One of the great things about Super Bowl Sunday is not feeling guilty about your dietary choices.
Like Thanksgiving and Halloween, the big game day is a time to throw the culinary cautions out the window and enjoy hearty, handy and spicy fare. You can get back to the chickpeas and the chayote another day, but for now, lets feast on food that’s a little more decadently traditional. Big wings, burgers, hearty chilis, stuffed potato skins. Now that’s living.
After all, the Super Bowl only comes around once a year. But just so you don’t feel totally guilty, included is a recipe for turkey chili that packs a bit less fat and calories than its beef contemporaries.
Bring on the wings
Come Super Bowl Sunday, we all love a heaping platter of wings. They’ve got to be crunchy. They’ve got to be a little bit greasy. They’ve got to be so delicious we can’t stop eating even after we know we’ve eaten too many.
What we don’t love about the day of the big game? The work involved in making those wings a reality. Because perfectly crisped and seasoned wings typically require a fair amount of effort, not to mention vats of hot oil. And dealing with that is so much less fun that cracking a beer on the couch with your friends.
So these hands-off chicken wings require almost no effort from you. Yet, they are every bit as crispy and addictive as a traditional recipe.
The secret is baking powder. You start the recipe a few hours ahead of when you want to serve the wings. Just toss the wings in a large bowl with some salt, pepper and baking powder, then refrigerate them for a while. The baking powder reacts with the skin, helping to draw out moisture. Less moisture equals more crisp.
When it’s time to cook, you just arrange the wings on a wire rack set over a rimmed baking sheet. The rack keeps the air circulating around the wings and keeps them up and out of any liquid that drips onto the pan. Again, less liquid (and more air) is key to getting the skin perfectly crisp. When the wings are done, dunk them first in our honey-Sriracha sauce, then in the cilantro-sour cream dip. But if you’d prefer the more traditional Buffalo sauce and blue cheese, go for it.
Beer burgers deliver
Big provisions are required to watch the big game, and nothing’s more substantial than a burger, even in its mini form — the slider.
Indeed, if you plan to serve a variety of dishes for the Super Bowl, sliders are more sensible than the full-sized guys. But they happen to be a little trickier to cook than a standard-issue burger. The slider’s size makes it tough to put a nice crust on the outside while ensuring that it doesn’t overcook on the inside.
These sliders are adapted from a burger I used to make a million years ago at a bar in Ann Arbor called the Del Rio. Dubbed the Det Burger, this marvel was dreamed up by a cook named Bob Detweiler, who baptized the creation after himself. The heart of the original version was a quarter-pounder topped by “the Det mix” — canned mushrooms, canned olives, grilled onions, freeze-dried green peppers and Kraft Singles.
But there also was a secret ingredient: beer. The Det Burger was steamed in beer. If it wasn’t quite “the burger that made Ann Arbor famous,” it was undeniably a city-wide favorite.
A generation later, the same winning combo of ingredients were assembled — though in a fresher form — and then the cooking process was tweaked to make sure that these mini-burgers ended up juicy and crusty.
There are a few key points:
First, the sliders need to be about 3/4-inch thick, not only so they don’t overcook, but so you can fit all of them at one time into the skillet. Second, the skillet needs to be large, a 12-incher. If you don’t have a skillet that big, use two smaller ones and cook six sliders in each. And third, whichever skillet you use, the oil must be heated until it’s almost smoking. At the start, you want the burgers to sear, not steam, which is what will happen if the pan isn’t hot enough. At first, the sliders will be crowded together in the skillet, but they’ll shrink down as they cook, giving off fat and juices in the process. You deglaze the pan with beer, of course, which mingles intimately with the fat and juices released by the burgers to create a delectable pan sauce.
You can spoon some of this liquid onto the buns before sliding in the burgers, or you could pour the sauce into ramekins and invite your guests to dunk their sliders into it between bites. Whatever happens onscreen, you’ll be winning at home.
Detroit News food editor Steve Pardo contributed
Hands-Off Chicken Wings
From Alison Ladman
For the wings
2 tablespoons baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
5 pounds chicken wings, split and wing tips removed
For the honey-Sriracha sauce
1/3 cup soy sauce
3 tablespoons Sriracha
3 tablespoons honey
1 1/2 tablespoons minced fresh garlic
1 1/2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
For cilantro-sour cream dip
3/4 cup sour cream
3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
3 tablespoons rice vinegar
3 scallions, white and green parts, finely chopped
Line 2 baking sheets with foil, then arrange a wire rack over the foil. Coat the rack with cooking spray.
In a large bowl, stir together the baking powder, salt and black pepper. Add the wings and toss to coat evenly. Spread the chicken wings over the rack and refrigerate for 2 hours, uncovered.
When ready to cook, heat the oven to 375 degrees.
Bake the chicken wings for 60 to 70 minutes, flipping them halfway through, or until very crispy and golden brown.
While the wings bake, prepare the sauces. For each sauce, combine all ingredients in a small bowl and mix until uniform. Serve the wings on a platter accompanied by the sauces for dunking. Makes 30 wings.
Per wing: 110 calories; 7 g fat (2.5 g saturated fat; 54 percent calories from fat); 3 g carbohydrates; 2 g sugar; 50 mg cholesterol; 400 mg sodium; 8 g protein; 0 g fiber.
From Sara Moulton
3 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
1/2 cup finely chopped yellow onion
3 ounces mushrooms (white, cremini or shiitake), finely chopped
2 tablespoons finely chopped pitted green olives
2 tablespoons finely chopped, drained, canned green chilies
3 ounces sliced sharp cheddar cheese, broken into 12 equal pieces
1 1/2 pounds ground beef, shaped into 12 sliders, each about 3/4 inch thick
Ground black pepper
1/3 cup beer
12 slider buns
In a large (at least 12-inch) skillet over medium, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil. Add the onion and cook until golden, about 8 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the onion to a bowl. Add another tablespoon of the oil to the pan, the mushrooms and a hefty pinch of salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the liquid the mushrooms give off has evaporated, about 5 minutes. Transfer the mushrooms to the bowl with the onion. Reserve the skillet.
Add the olives and chilies to the mushroom mixture and stir well. Set aside.
Return the skillet to high heat. Add the remaining tablespoon of oil and wait until it is almost smoking. Meanwhile, season the sliders on one side with salt and pepper. When the oil is hot, add the sliders, seasoned side down (it will be a little crowded in the pan), and cook them until they are just browned on the first side, about 2 minutes. Sprinkle the top side of each with salt and pepper, turn the sliders over and cook for another 2 minutes.
While the sliders are browning, top each slider with a heaping teaspoon of the mushroom mixture, dividing all of the mixture among the sliders, then place a piece of cheese on top of each. Quickly pour the beer into the pan, all around the sliders, cover the pan and steam for 2 minutes.
Turn off the heat and let the sliders sit in the pan for another minute to let the cheese melt completely. Spoon some of the liquid in the skillet onto the tops and bottoms of the buns, transfer the sliders to the buns and serve right away. Makes 12.
Per slider: 280 calories; 13 g fat (4 g saturated fat; 43 percent calories from fat); 23 g carbohydrates; 3 g sugar; 45 mg cholesterol; 370 mg sodium; 16 g protein; 1 g fiber.
Game Day Turkey Chili
From Melissa d’Arabian
2 teaspoons vegetable oil, divided
1 pound lean ground turkey
2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
2 teaspoons smoked paprika
1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
1 red bell pepper, cored and finely chopped
12-ounce light beer
Two 15-ounce cans low-sodium black beans, drained and rinsed
14-ounce can low-sodium tomato sauce
Two 14-ounce cans crushed tomatoes
2 tablespoons chili powder
Dash of cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon cocoa powder
Hot sauce, to taste
Plain low-fat Greek yogurt, to serve
Chopped scallions, to serve
Shredded cheddar or Mexican cheese, to serve
In a Dutch oven or other large, heavy pot over medium-high, heat 1 teaspoon of the oil. Add the turkey and cook, breaking it up, until cooked through, about 7 minutes. Sprinkle the turkey with the soy sauce and smoked paprika, then mix until well-coated. Continue to cook until any moisture in the pot is gone, about 3 minutes. Spoon the meat out of the pan and set aside.
Return the pot to the heat and add the remaining oil. Add the onion and red pepper, then cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Increase the heat to high, then add the beer to deglaze the pan, scraping the bottom to loosen any stuck bits. Simmer for 2 minutes. Return the meat to the pot, along with the beans, tomato sauce, crushed tomatoes, chili powder, cayenne and cocoa powder. Bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to low, then simmer for 30 minutes.
Serve with hot sauce, yogurt, scallions and cheese on the side.
Per serving: 320 calories; 10 g fat (3 g saturated fat; 28 percent calories from fat); 33 g carbohydrates; 10 g sugar; 50 mg cholesterol; 660 mg sodium; 24 g protein; 11 g fiber.
Guacamole Potato Boats
From Alison Ladman
2 tablespoons packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon cayenne (depending on desired heat)
Kosher salt and ground black pepper
2 pounds medium Russet potatoes (about 4)
2 tablespoons butter, melted
3 avocados, pitted and peeled
2 tablespoons chopped pickled jalapenos
3 scallions, chopped
1 tablespoon lime juice
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
Heat the oven to 450 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil.
In a small bowl, combine the brown sugar, thyme, garlic powder, smoked paprika, cumin, cayenne, 1 teaspoon of salt and 1/2 teaspoon of pepper. Set aside.
Slice 1/2-inch-thick slices off both sides of each potato, reserving the middle third of each potato for another use (put them in water and refrigerate to prevent them from darkening). Using a melon baller, scoop out a bit of the flesh from each potato slice to create shallow bowls.
Arrange the potato slices on the prepared pan. Pat dry with paper towels. Brush all over with the melted butter. Sprinkle with the spice mixture. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the outsides are crisped and browned and the flesh of the potatoes are tender.
While the potatoes bake, prepare the guacamole. In a medium bowl, combine the avocados, jalapenos, scallions, lime juice and vinegar. Mash with a fork or wooden spoon until the guacamole is as chunky or smooth as you prefer. Season with salt and black pepper.
Allow the potatoes to cool slightly, then scoop a spoonful of guacamole into the hollow of each potato. Serve immediately.
Per serving: 220 calories; 14 g fat (3.5 g saturated fat; 59 percent calories from fat); 25 g carbohydrates; 5 g sugar; 10 mg cholesterol; 270 mg sodium; 3 g protein; 7 g fiber.
Metro Detroit Super Bowl Parties
All event are Sunday. Kickoff is 6:30 p.m.
Albert’s on the Alley: Buffet, giveaways and football-themed games at halftime. Reservations accepted, but not required. 5651 Middlebelt, Garden City. (734) 525-5231.
Dooleys Tavern: A $50 ticket gets you three drinks, a crab-leg buffet and reserved seating. The party is hosted by a Toby Keith impersonator and a 50-inch HD television will be raffled off. 32500 Gratiot, Roseville. (586) 294-5331.
Craft Breww City: Buffet with pizza, mac and cheese, mini burgers, salad and a taco bar from 5:30-9:30 p.m. for $12.95. Happy hour is all day with new menu items like crab cakes, pretzel loaf and deviled eggs will debut. 27843 Orchard Lake, Farmington Hills. Reservations accepted by calling (248) 488-5555.
The Hub Sports Bistro: Beer bucket specials, a chance to win a big screen TV and other giveaways. Carb up at half time with a pizza buffet. Reservations accepted. 16780 21 Mile, Macomb. (586) 226-3399 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Lefty’s Lounge: Drink specials, 16 televisions. 5440 Cass, Detroit. (313) 831-5338.
Limelight Sports Grill & Bar: Complimentary halftime buffet, plus raffles and giveaways and $3 shots every time there’s a touchdown. 30200 Van Dyke, Sterling Heights. (586) 751-7883.
Mallie’s Sports Grill & Bar: A $40 ticket gets you a reserved seat and all-you-can eat and drink (restrictions apply). Known for giant burgers and eating challenges, this spacious bar will also host a chili-eating contest at half time. The grand prize is a flat screen television. Sign up in advance by calling (313) 999-1584. 19400 Northline, Southgate. (734) 287-0800.
Mr. B’s: During the game, take advantage of drink specials and food deals, including $10 for a bucket of domestic beer and $2 off all burgers. 215 S. Main, Royal Oak. (248) 399-0017.
TAP at MGM Grand Detroit: With nearly 300 seats, more than 40 HD TVs and beyond 50 beers to choose from, this casino sports bar is a safe bet. Just like every Sunday, the bar serves $3 mimosas.
Vintage House: Watch the game on multiple televisions at this east-side banquet hall. Tickets, $50 in advance and $60 at the door, includes appetizers, dinner stations, premium bar and prizes. 31816 Utica, Fraser. (586) 415-5678.