Football Party: Spicy Beef Chili

October 21, 2008


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I realized something last Monday night: football parties are a huge gamble. The damage that mine incurred could only have been worse if there had been more Giants fans in the room. I might have prevented that by inviting people who favored the opposing team, but I don' t really know a lot of football fans…certainly not enough to select guests based on team preference. And since I' d never hosted any kind of sports-related event, (I didn' t even know who the other team was until the game was well underway) I didn' t realize how big of a risk it is to invite people over on the basis of a win-or-lose situation. At about 10:30, my guests (including Dan, pictured watching the game and eating chili) left bereft for the Giant' s defeat, and all I could do to console myself was hug a leftover cup of banana cream pudding that a friend brought over. I hate to admit it, but the banana cream was a perfect end to a pot of super-spicy chili. I ended the evening grinning happily, not at all angry at Manning for his fumbles and bad passes. In fact, I would actually recommend that novice party-throwers cook for a sporting event… people are much less interested in the food than they are the television, so if something goes wrong with your potato skins, you' ll probably be forgiven. I served up a lot of side dishes with dinner, but the biggest hits were definitely potato skins and chili—until Molly' s Magnolia-bakery inspired dessert. I' d never made chili before, but a recipe for spicy chili from the Food Network helped me get started. I ended up adding 5x as much chipotle pepper than the recipe recommended along with a mess of other spices. I reduced the chili for hours and hours and let it sit overnight before serving. I put some smoked bacon bits alongside the pot as well as sour cream, cheddar cheese, and sliced onion. I forgot the corn chips. But at least I didn' t mess up the evening like Eli. To come, a post-game report on: potato skins, green beans almandine, Boston Bibb salad with pumpkin seeds and cider dressing, white bean dip, caramelized squash and banana cream pudding. Beats the heck out of knee surgery!

PS: If you are an NFL luddite like me, this football guide can really help. It’s not too late.

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