Photo by Marialisa Calta
Green chili — a Denver obsession — can help set the stage for your Super Bowl party.
As we gather around the electronic hearth to tune into National Beer Commercial Appreciation Day (aka the Super Bowl), many of us enjoy a communal meal almost as iconic as the Thanksgiving feast: chips and dip, salsa, wings, pizza and subs.
Although each gathering’s menu might vary, we are united in the things we are NOT eating: basically, anything that might be considered healthy. The Huffington Post recently named “11 Foods That Don’t Belong Anywhere Near a Super Bowl Party,” including kale chips, quinoa and leafy salads.
But there’s no need to be boring. If you’re a Broncos fan, offer spicy Denver Green Chili. If you are rooting for the Seahawks, give Seattle a nod with a smoked salmon dip. In a bipartisan spirit, offer both.
Green Chili is something of a Colorado obsession, according to Denver Post restaurant reviewer William Porter. It’s a blend of pork, seasonings and green chiles that is eaten as is, or used to smother omelets, burritos, enchiladas and the like. “It reflects the influence of our large Latino community,” Porter said during a recent phone interview. “And it’s really good.”
According to Porter, true Coloradans use roasted, fresh Hatch chiles -- any one of a number of hot green chile peppers grown in the Hatch Valley of New Mexico. Locals speculate that the minerals in the soil and proximity to the Rio Grande give the peppers their deep flavors. You can order jars online, or use fresh Anaheim chile peppers, or even canned green chiles.
The recipe here comes from Sam’s No. 3, a three-restaurant chain (all called “No. 3”), by way of The Denver Post -- and by way of The Food Network, where it was featured on the “Porktastic” episode of “Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives.” The salmon dip is from The Barefoot Contessa, Ina Garten.
Sam’s No.3 Kickin’ Green Chili
Yield: 5 quarts, or 10 to 15 servings
25 fresh Anaheim or Hatch green chiles, or five (4.5-ounce) cans green chiles
2 to 3 sticks butter, plus 3 tablespoons more for sauteing pork
3 pounds pork, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
2 large white onions, cut into 1/2-inch dice
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 3/4 teaspoons ground black pepper
1 3/4 teaspoons dry mustard powder
2 tablespoons dried oregano
2 teaspoons granulated garlic
6 large tomatoes, diced
2 (14.5-ounce) cans diced tomatoes
3 fresh jalapenos, stemmed, seeded and diced (optional)
8 cups water
1 cup all-purpose flour
Chopped fresh green chiles, scallion tops or cilantro
Warm flour tortillas
If using fresh chiles: Preheat an outdoor grill to high. Place the peppers on the grill and cook, turning so they grill evenly, until the skins blacken and blister. Remove from grill and place in a plastic bag. Seal the bag and let the chiles steam 5 to 10 minutes. Remove the blistered skin, stems and seeds and chop into 1/4-inch pieces.
Heat 3 tablespoons butter in a large pot and add the cubed pork. Cook about 10 minutes, then add the onions and spices. Cook on low heat, stirring occasionally, another 5 to 8 minutes, until onions are softened and pork is cooked through. Add the fresh and canned tomatoes, green chiles and jalapenos (if using). Stir occasionally.
After 5 minutes, add the water. Bring to a low boil, stirring occasionally. Increase the heat and bring to a rolling boil. In a separate pan, melt the butter (lesser amount works fine) and whisk in the flour, stirring until creamy. This is your roux. Slowly add the roux to the chili, stirring constantly, and shut off the heat. Continue to stir so that the roux is evenly distributed.
Let stand 5 minutes and serve in bowls with warm flour tortillas on the side, or as a smothering sauce for eggs, burritos, etc. Garnish with chopped green chiles, scallion tops or cilantro if desired.
Note: This recipe can be halved.
(Recipe slightly adapted from one supplied by William Porter of The Denver Post, via The Food Network, via Sam’s No. 3 restaurants, Denver.)
Smoked Salmon Dip
Yield: 2 1/2 to 3 cups
8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
1/2 cup sour cream
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tablespoon minced fresh dill
1 teaspoon prepared horseradish, drained
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 pound (4 ounces) smoked salmon, minced
Crackers, pita chips or sliced raw vegetables for serving
Beat the cream cheese until smooth (this can be done by hand, or with a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment). Add the sour cream, lemon juice, dill, horseradish, salt and pepper; mix well. Stir in the smoked salmon and mix well. Cover and refrigerate at least one hour, for flavors to blend, before serving.
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