07 January 2015

Dishes with Dee: Host the perfect football party

Well, guys. The best time of year is quickly coming to an end. 
No, I don't mean Christmas.
I mean football season.

No other time is Sunday Funday more appropriate.
No other time is a grown man in face paint allowed.
No other time would you spend a small fortune on a plastic beer and sit outside in the snow for three hours.
Football is fun.

Let's face it though, you guys. Sometimes you think about the idea of going down to the game and you're like "#overit". Especially when you are still trying to pay off student loans and save money, and pay for that monthly membership to that boutique workout studio, and a trip to Spain because WANDERLUST

And on that weekend, I have the perfect solution for you: Chili Party
That's right, y'all. Football's most perfect pairing. (Besides beer. Duh)

So with a month left in the season, I present you a layout for the perfect football party.

First, you'll need friends. If you're worried about this step, take a page from my book. I basically bribe every one of my friends with food, so this party is key for that.

Next, you need recipes. Go pot luck, or do it all yourself. Do what works best for the people you're so close to that you you don't find it odd the exact same people are in 4 group chats together. I chose to do all the cooking, and I went with three very different options.

Then, buy beer. I hosted this little gathering in October, so I staged a pumpkin beer tasting and requested everyone BYOB to supplement. 

Lastly, have everyone over for an afternoon that will definitely give you the Sunday Night Blues.

One of the best parts of this event was that it was for my birthday. En lieu of gifts, I asked everyone to bring some cash and we raised money for the Adore-A-Bull rescue. (If you are looking, adopt one of their amazing dogs!) We played squares and I had jars set up around that my friends could stuff some cash in. We raised almost $150 and I was thrilled!

Miss Grace was so grateful for all of the money people brought for other furbabies.

I decided for the chili, I needed a chicken, a meat, and a healthy option, so I made a Crock Pot White Chicken Chili, Vegetarian Sweet Potato, Black Bean and Quinoa Chili, and Chilindron, which is a Spanish style game stew.

Up first:

Vegetarian Sweet Potato, Black Bean and Quinoa Chili

I make this recipe exactly from Ambitious Kitchen. I mean, I don't make a single change. She already does it perfectly. If you have a crowd that will just lose it over the vegetarian part, add some ground turkey. 

Second in line:

Crock Pot White Chicken Chili

This is an awesome recipe I got from my dear friend Chelsea. Be warned, it is not healthy.
But, big surprise, it was the first one gone.

Here's what ya need:
3-4 medium boneless skinless chicken breasts
2 cans of corn with liquid
2 cans of black beans, drained and rinsed
2 cans of rotel diced tomatoes- chili ready style preferred
1 can of chicken broth
1 jalapeno seeded and diced
1/4 bunch of cilantro chopped (for topping)
2 packets of ranch dressing mix (YES)
1 brick of cream cheese (#YOLO)
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp chili power
salt, pepper

And here's what ya do:
Season the chicken on both sides with salt and pepper and place in the bottom of the crock pot raw.

Then add corn, black beans, tomatoes, chicken broth, jalapeno, ranch dressing packet, cumin and chili powder. Stir well until all ingredients are combined leaving the chicken at the bottom. 

Place cream cheese brick on top, cover and cook on high for 6-8 hours. I find that about 6 1/2-7 hours is the sweet spot.

Remove the chicken to a plate and shred with two forks. Add back to the pot, stir everything together, and serve.



Now, this technically is a stew, but I had some venison in the freezer that I wanted to use, so this seemed like the perfect opportunity. Additionally, an authentic Chilindron doesn't have potato, but I feel like all good stews need some starch so I added one. You may leave it out if you prefer. 

Here's what ya need:
3 pounds of a meat of your choice. I used venison, but you could use literally anything. Rabbit, pheasant, chicken, lamb, beef... I mean, anything.
1 large onion- cut into 1/2 inch wedges
1 potato (sweet or Idaho) peeled and cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1 c. button mushrooms
8-10 cloves of garlic- minced
1/2 c raw bacon- chopped
1 15 oz. jar of roasted red peppers- removed from oil and blotted dry, then chopped (If you want to roast the peppers yourself, use 5 or 6)
1 regular can of crushed tomatoes. (To keep with the smoky flavor, I use fire roasted)
2 1/2 c dry red wine
3 bay leaves
A sprig or two of rosemary (About 1 tbsp)- chopped
1 tbsp fresh thyme- chopped
2 tsp smoked paprika
salt, pepper

And here's what ya do:

Cut meat into 1 inch chunks, salt it and set it aside to rest for about 20 minutes. Usually, this is when I do the rest of my prep.

Heat about a tbsp of olive oil in a large dutch oven over medium heat and brown the meat, agitating frequently. Be sure you don't overcrowd the pot, which can lead to steaming. Take your time and do this in batches. As you go, remove the browned meat to a bowl and set aside. You might need to add more oil to the pot between batches.

Next, add the onions to the pot with a little bit of salt and cook until they begin to sweat. Add a splash of beef stock to the pot and scrape up the brown bits stuck to the bottom. These have awesome flavor!

Once the onions begin to look translucent, add garlic, bacon, potato, and mushrooms. Cook, stirring occasionally until fragrant. 

Then, turn the heat to high and add the wine, bringing it to a boil. You want it to really bubble here, as you're cooking out the alcohol. 

Once the liquid has reduced by half, add tomato, peppers, rosemary, thyme, paprika, salt and pepper. The liquid should be an inch or so from the top of the meat. If your liquid is low, add a little stock.  
Cover and simmer over medium heat until done.

**Note: the cooking time depends on the kind of meat you use. I find that with venison, it takes about 2 hours, but if you're using something lighter, I would check it after about an hour**

I served this with a crusty bread.

This party was great. I mean, you really have to consider yourself lucky if you can spend the entire day with awesome people, eating good food, and watching your team win a football game.

Now, you have the tools you need. Invite your friends over before its too late! 

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