Tag Archives: game day

Butternut Squash Chili

Butternut Squash Chili {Vegan}I am psyched for today’s recipe, y’all! This vegan Butternut Squash Chili is so good and good for you—perfect for the Super Bowl this weekend or any wintry night.Butternut Squash Chili {Vegan}Butternut Squash Chili {Vegan}It’s made with loads of good stuff. We’re talking the standard onion, garlic and red bell pepper, of course, but also a whole butternut squash (duh), meaty mushrooms, and pinto beans. YUM!Butternut Squash Chili {Vegan}I know that being Texan means I “shouldn’t” like beans in chili, but here I am, putting them in there. No regrets. I almost always go for pinto beans in chili because that’s what I like, but if black beans or red kidney beans are more your style, by all means, switch it up!Butternut Squash Chili {Vegan}Small amounts of cinnamon and cocoa powder set this chili apart from the rest. They add a little nuance to the standard seasoning combination of chili powder, cumin, dried oregano, and cayenne. Minced chipotles in adobo are stirred in before serving for a touch of smoky heat.Butternut Squash Chili {Vegan}Butternut Squash Chili requires a couple of long browning steps—you want maximum flavor from those onions and mushrooms—and a simmer, but comes together surprisingly quickly overall. The batch pictured clocked in at just under two hours, which gives you just enough time to whip up some Cornmeal Biscuits to go alongside!Butternut Squash Chili {Vegan}As with most soupy, stewy things, this is a meal that will get better with time. It’s delicious the day it’s made, but is particularly spectacular after a day or two in the refrigerator. Basically, if you want to eat this while you watch the Super Bowl, make if Friday, Saturday or Sunday. Love a make-ahead main!

As stated many times over the years, I’m not a fan of football, but this chili? That’s a “super bowl” I can get behind.Butternut Squash Chili {Vegan}

Butternut Squash Chili {Vegan}
makes about 6 servings

3 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium Spanish onion, diced small
2 red bell peppers, diced small
1-1 1/2 teaspoons Kosher or sea salt, or to taste
5-7 cloves garlic, minced
8 ounces white button mushrooms, 1/2-inch diced
1 3 lb. butternut squash, 1/2-inch pieces (8-ish cups)
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
1 teaspoon natural unsweetened cocoa powder
1 6-ounce can tomato paste
4 cups vegetable stock (I use seasoned vegetable Better than Bouillon)
2 15-ounce cans pinto beans, drained & rinsed
2 chipotles in adobo, minced

Garnish:
avocado
chopped cilantro
sliced scallions
grated cheese (vegan or dairy)
crispy tortilla strips
crushed tortilla chips

Heat a heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat. Add 1 tablespoon olive oil and swirl to coat. Add onion, red bell pepper and a pinch of salt, and sauté until very soft and gaining color (about 15-20 minutes). Stir in garlic and cook until fragrant, about a minute. Remove from pot and set aside.

Add remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil to the pan and swirl to coat. Add mushrooms and sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Cook, stirring frequently, until browned (about 15-20 minutes). Don’t rush it!

Return onion mixture to the pan, along with butternut squash. Stir in chili powder, cumin, oregano, cinnamon, cayenne, cocoa and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Add tomato paste and cook, stirring constantly for about 5 minutes, just until it begins to caramelize (it will ever-so-slightly darken).

Add vegetable stock and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and let cook 20-25 minutes, or until squash is cooked through and tender. Add pinto beans and minced chipotles in adobo and let simmer another 7-10 minutes. Remove from heat. Taste for salt and adjust to your preferences.

Divide chili among bowls and serve with desired garnishes.

Leftovers will keep very well for up to 4 days. Flavors will intensify over time.Butternut Squash Chili {Vegan}Butternut Squash Chili {Vegan}Butternut Squash Chili {Vegan}

Pared-Down Porchetta

Pared-Down PorchettaWhen I was allowed to take the reins on planning Christmas dinner last month, I knew immediately what I wanted to make: Porchetta. For those of you who have no idea what I’m talking about, Porchetta is a slow-roasted Italian herbed pork dish that is traditionally made with whole pigs, but most home cooks use a center-cut pork loin wrapped in a sheet of pork belly.Pared-Down PorchettaPared-Down PorchettaI spent weeks planning this meal, going so far as to make a 1/4-sized tester in the days before Christmas. After that, I called Central Market (think Texas-specific Whole Foods…but way better than Whole Foods) and ordered all the meat. I packed my favorite knife, a sharpener, my largest meat cutting board, trussing string and an apron in my checked luggage and hightailed it to Fort Worth.Pared-Down PorchettaOver the next several days, my mom, sister and I obtained the special-ordered pork and made a great fuss over preparing it…except that it wasn’t actually that much fuss. Once the herb mix was prepared, I butterflied the center-cut pork loin and scattered it over the top. Then I rolled it up jelly-roll-style, rolled that in the sheet of pork belly and tied it all up with trussing string. Afterward, I let it sit uncovered in the refrigerator (“dry brining”) until Christmas Day, on which it was brought to room temperature and then roasted until golden and crisp and pretty irresistible.Pared-Down PorchettaPared-Down PorchettaI was (am) very proud of myself and posted it to all my social media outlets, where I was promptly asked when I’d be posting a recipe. This was something I hadn’t even considered because while the Porchetta I made for Christmas is not particularly difficult to put together, but it *is* pricey.Pared-Down PorchettaThe meat had to be special-ordered for quantity and quality—a 5 pound sheet of skin-on pork belly is not an easy find—and came out to about $60. That’s $60 in Texas, so I’d guess it’s more like $80-$100 in New York, and that’s before the herbs. I love y’all, but not quite enough to spend hundreds testing one lone recipe.Pared-Down PorchettaBut. But! I had it in my head that I could give my beloved Slow-Roasted Pulled Pork recipe the Porchetta treatment, and Porchetta Queen Sara Jenkins (formerly of the Lower East Side, now of Maine) agrees. And so, with those recipes and the herb mixture I used at Christmas as guides, I set to work making this: the Pared-Down Porchetta. It’s got all the fatty, herby, meaty, crispy magic you love in traditional Porchetta, but it’s a little rough and tumble.Pared-Down PorchettaYes, it still has to sit in your fridge for a day or two, but it is made from just one piece of meat (a boneless pork butt AKA pork shoulder), is mostly hands-off, and won’t cost you an obscene-ish amount of money.Pared-Down PorchettaPared-Down PorchettaLet’s start with the meat. This pork butt? It weighed in at 4.5 pounds and cost a cool $14–pretty reasonable compared to $60+! You’ll want it to have a layer of skin or a good, thick fat cap (pictured here) for both flavor and texture. If you can’t find a pork butt that fits either of those descriptions, you can purchase a piece of pork belly or pork skin and tie it onto the butt with trussing string. You want that fatty lid so it can keep the meat moist during roasting and then get crispy at the end. Cracklings are life, am I right?!Pared-Down PorchettaYour pork butt is unlikely to be in one seamless piece due to its heavy marbling and having had a bone cut out of it. This spot (or cavity or whatever you want to call it)? This is where the herb mixture will go. I used my knife to extend that opening down the length of the roast, while making sure to keep one edge intact.Pared-Down PorchettaPared-Down PorchettaPared-Down PorchettaPared-Down PorchettaAnother thing you want? Kosher salt—about 1/2 teaspoon per pound. Don’t be tempted to skimp, or all the days of dry brining and the herbs and the money you spent will be for nothing. Salt is critical for both flavor and texture (it draws out moisture), and if used in proper amounts, will not leave your meat particularly salty, just flavorful. You’ll blitz most of it with toasted fennel seeds, sage, rosemary, thyme, garlic, lemon zest and crushed red pepper flakes to make the herb mixture. The rest will be rubbed into the crosshatched skin/fat cap.Pared-Down PorchettaPared-Down PorchettaPared-Down PorchettaYou will have to truss your pork butt, which is really no trouble. Just tie it at short intervals and then anywhere else it isn’t holding together as one cohesive unit. You want all those good herbs to stay put! Then stick the whole thing in a dish and put in the refrigerator and forget about it for 24-48 hours until it’s dry to the touch and the color has changed.Pared-Down PorchettaPared-Down PorchettaPared-Down PorchettaAnd then roast it looooow and slooooow before crisping up that fat cap, and slicing and serving it on rolls or crusty bread that you’ve given the slightest dip in the rendered fat. You can also serve it alongside garlicky greens or roasted vegetables. Really, you can’t go wrong.Pared-Down PorchettaI feel like this Pared-Down Porchetta would be a wonderful main for Super Bowl Sunday, Oscar Night, Easter, or any old night. I mean, you could certainly hold onto this recipe until next Christmas, but that seems like an awfully long time from now, don’t you think?Pared-Down Porchetta

Pared-Down Porchetta
makes 8 (or so) servings

1 4-4.5 lb. boneless pork butt with skin or a thick fat cap*
3 tablespoons fennel seeds
2 tablespoons minced fresh sage
1 tablespoon minced fresh rosemary
1 tablespoon minced fresh thyme
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon fresh lemon zest (about 1 medium-large lemon)
1-1 1/2 teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes
2-2 1/2 teaspoons Kosher salt, divided

Special Equipment:
trussing string
a dutch oven or roasting dish

For serving:
rolls (I used Trader Joe’s Ciabatta Rolls)
crusty bread

Read this recipe carefully before proceeding. While the majority of it is hands-off, it will take a minimum of two days to prepare.

If your pork butt was trussed when you purchased it, cut off the trussing string and discard. Blot pork butt to remove excess moisture. Use a large, sharp chef’s knife (or razor blade) to crosshatch the skin.

Toast fennel seeds in a dry pan over low heat until fragrant. Remove to a bowl to cool.

Make the herb mixture. Combine sage, rosemary, thyme, garlic lemon zest, red pepper flakes,1 1/2-2 teaspoons* Kosher salt. and fennel seeds in a food processor and pulse to combine (alternatively, mince with a large, sharp chef’s knife).

Look at your pork butt. It is unlikely to be one stable piece, so take a look and see a natural spot to butterfly it. I chose an area that was already open, and used my knife to further the opening a bit more, leaving one edge still intact (see photos).

Fill opening with herb mixture and then fold back together. Some herb mixture will fall out—this is okay. Use trussing string/kitchen twine to truss the meat. Tie it together at 2-inch intervals and then any other directions necessary to hold it together as a cohesive unit. Rub the herb mixture that fell out of the butterflied section over the outside of the meat. Sprinkle remaining 1/2 teaspoon of salt over the crosshatched skin and lightly massage in. Place pork in a small dish (I used a 9-inch square pan) and refrigerate uncovered for 24-48 hours.

Remove pork from the refrigerator. Let sit at room temperature for an hour. Place pork in a clean, dry oven-safe pot (I use my dutch oven).

Preheat oven to 250F. Place pork in the oven and let cook for 4.5-5.5 hours, until it registers 180F on a meat thermometer and is tender.

Remove pork from oven. Turn temperature up to 500F.

Return pork to the oven and let cook, turning the pot every 5 minutes, until the skin is golden and crispy. (Mine was done for 15 minutes, but I probably should have gone to 20.)

Let pork cool for 20 minutes before carefully, removing trussing string, slicing and serving with rolls or crusty bread.

Leftovers will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for a few days.

Note:

1. If you cannot find a boneless pork butt with skin or a fat cap, purchase a piece of pork belly or skin to tie on with trussing string. I’ve seen pork belly for sale at Whole Foods, Whole Foods 365, Costco and some regular supermarkets.

2. You’ll need 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt per pound of meat, so 2 teaspoons for 4 lbs or 2 1/2 teaspoons for 4.5 lbs. With that knowledge, set aside 1/2 teaspoon of the salt for the skin/fat cap and add the rest to the herb mixture.Pared-Down PorchettaPared-Down PorchettaPared-Down Porchetta

Puff Pastry Pigs in Blankets

Puff Pastry Pigs in BlanketsWhen I think back on the Super Bowl parties of my youth (and since I am Texan, there were a lot), I don’t remember who played or much else, except for the food. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again (probably on Friday): I don’t care about football or the Super Bowl at all, but I *love* football food. If it’s rich, salty, creamy, cheesy, meaty and/or buttery, and can be used to distract me from a sporting event in which I’m uninterested, I. am. in.Puff Pastry Pigs in BlanketsSometimes when I am bored, I tune out and think about recipes. That said, you won’t be surprised to learn that the idea for these Puff Pastry Pigs in Blankets popped into my head during the last Super Bowl.Puff Pastry Pigs in BlanketsThese are the sorts of things I think about instead of thinking about things that are actually important. I mean, *someone* has to think about the game day food, right? No? Just me? Anyway…Puff Pastry Pigs in BlanketsPuff Pastry Pigs in Blankets are exactly what they sound like: classic pigs in blankets (aka cocktail wieners wrapped in yeast dough), made with puff pastry. Miniature hotdogs wrapped in flaky, buttery pastry? Sign me up!Puff Pastry Pigs in BlanketsThese little morsels are super easy to make. Start by rolling out a sheet of puff pastry. I like to use Rough Puff, but any all-butter puff pastry will do.Puff Pastry Pigs in BlanketsSpread a thin layer of dijon mustard over the top and then slice the pastry into strips. Wrap each strip around a cocktail wiener…Puff Pastry Pigs in BlanketsPuff Pastry Pigs in Blankets…then brush them all with egg wash and sprinkle them with poppyseeds and/or sesame seeds. This is purely for aesthetics, but I like the added texture it provides.Puff Pastry Pigs in BlanketsBake the pigs in blankets for 15 minutes at 450F. The pastry will be gorgeous and golden when they’re done.Puff Pastry Pigs in BlanketsServe ‘em with ketchup and more dijon mustard, or any condiment you like. Make sure to hoard a few for yourself before putting them on your Super Bowl table though because they’ll disappear before you know it, especially if I’m invited.Puff Pastry Pigs in Blankets

Puff Pastry Pigs in Blankets
makes about 40 pieces

Rough Puff Pastry:*
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
5 ounces unsalted European-style butter, very cold, cut into small pieces
1/4 cup water or milk, very cold

For assembly:
1 1/2 tablespoons (4 1/2 teaspoons) prepared dijon mustard
1.5 packages cocktail weiners (about 30 per package)
1 large egg
1 teaspoon water
1 teaspoon poppyseeds (optional)
1 teaspoon sesame seeds (optional)

For serving (optional):
ketchup
mustard

Make Rough Puff Pastry. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour and salt. Use a pastry blender or two forks to cut butter into dry ingredients until the largest pieces are the size of small peas. Pour in cold water or milk and stir with a silicone spatula or wooden spoon until a shaggy dough forms.

Flour a surface and a rolling pin. Turn dough out onto surface, and use your hands to pat it into a rough rectangle. Roll the dough into an 8×10″ rectangle. Fold dough in thirds, and give it one quarter turn. Roll into an 8×10″ rectangle again, fold, and turn. Repeat rolling, folding, and turning until it has been done six times total. Wrap folded dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least one hour, or up to 48 hours.

Preheat oven to 450F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Set aside.

Assemble the pigs in blankets. Flour a surface and a rolling pin. Unfold dough. Roll dough out to 10×14-inch rectangle. Use a large, sharp knife to trim any uneven edges. Brush surface of the dough with dijon mustard.

Use a floured chef’s knife to slice the sheet of dough in half lengthwise, and then into 3/4-inch thick strips. Working with one strip at a time, place a cocktail wiener at one end and roll it toward the other end, so that most of the wiener is coiled in dough. Place each piece, dough ends down, on prepared pans. Repeat until you run out of strips, chilling dough for 15 minutes if it becomes warm or soft.

Make an egg wash. In a small bowl, use a fork to whisk together egg and water. Use a pastry brush to brush all exposed dough. Sprinkle with poppy and/or sesame seeds, if desired.

Bake pigs in blankets for 15-17 minutes or until pastry is golden. Let cool a few minutes on pans before removing to a serving platter.

Serve with ketchup and/or mustard, if desired. Pigs in blankets are best the day they are made. Leftovers will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

Note:

You may use frozen all-butter puff pastry instead. Thaw according to package directions and begin the recipe at the paragraph that begins “Preheat oven to 450F.”Puff Pastry Pigs in Blankets Puff Pastry Pigs in BlanketsPuff Pastry Pigs in Blankets

Friday Favorites: Game Day Round-Up

The Super Bowl is coming up in just over a week and…

Well, to be honest, football just isn’t my thing. But Justin Timberlake and game day food are definitely my things. If it’s salty, crunchy, cheesy, made with Frank’s Red Hot, or is basically just a giant cookie, I. am. in.

The archives are loaded with big game-worthy recipes, but I’ve taken the liberty of rounding up a few of my favorites to give you a little Super Bowl party inspiration!

Friday Favorites: Game Day Round-UpGuacamole
I have never once brought guacamole to a party and gone home with leftovers. Not once. I make damn good guacamole, y’all. I don’t have some magical secret ingredient or any crazy methods—just buy good, ripe avocados and taste, taste, taste. Follow the recipe, adjust for salt and lime, and use sturdy chips. I promise you won’t have any leftovers.

Friday Favorites: Game Day Round-UpChorizo Cornbread {Gluten-Free}
Cornbread is pretty perfect all on its own, but I love this version. Slightly sweet and studded with salty chorizo, this cornbread makes an excellent soup side. And speaking of chorizo…

Friday Favorites: Game Day Round-UpBeef & Chorizo Chili
I don’t think I’ve ever been to a Super Bowl party that didn’t have some sort of chili on the menu. This Beef & Chorizo version was a happy accident that became a favorite 🙂

Friday Favorites: Game Day Round-UpBuffalo Chicken Biscuits
Buffalo chicken is a game day classic! Instead of making traditional wings, shred it up and serve it on cream biscuits—everyone loves sliders! Don’t forget the bleu cheese and celery sticks 🙂

Friday Favorites: Game Day Round-UpCaramelized Mushroom Tostadas
Who could say no to crispy tostadas loaded with sweet & earthy caramelized mushrooms, quick-pickled red onion, a swipe of guacamole, and salty cotija cheese?! This combination of textures and flavors is guaranteed to be a hit with vegetarians and meat-eaters alike 🙂 Need them to be vegan? Just skip the cheese.

Friday Favorites: Game Day Round-UpUltimate Chocolate Peanut Butter Brownies
If you’re into chocolate and peanut butter, this is the dessert for you! These cocoa brownies are topped with a layer of peanut butter cream and studded with miniature peanut butter cups, Reese’s Pieces, chocolate chips, and peanuts—so freaking good.

Friday Favorites: Game Day Round-UpBrown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookie Cake
As Julia Child once said “A party without cake is just a meeting.” I’m not sure that a Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookie Cake is exactly what she had in mind, but it fits the bill on Super Bowl Sunday! This simple dessert is easier than making a batch of cookies and a guaranteed crowd-pleaser.

Friday Favorites: Game Day Round-UpWill you be serving any of these dishes next Sunday? Let me know on Instagram!

Beef & Chorizo Chili

Beef & Chorizo ChiliAs I’ve mentioned many times, I do not care for football. Bores me to tears. Please don’t make me watch it.

All that said, yes, I do want to come to your Super Bowl party. I have no idea who’s playing whom (nor do I care), but I am very much interested in what snacks you’ll be serving. Oh yes, I love game day food. Chips, guacamole, salsa, buffalo chicken, weirdly delicious Double Chocolate Fritos Cookies–whatever you’ve got on the buffet table, I. am. interested.

Beef & Chorizo ChiliChili is arguably the ultimate game day food. Spicy, meaty, and good with just about anything (especially this Southern-Style Cornbread), it’s a total crowd pleaser. Chili can be made a million different ways, but this version, made with beef and chorizo, is my favorite. It came to be on a fridge-cleaning night three years ago, and its combination of unusual ingredients really make it something special. In this chili, you’ll find:

  • Mushrooms. Here they provide a little nutrition and also infuse the chili with their meaty umami flavor, just like they do in my Bolognese. Have mushroom haters in your family? Don’t fret–they’re diced small here and browned to the point that they blend in with everything else.
  • Cocoa Powder. It’s used as part of the spice blend in this chili, along with the usual cumin, chili powder, oregano, and cayenne. This small dose of cocoa will not make your finished product taste like chocolate–it’s just there for a little depth.
  • Soy Sauce. Like the mushrooms, the soy sauce is here for its umami flavor. It’s also here to even out the flavor, and precludes the need for any extra seasoning.

Beef & Chorizo ChiliThose ingredients might sound strange, but when they come together with the beef, chorizo, and aromatics, they make some seriously amazing chili. One thing you won’t find in this recipe? Beans. They’re not traditionally a part of chili (in my native Texas, at least). I won’t tell anybody if you add a can or two of drained, rinsed pinto beans though. I am all for anything that keeps me from having to make a side dish.

Beef & Chorizo ChiliLooking for more game day food? Check out my Guacamole, Restaurant-Style Salsa, Artichoke Dip, Buffalo Chicken Biscuits, and Ultimate Chocolate-Peanut Butter Brownies!

Beef & Chorizo Chili
serves 4-6

1 Tbsp olive oil
1 pound ground beef
1/2 pound fresh raw chorizo, removed from casings
10 ounces cremini mushrooms, diced small
1 large white onion, diced small
1 red bell pepper, diced small
2 large cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbsp ground cumin
1 Tbsp chili powder
1 1/2 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp natural unsweetened cocoa powder
1/8 tsp ground cayenne pepper
1 6-ounce can tomato paste
4 cups low-sodium beef broth
2 chipotles in adobo, minced + 1 Tbsp of the sauce
1 Tbsp soy sauce
2 cups + 2 Tbsp water, divided
1 Tbsp corn meal
grated cheddar cheese, for serving

Heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Brown beef and chorizo, breaking them up as necessary, until very brown (about 20 minutes). Remove the meat to a paper towel-lined plate, reserving two tablespoons of fat in the pan.

Add mushrooms to the pan and brown, stirring frequently, for about 15 minutes. Do not burn. Remove to a plate.

Add onion and red bell pepper to the pot and brown for about 20 minutes, stirring frequently. Add garlic and cook about 1 minute or until fragrant.

Reduce heat to medium. Return meat and mushrooms to the pot. Stir in cumin, chili powder, oregano, cocoa powder, and cayenne. Add tomato paste and stir to coat. Allow everything to cook, stirring frequently, for about 5 minutes. Add beef broth. Bring the pot to a boil before reducing the heat. Allow chili to simmer until the liquid is reduced by half. Stir occasionally.

Add chipotle adobo sauce, soy sauce, and 2 cups of water. Allow chili to continue simmering until liquid has reduced by half, stirring occasionally.

In a small bowl, whisk together cornmeal and 2 tablespoons of water. Once chili has reduced, stir in cornmeal mixture and cook for an additional five minutes, until thickened slightly. Remove pot from heat.

Serve chili in shallow bowls. Top with grated cheddar cheese, if desired. Leftover chili will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to four days.

Beef & Chorizo Chili