If the biggest game of the season is a bust (as in, your favorite team is losing, and badly) the only thing likely to brighten the afternoon is a good meal. Chris Kimball, founder and editor of the famed Cook's Illustrated magazine, stopped by The Early Show to share a few recipes for some classic football fare from his new cookbook, "Here In America's Test Kitchen."
In this new book, as with all others put out by Cook's, every recipe has been tested and perfected. Its pages have detailed explanations for why and how the test-kitchen chefs arrived at their final stamp of approval.
For those serving Buffalo wings, Kimball says to forget the pre-cut, uncooked, frozen wings in the store - his team found them to be poorly cut, unevenly sized, and uncooperative. He says the best wings are those that have juicy meat, a crisp coating, and a spicy, but slightly sweet and vinegary, sauce. His team at Cook's Illustrated tested numerous recipes; he shares the best one along with a recipe for creamy bleu cheese dressing to accompany the wings.
In addition to the wings and dressing, Kimball wanted to cook up a pot of real Texas chili – with no beans and real chilies instead of chili powder. His book says this recipe has: "big chunks of meat, plenty of chili flavor, and a smooth, rich sauce that could be ladled over rice or soaked up with cornbread." He showed us how to prepare this chili con carne, and even stirred up a pitcher of sangria to go with it.
Masa Harina: A ground corn flour that acts as a thickening agent. It is the same flour used to make dough for tortillas. Kimball uses masa harina in his chili because it adds a hint of corn to the finished dish.
Sangria: A flavorful beverage made by combining fruit and wine.
Serves 6 to 8 as an appetizer
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup Frank's Louisiana Hot Sauce
2 tablespoons Tabasco or other hot sauce, plus more to taste
1 tablespoon dark brown sugar
2 teaspoons cider vinegar
1-2 quarts peanut oil, for frying
1 teaspoon cayenne
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons cornstarch
18 chicken wings (about 3 pounds), wingtips removed and remaining wings separated into 2 parts at joint.
Vegetables and Dressing Ingredients:
4 medium stalks celery, cut into thin sticks
2 medium carrots, peeled and cut into thin sticks
1 1/2 cups Rich and Creamy Blue Cheese Dressing
Making the Sauce:
Melt butter in small saucepan over low heat. Whisk in hot sauces, brown sugar, and vinegar until combined. Remove from heat and set aside.
Making the Wings:
Preheat oven to 200 degrees. Line baking sheet with paper towels. Heat 2 1/2 inches of oil in large Dutch oven over medium-high heat to 360 degrees. While oil heats, mix together cayenne, black pepper, salt and cornstarch in small bowl. Dry chicken with paper towels and place pieces in large mixing bowl. Sprinkle spice mixture over wings and toss with rubber spatula until evenly coated. Fry half of chicken wings until golden and crisp, 10 to 12 minutes. With slotted spoon, transfer fried chicken wings to baking sheet. Keep first batch of chicken warm in oven while frying remaining wings.
Pour sauce mixture into large bowl, add chicken wings, and toss wings until uniformly coated. Serve immediately with carrot and celery sticks and blue cheese dressing on the side.
Rich and Creamy Bleu Cheese Dressing
Makes about 3/4 cup
2 1/2 ounces blue cheese, crumbled (about 1/2 cups)
3 tablespoons buttermilk
3 tablespoons sour cream
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
2 teaspoons white wine vinegar
1/4 teaspoon sugar
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
Salt and ground black pepper
Mash blue cheese and buttermilk in small bowl with fork until mixture resembles cottage cheese with small curds. Stir in remaining ingredients. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper. (Dressing can be refrigerated in airtight container for up to 2 weeks.)
Chili Con Carne
3 tablespoons ancho chili powder, or 3 medium pods (about 1/2 ounce), toasted and ground
3 tablespoons New Mexico chili powder, or 3 medium pods (about 3/4 ounce), toasted and ground
2 tablespoons cumin seeds, toasted in dry skillet over medium heat until fragrant, about 4 minutes, and ground
2 teaspoons dried oregano, preferably Mexican
4 pounds beef chuck roast, trimmed of excess fat and cut into 1-inch cubes
7 -8 slices bacon (about 8 ounces), cut into 1/4 inch pieces
1 medium onion, minced
5 medium garlic cloves, minced (about 5 teaspoons)
4-5 small jalapeno chili peppers, stemmed, seeded, and minced
1 cup canned crushed tomatoes or plain tomato sauce
2 tablespoons lime juice
5 tablespoons masa harina or 3 tablespoons cornstarch
Ground black pepper
Making the Toasted and Ground Chiles:
Place chilies on baking sheet in 350-degree oven until fragrant and puffed, about 6 minutes. Cool, stem, and seed, tearing pods into pieces. Place pieces of the pods in a spice grinder and process until powdery, 30 to 45 seconds.
Making the Chili:
Mix chili powders, cumin and oregano in small bowl and stir in 1/2 cup water to form thick paste; set aside. Toss beef cubes with 2 teaspoons salt in large bowl; set aside.
Fry bacon in large Dutch oven over medium-low heat until fat renders and bacon crisps, about 10 minutes. Remove bacon with slotted spoon to paper and towel-lined plate; pour all but 2 teaspoons fat from pot into small bowl; set aside. Increase heat to medium-high; sauté meat in four batches until well-browned on all sides, about 5 minutes per batch, adding 2 teaspoons bacon fat to pot each time as necessary. Set browned meat aside in large bowl.
Reduce heat to medium and add 3 tablespoons bacon fat to now-empty pan. Add onion and sauté until softened, 5 to 6 minutes. Add garlic and jalapenos and sauté until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add chili powder mixture and sauté until fragrant, 2 to 3 minutes. Add reserved bacon and browned beef, crushed tomatoes or tomato sauce, lime juice, and 7 cups water. Bring to a simmer. Continue to cook at steady simmer (lowering heat as necessary) until meat is tender and juices are dark, rich, and starting to thicken, about 2 hours.
Mix masa harina with 2/3 cup water (or cornstarch with 3 tablespoons water) in small bowl to form smooth paste. Increase heat to medium, stir in paste, and simmer until thickened, 5 to 10 minutes. Adjust seasonings generously with salt and ground black pepper to taste. Serve immediately or, for best flavor, cool slightly, cover, and refrigerate overnight or for up to 5 days. Reheat before serving.
Serve the chili with any of the following sides: warm pinto or kidney beans, corn bread or chips, corn tortillas or tamales, rice, biscuits, or just plain crackers. Top with any of the following garnishes: chopped fresh cilantro-leaves, minced white onion, diced avocado, shredded cheddar or jack cheese or sour cream.
2 large juice oranges, washed; one orange sliced; remaining orange juiced
1 large lemon, washed and sliced
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup Triple Sec
1 (750-milliliter) bottle inexpensive, fruity, medium-bodied red wine, chilled
Add sliced orange, lemon, and sugar to large pitcher; mash gently with wooden spoon until fruit releases some juice but is not totally crushed and sugar dissolves, about 1 minute. Stir in orange juice, Triple Sec, and wine; refrigerate for at least 2 hours and up to 8 hours.
Before serving, add 6 to 8 ice cubes and stir briskly to distribute settled fruit and pulp; serve immediately.