with your Super Bowl fare? And by that, I don’t mean going with the obvious chowder showdown: New England versus Manhattan-style.
Here are some suggestions for Super Bowl food that will reflect the spirit of your favorite team, whether it’s the Patriots or the New York Giants, and give your guests something to talk about during the commercials.
Pats quarterback Tom Brady has said on more than one occasion that his favorite food is onion rings. And supermodels. (Just kidding, Tom.)
Giants quarterback Eli Manning, according to a spokesman for the team, loves fried chicken. Not surprising, considering he spent so much time in Mississippi, where frying up a batch of crispy chicken in a cast-iron skillet is something of an art form.
New England’s Bill Belichick told ESPN in 2008 that his snack of choice is “anything with salt. Chips, pretzels, Fritos, anything with salt.” Couldn’t be easier party food.
When the Giants’ spokesman checked in with coach Tom Coughlin for us, Coughlin said he’s a spaghetti-and-meatballs kind of guy, but he loves chicken parm too.
For the Patriots, Samuel Adams appears to be the most popular choice, but it’s a little obvious, don’t you think? So I consulted our beer columnist, Tom Atwell, who suggested going with Tremont Patriot Pale Ale. It’s an English-style pale ale that originated in Massachusetts but is now brewed locally by Shipyard.
His reasoning? On Super Bowl Sunday, you’ll want to go with fairly low-alcohol beers, “because you probably are going to be drinking a lot of them.” Tremont Patriot Pale Ale has a rich flavor, Atwell said, and is an easy-drinking, not overly complicated choice.
It doesn’t hurt, of course, that it has Patriot in the name and there’s a Minute Man on the label. Tremont Patriot Pale Ale is only available at Hannaford stores. Atwell also suggested Narragansett Lager or Narragansett Bock.
For the Giants, I consulted both Atwell and Daniel Kleban, president of the Maine Brewers’ Guild. Both agreed that anything from Brooklyn Brewery would do. Kleban also suggested trying Southampton brews and anything from Southern Tier Brewing Co., a microbrewery out of Lakewood, N.Y. Both brands are available locally.
There are lots of cocktails that originated in New York and Boston, so it’s easy to tap into regional pride. But cocktails also offer you the opportunity to bring some team colors to your party spread. Your basic red, white and blue predominate this year, so get out the cranberry juice and the blue curacao, and start mixing.
For the Pats, all you need is some vodka, cranberry juice and various fruit juices, and you have the makings for the Cape Codder, Bay Breeze, Sea Breeze and Madras. Garnish with a swizzle stick full of blueberries, and you’re all set. Or try the Frostbite, a blue drink that’s a mixture of tequila, white creme de cacao, blue curacao and cream.
The Giants are easy. Go with a traditional Manhattan or New York whiskey cocktail, or try the Bronx, a variation on a martini that was created at the Waldorf Astoria and includes orange juice. Of course, there’s always the Long Island Iced Tea, but I wouldn’t recommend serving that unless it’s OK to have your party guests sleep over on your couch.
If you want to stick close to the Patriots’ home turf, Great Hill Blue on the shores of Buzzard’s Bay, 50 miles south of Boston, produces great blue cheese that is locally available and could be included on a cheese platter at your Super Bowl party.
If you’d prefer to widen your horizons, pick up some Bleu Velvet made by Hahn’s End in Phippsburg, along with some herbed curd and applewood-smoked mozarella from Smiling Hill Farm’s Silvery Moon Creamery. One of my new favorites? The horseradish cheddar produced by Cabot in Vermont.
Finding a good New York cheese locally might be a bit tougher, but Shannon Tallman, specialty local cheese buyer at Whole Foods Market, says her store is carrying a New York cheese that’s perfect for the Super Bowl. Yancy’s Fancy out of Corfu, N.Y., makes a Buffalo Wing Cheddar that can be eaten as is or in a “killer” dip that the store makes in-house.
Boston cream pie. Duh. If you want to make it yourself, download the original recipe from the Parker House Hotel in Boston here: bit.ly/yJnT8l
Is there anything better than New York-style cheesecake? No, I didn’t think so. Unless it’s Boston cream pie.
Staff Writer Meredith Goad can be contacted at 791-6332 or at: firstname.lastname@example.org
If Tom Brady were partying, not playing, he’d be eating these
New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady loves onion rings. This Super Bowl-ready recipe is courtesy of Maine cookbook author Kate Krukowski Gooding.
BEER BATTERED ONION RINGS
1 cup Summer Ale, flat
1 cup flour
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon celery salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
½ teaspoon sugar
1 large sweet onion, sliced in ½ rings and separated
Preheat vegetable oil in large fryer. Combine all dry ingredients except onion in a bowl. Whisk in beer just before you are ready to deep-fry onion rings. Dip onion rings in batter, shake excess batter off, and deep-fry until golden.
Cookies might coax a grin out of Belichick
Patriots coach Bill Belichick says he will eat anything that’s salty. Why just throw the nuts and chips into a bowl when you can turn them into a sweet-salty confection with these out-of-the-box cookies? These two recipes are courtesy of Krystina Castella, author of “Crazy About Cookies” (Sterling, $17.95).
BEER AND MIXED-NUT COOKIES
Is there such a thing as a manly cookie? Probably not, although these cookies made with beer and candied nuts are a far cry from dainty tea-party cookies. These are perfect to make for your fantasy football, Super Bowl, World Series or NBA finals party. And yes, we ladies will like them too.
Makes 30 cookies.
1¼ cups granulated sugar
¾ cup water
3 cups salted mixed nuts
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
½ cup (1 stick) butter, softened
½ cup brown sugar
1¼ cups dark beer
Butter three cookie sheets. Make the sugared nuts: Combine the granulated sugar and the water in a saucepan over medium heat, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Add the nuts and vanilla and cook, stirring occasionally, until the water is evaporated.
Spread the nuts on one of the cookie sheets and let sit until hardened. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Make the beer cookies: Combine the flour, baking soda, cinnamon and cloves in a bowl; set aside.
Beat the butter and brown sugar until blended. Stir in the flour mixture, alternating with the beer, stirring until smooth. Stir in the sugared nuts.
Drop 1 tablespoon mounds of dough on the cookie sheets 2 inches apart. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, until lightly browned. Cool completely on racks.
Root Beer Cookies: Omit the sugared nuts. In the cookie dough, replace the beer with root beer. Add ½ cup chopped root beer candy to the dough after the wet and dry ingredients are combined.
Cashew Beer Cookies: Replace the mixed nuts with cashews.
POTATO CHIP COOKIES
TV and game parties are a time to indulge friends in the ultimate junk-food snack: Cookies packed with potato chips. Sound a bit strange? They are, but the saltiness of the chips complements the sweet, buttery cookies in a way that is completely addictive.
Makes 36 cookies.
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
½ cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups coarsely crushed potato chips
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper. Beat the butter and sugar until fluffy. Beat in the vanilla, flour and 1 cup of the potato chips; mix well.
Shape the dough into 1-inch balls, and roll them in the remaining chips. Place on the cookie sheets 2½ inches apart, and press a bit to flatten.
Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, until lightly browned. Let cool on the pans for 5 minutes. Transfer to a rack to cool further.
Chocolate Pretzel Cookies: Replace the potato chips with crushed pretzels and add ¾ cup chocolate chips to the dough after the wet and dry ingredients are combined.
Peanut Butter Cheesy Cracker Cookies: Replace the potato chips with crushed cheese crackers. Add ¾ cup peanut butter chips to the dough after the wet and dry ingredients are combined.
Spicy Tortilla Chip Cookies: Replace the potato chips with spicy tortilla chips and add 1/8 teaspoon chopped jalapeno peppers to the dough after the wet and dry ingredients are combined.
Should Giants stumble and need to serve ‘crow’
This recipe incorporates the ranch flavoring so often found in game-day snacks. It’s the creation of Chris Gordon, chef at Sea Dog Brewing Company. He suggests that you serve it with a side of cole slaw and (of course) some Sea Dog beer.
CHEF CHRIS GORDON’S FRIED CROW
(“It’s really chicken, but here’s hoping Eli Manning likes to eat crow!” says Gordon.)
1 fryer chicken cut into 10 pieces
2 cups flour
1 package ranch seasoning
4 cups potato flakes
½ cup heavy cream
Salt and pepper
3 to 4 cups lard or vegetable oil
Heavy skillet with 4- to 6-inch sides (so oil will not spatter)
Pre-heat oven to 325 degrees. Cut one frying chicken into eight pieces, then cut the breasts in half to give you 10 pieces. Wash chicken in cold water, pat dry, and season chicken with salt and pepper. Set aside for 10 minutes.
Mix flour and ranch seasoning together. Beat eggs and heavy cream together. Dredge chicken in flour mix and egg wash, then pat potato flakes over chicken.
Bring lard or oil to 325 degrees, and fry on all sides until golden brown, three to four pieces at a time so the oil temperature will stay hot. (Go slow – this is hot oil.)
Transfer brown chicken pieces to a sheet pan and bake for 20 to 30 minutes until done.
Fried chicken fit for quarterbacking royalty
Giants quarterback Eli Manning’s favorite food is fried chicken – a nice alternative to chicken wings on Super Bowl Sunday, especially if you use tenderloins.
This recipe comes from Brooke Philbrick, executive chef at Aurora Provisions Cafe. The chicken is drenched in buttermilk and coated with seasoned corn flakes and bread crumbs. Philbrick says this recipe works best with chicken legs and thighs, but could easily be used with boneless chicken breasts or tenderloins.
‘NOT YOUR GRANDMA’S FRIED CHICKEN’
Makes about 12 pieces.
2 cups buttermilk
4 large eggs
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 cups crushed-up cornflakes
1 cup plain bread crumbs
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon kosher or sea salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
2 cups flour for dredging
Prepare your chicken by rinsing briefly under cold water, and pat dry. Season chicken pieces with salt and pepper, and set aside just for a second. Whisk together the buttermilk, eggs, salt and pepper in a medium bowl. Mix all dry ingredients in a medium bowl until thoroughly combined.
Place your chicken into flour and shake off any loose flour. Dip the chicken into the buttermilk briefly, coating evenly and leaving no dry spots. Place the chicken in corn flake mixture and toss with hands to cover all areas of the chicken. Do this to all pieces, and set on a sheet tray before frying.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Fill a large cast-iron skillet halfway with oil and heat to 350 degrees. Carefully place chicken into pan without over-crowding (about three to four pieces at a time). Cook about 2 minutes and turn and cook another 2 minutes on the other side.
When all pieces are evenly golden brown, return to baking sheet and finish cooking in oven until you reach an internal temperature of 155 to 160 degrees.