It’s only days before the big game and I am not sure who to root for nor what I am serving. For me the decision of which team or town I like best is not the only issue. I have to decide if I want dairy or meat. Hot wings or gooey cheese? So many decisions and so much delicious food! I love how football’s biggest game day comes just in the middle of deepest, darkest winter. It is almost like, “Will this winter ever end?” and then a bright spot appears; a day of noshing, friends and BEER! I am offering my favorite food choices to you. They are not meant to go together but if you are like me and want to leave it to the last minute, here are a few ideas. Both are delicious and have their merits. If you’re not sure which to choose, make the decision like the teams will on game day and toss a coin.
This versatile dish is a quick go-to dish for a lazy Sunday afternoon, game day or elegant appetizer. The slow cooker is the perfect tool for melting cheese at exactly the right temperature and rate. Slow and easy ensures that the cheese will be creamy and smooth. I like to serve the fondue with platters piled with toasted pita, bagel chips, cooked new potatoes, crunchy vegetables crudités and cut up apples and pears. My version of the classic Swiss dish is zesty and sharp with the addition of beer and hot sauce. The beer may be substituted with apple juice if desired.
1 garlic clove, peeled and cut in half
¾ cup of dark beer (I like to use Guinness or Aventinus) or apple juice
2 cups shredded Swiss Cheese
1 cup shredded Sharp White Cheddar cheese
¼ cup Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon cornstarch
2 teaspoons harissa or hot sauce
1. Rub the inside of the slow cooker with the cut clove of garlic. Discard the garlic.
2. Pour the beer, if using, into the insert for the slow cooker.
3. Place the cheeses into a large bowl. Toss the cheeses with the cornstarch, taking care to coat all of the cheeses with the cornstarch.
4. Add the cheeses to the insert for the slow cooker. Cover and cook on LOW for 1 hour.
5. Stir the cheeses; add the harissa and the ground black pepper. Cover and continue cooking for an additional 15 minutes.
6. To serve the fondue; remove the cover and keep the slow cooker on low. Serve with your favorite hearty breads, pita, bagel chips, vegetable crudités, apple and pear slices.
This is one of those really tasty, roll-up-your-sleeves kinds of dishes. Once you start eating them, you can’t stop. They are spicy and sweet and addictive. Great for game day or anytime you need good party grub.
6 appetizer servings
24 chicken wing drums*
3 T all-purpose rub
2 T harissa
2 T rice vinegar
1 T neutral oil
3 T honey
Salt and pepper
1. Rinse and pat dry the chicken wings thoroughly. Generously rub the all-purpose rub on the wings and set aside.
2. Place a small saucepan over medium heat and add the harissa, vinegar oil and honey. Whisk together and salt and pepper to taste. Remove from the heat and set aside.
3. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper. Space the wings out on the pan. Place under broiler and broil for 3 minutes per side until browned and crisp.
4. Toss the wings with half of the sauce and place in the insert of the slow cooker. Cover and cook on LOW 4-5 hours or HIGH for 2 hours.
5. Serve with remaining sauce as a dipping sauce or herbed aioli
*Chicken wings actually come in three sections; the tip, the flat and the drum. I have very rarely seen a kosher wing with the tip on it. The flats and drums can be purchased separately or still joined together. I use both but prefer the drums for this recipe as they resembles a drumstick with a handy little handle that keeps your fingers from getting too messy. The drums also have more meat on them. I generally save the flats for my chicken stock in a bag in the freezer.