For the twenty-third consecutive Super Bowl, Buffalo Bills fans won’t have a horse in the race. Of course, no sane Bills fan is rooting for the New England Patriots (aside from those who may have wagered on the game, perhaps), but it’s not the same to root against a team as it is to root for your team. Instead, most of us will watch the game with friends and family while enjoying the pageantry and spectacle that is pro football’s greatest summit. Most importantly, we’ll enjoy the food and drink associated with the game itself.
What kinds of foods lend themselves to a tremendous Super Bowl party? There are a few staples of the showdown that come out in my house every year.
Buffalo Chicken Dip
This one is a given, even for a downstate Bills’ fan such as myself. Depending on one’s taste buds, the recipe can be tweaked to include a mild amount of hot sauce, or a scorching amount. (I prefer the latter, but my wife prefers the milder version, so we compromise.) Our recipe calls for two pounds of chicken breast, boiled and shredded, to be combined with 16 ounces of cream cheese, 8 ounces of blue cheese, and 8 ounces of mozzarella cheese. My wife uses a cup of Frank’s Red Hot; however, I just dump it on there until the chicken and cheese mixture turns a suitable shade of orange-red. Bake for twenty minutes in a 350 degree oven, and serve it with your favorite chips or crackers.
This is where I usually shine. The chili needs to sit all day, and using a crock pot is preferable, so be prepared to start early. For the base, I usually start with four large cans of tomato sauce. I mix in some chili powder, garlic powder, and a healthy dose of cayenne pepper, allowing that to sit before adding in some barbecue sauce (the sweet mixed with the heat adds an extra layer!). While the broth begins to simmer, prepare the beef in a separate pan. Two pounds of ground beef with cayenne, crushed red pepper, and garlic powder, combined with onions, provides some more punch to the dish. The real key is to keep the meat drippings—adding that to the base amps up the overall flavor of the chili. I then dice some jalapeno peppers, green peppers, red peppers, and mushrooms to mix in with the rest. Then, add a can of red kidney beans and a can of black beans, and allow the crock pot to sit low and slow for as long as you can. Serve in a bowl with cheddar cheese, sour cream, and Italian bread handy!
Last, but certainly not least, is the stromboli. Make sure to use cold cut ingredients (1/8 pound of pepperoni, 1⁄4 pound salami, 1⁄4 pound mozzarella, 1⁄4 pound provolone) cut fresh. Fresh dough is preferable, but the frozen packs will do in a pinch. Roll out the dough, stuff it with the cold cuts listed above, and add some Italian herbs and spices before rolling it all up. Bake until the crust is a golden brown. Wash it down with your favorite beer (maybe a Sam Adams for Tom Brady or a “Natty Ice” for “Matty Ice”) or soda, kick back, and watch what should be a great game.
Whatever you do for the Super Bowl, Bills fans, make sure that you enjoy yourselves, and do so responsibly. I’ll count the days along with you until the time that we can really have a solid rooting interest in the Super Bowl again!