Wednesday, January 30, 2002

Wing it with super bowl of chili

Readers name champs for favorite game-day snack recipes

By Chuck Martin

The Cincinnati Enquirer

        No matter who's playing in the game, Super Bowl Sunday is one of the biggest snacking days of the year. And two of the most popular snacks are Buffalo-style chicken wings and chili.

        To find the best recipes, we asked readers to send their versions of wings and chili. After reviewing more than two dozen recipes, and then asking judges to sample three finalist dishes in each category, we named Elaine Geraci of Monroe and Carol Klinker of West Chester as our 2002 “Super Snack” champs. Perhaps it's no coincidence their recipes were among the most simple of those submitted.

        Judges praised the chunky texture and “great flavor” of Elaine Geraci's “Sunsational Red Bowl of Chili.” To create this beanless Texas-style stew, Ms. Geraci, who owns Sunsations Tanning Salon in Colerain Township, added lean pork to her beef chili, then substituted beef broth for diced tomatoes. For a hint of sweetness, she poured in a can of Budweiser beer.

        “You've got to cook with what you drink,” she says.

Sunsational Red Bowl of Chili

        2 tablespoons vegetable oil
        3/4 pound round steak or sirloin, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
        3/4 pound lean boneless pork, such as tenderloin
       1 large onion, chopped
       3 garlic cloves, minced
       2 tablespoons crushed red pepper
       2 tablespoons chili powder, or 2 dried ancho chiles, crushed
       1 tablespoon ground cumin
        1/2 teaspoon black pepper
       Salt, to taste
       1 14 1/2-ounce can beef broth
       1 12-ounce can Budweiser

        Brown half of beef and pork in oil in large pot or Dutch oven. Remove meat with slotted spoon and set aside. Add remaining meat, chopped onion, garlic, crushed pepper and spices and stir well. Continue to cook until beef and pork browns. Return reserved meat to pot and stir in beef broth and beer.

        Bring mixture to boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer about 50 minutes. Uncover pot and simmer slowly for another hour or longer, until meat is tender and chili thickens. Serve alone, or with rice or pinto beans, or in tortillas. Makes 6 to 8 servings.

        The key to these tasty chicken wings is keeping the ranch dressing flavor subtle, says Carol Klinker, who got the recipe from a fund-raising cookbook sold by a school in Madisonville, Ky., where she used to live. The judges couldn't catch the ranch flavor, but they did love the “just-right” spicy bite of the oven-baked wings.

        A mother of three and part-time Miami University student, Ms. Klinker prides herself on preparing family meals. But this was only the second time she'd attempted these chicken wings.

Hidden Valley Ranch Buffalo Wings

        24 chicken wing sections or small drumsticks, rinsed and patted dry
       1 envelope Hidden Valley Ranch Original Ranch Salad Dressing Mix
        1/3 cup margarine or butter, melted
        1/4 cup hot sauce, or to taste
       3 tablespoons vinegar
        1/2 teaspoon paprika

        Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Dredge chicken in salad dressing mix. Combine melted margarine, hot sauce and vinegar. Dip chicken into margarine mixture and arrange on baking sheet. Sprinkle chicken with paprika.

        Bake 25 to 30 minutes, or until brown.

Other snacks in the playoffs

       Here are the runners-up in our “Super Snack“ wing and chili recipe contest. Thanks to everyone for entering.
    To find the best super snack, judges blindly sampled three finalist dishes from each category. Our judges were:
    • Mark Overstreet, general manager of Buffalo Wild Wings Grill & Bar in Rookwood Pavilion, Norwood.
    • John Byczkowski, Enquirer database and enterprise reporter, and a native of Buffalo, N.Y.
    • Polly Campbell, Enquirer restaurant critic since 1996.
    The Anchor Bar in Buffalo, N.Y., is credited with the creation of Buffalo wings in 1964, after owner Teressa Bellissimo received a surplus delivery of chicken wings. To make a late-night snack for her son and friends, she deep-fried the wings, tossed them in melted margarine and hot sauce and served them with the restaurant's blue cheese house dressing. Today, the Anchor Bar sells more than 70,000 wings a month.
    The history of chili con carne dates to at least 1828, when a writer who visited San Antonio described a stew made of cut-up meat and chile peppers. At the Chicago World's Fair in 1893, the food vendors included a “San Antonio Chili Stand.” Since its birth in Texas, chili has taken on many regional variations, including Cincinnati chili, which according to legend, was created by Macedonian immigrant Athanas Kiradjieff in 1922.
    — Source: The Encyclopedia of American Food & Drink (Lebhar-Friedman; $29.95)

Indian Chicken Wings

       2 1/2 pounds chicken wings, cut into segments, rinsed and patted dry
       3 tablespoons ginger-garlic paste (see note)
       1 tablespoon turmeric
       1 tablespoon garam masala
       1 tablespoon ground coriander

        @fd:Toss wings with ginger-garlic paste either in bowl or sealable plastic bag. Pour remaining spices over wings and toss until thoroughly coated.

        Preheat grill. Grill (preferably over indirect medium heat) for about 17 minutes on each side. Serve with blue cheese dressing.

        Note:— Available in Indian groceries and some food specialty stores.

— Andrea Bartels, Delhi Township
Dude's Hot Wings

       2 to 3 pounds of wings, cut into segments, rinsed and patted dry
       K-Paul's Poultry Magic Seasoning
       Juice of 2 lemons
       2 tablespoons chopped, fresh rosemary
       1 teaspoon black pepper
        1/4 cup olive oil
       1 to 2 cloves garlic, minced
       Original Louisiana Hot Sauce

        Season wings generously with K-Paul's Poultry Magic. Put wings into gallon sealable plastic bag and add lemon juice, rosemary, pepper, olive oil and minced garlic. Shake well and refrigerate 3 to 4 hours.

        Grill wings over medium heat until done. Place in oven-proof pan, cover with foil and bake at 200 degrees until meat pulls away easily from bone. Add hot sauce to taste before serving.

— Randy Fairfield, Aurora, Ind.

Vegetable Chili

       1 pound ground beef
       2 garlic cloves, minced
       1 red or green bell pepper, minced
        1/2 pound mushrooms, sliced
        1/2 cup chopped onion
       2 tablespoons vegetable oil
       1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes, with juice
       1 15-ounce can tomato sauce
       1 tablespoon chili powder
       1 teaspoon ground cumin (optional)
       1 15-ounce can kidney or navy beans, drained and rinsed
       1 1/2 cups diced zucchini
       1 10-ounce package frozen corn, thawed

        Brown beef and drain. Saute garlic, pepper, mushrooms and onion in oil (in same pan with browned beef) until vegetables are tender. Add tomatoes, tomato sauce, chili powder and cumin. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low. Add beans, zucchini and corn. Simmer 15 minutes. Serve topped with grated cheese. Makes 4 to 6 servings.

— Cathy Moyer, Mason

Special Team's Three-Bean Chili

        SPICE MIX 1 (see note)
       6 tablespoons pure ancho chile powder
       1 tablespoon ground cumin
       2 teaspoons Mexican oregano
       1 teaspoon ground coriander
       1 1/2 pounds ground beef chuck
       1 pound ground pork
       1 1/2 cups chopped onions
       3 to 6 stemmed, seeded and chopped jalapeno peppers
       6 garlic cloves, finely chopped
       2 15-ounce cans crushed tomatoes
       2 14 1/2-ounce cans chicken broth
       1 15 1/2-ounce can beef broth
       1 12-ounce bottle Pete's Wicked Ale (or other dark beer)
       1 15-ounce can, each, drained and rinsed: red chili beans, pinto beans and black beans
       1 2 to 3-inch cinnamon stick
       SPICE MIX 2
       2 teaspoons kosher salt
       1 teaspoon, each: dried basil, dried cilantro, paprika, cayenne pepper, black pepper, ground chipotle chile (optional) and dried thyme
       2 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, grated
       3 tablespoons lime juice
       2 to 4 tablespoons masa harina (optional; find in Mexican groceries and some specialty stores)
       Salt and pepper, to taste

        Mix spices in “Spice Mix 1” in small bowl and blend with enough water to create a thin paste. Set aside.

        Note: If you are missing any of the ingredients for this spice mix, substitute 6 tablespoons regular chili powder, mix with water in bowl and set aside.

        Brown beef and pork in heavy pot or Dutch oven until no longer pink. Drain and discard most of grease. Add chopped onions and jalapenos and saute until translucent and fragrant, 6 to 8 minutes. Add garlic and saute until slightly browned.

        Create a “hole” in the center of the ingredients with a spoon and add Spice Mix 1 (blended with water). Fry and lightly stir the spice mix 2 to 3 minutes, until bubbly. Stir spice mix into other ingredients in pan, then mix in tomatoes, broth, beer and cinnamon stick. Simmer 1 hour, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking.

        At end of simmering time, add “Spice Mix 2,” stirring well. Simmer an additional 20 to 30 minutes, then add three cans of beans, stirring well. Simmer about 10 minutes longer.

        For final flourish, thicken chili as needed by creating slurry of masa harina (corn flour) and water. Add this paste to chili, stir, and simmer another 10 to 15 minutes until thickened. Add lime juice, salt and pepper, to taste. (Chili tastes best when refrigerated over night and reheated.) Makes 10 to 12 servings.

— Richard Perry, Anderson Township


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