The coin toss begins the quest for the best foods along Super Bowl sidelines. It coincides with the serious game between the New England Patriots and the New York Giants on TV.
For our standing Super Bowl date with friends, we eat appetizers as the game starts, dinner at halftime and dessert amid confetti of the Lombardi Trophy presentation.
Chili bars, taco buffets, snacks and sandwiches offer tasty fun to those who do or don't understand touchdowns and punts. Options for pleasing taste buds outnumber fans.
Pre-planning keeps hot chicken wings from costing as much as a ticket into Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, reports the National Chicken Council. A single chicken's two wings are a small contribution to the 1.25 billion wing portions (100 million pounds) expected to be eaten during the weekend. Thus, restaurants and food service providers began stockpiling them long before the Rams won a game in late October. That keeps the hot appetizer affordable.
The third tip of the wing, called the flapper, is removed for Asian cuisine. The remaining meatier sides become Buffalo wings, traditionally deep-fried minus breading, then coated in sauce based on butter and vinegar-ish hot sauce. Classic companions are celery sticks and blue cheese dressing.
Some fans modify the flavor. Barbecue sauce, grilling and Asian specialties lead the way.
For Athenian Chicken Wings (www.eatchicken.com), marinate 2 pounds of chicken drumettes in a mixture of 1/3 cup olive oil, 1 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, 1/3 cup lemon juice, 2 teaspoons fresh lemon zest and 2 teaspoons oregano for 20 to 30 minutes. On a baking sheet coated with nonstick cooking spray, bake wings in a preheated 350-degree oven for 20 minutes, flip them over and bake 15 minutes longer or until done. For dip, mix 1 cup Greek yogurt, 2 tablespoons honey, 1 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper and 1/4 cup finely chopped green onion tops.
Don't neglect other chicken parts. For a similar dip, start with ranch or blue cheese dressing. Add a bit of buffalo wing sauce — carefully, as it heats up in a hurry. Chopped, cooked chicken can be added for warm dipping with hearty chips, or ready-to-heat chicken kabobs can be dipped into the mixture. Cream of celery soup adds authentic flavor.
Chicken is a favorite in chili. A recipe from Nielsen-Massey Vanillas uses its chocolate extract for flavor depth without red meat. Tune up or down seasonings and add more beans as desired.
HEARTY WHITE BEAN CHILI
2 tbsp. olive oil
3 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut in medium dice
1 cup finely diced onion
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup chicken stock
1 can (28 oz.) diced tomatoes
1 can (29 oz.) tomato sauce
1 can (7 oz.) diced green chiles
2 tsp. ground cumin
2 tbsp. dried parsley
1 tbsp. dried oregano
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
1 tsp. kosher salt
2 tsp. chocolate extract
1 can (15 oz.) white kidney beans, drained
1/2 cup (2 oz.) freshly grated Parmesan cheese
In medium saute pan or skillet, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Cook chicken 4 to 5 minutes until brown. Using slotted spoon, remove chicken from pan and set aside.
Add onion to pan and cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned and caramelized. Add garlic and cook 1 to 2 minutes. Pour in the chicken stock, scraping bottom of pan with wooden spoon to deglaze, loosening food particles from pan.
Pour stock mixture into large saucepan and add chicken, tomatoes, tomato sauce, chiles, cumin, parsley, oregano, cayenne and salt. Cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, 30 minutes. Add chocolate extract and beans. Cook 10 minutes longer.
Garnish individual servings with Parmesan cheese.
Note: Nielsen-Massey recommends seasoning the chili with its "pure" chocolate extract and organic chicken stock, parsley and oregano.
Makes 6 servings.