Are you excited about the big game on Sunday? Some team is playing some other team in the Super Bowl and once again, my Cleveland Browns won’t be competing in the final contest of the season. And we Browns fans are really, really sorry that the rabid, annoying Steelers fans here in northeast Ohio also suffered the agony of defeat again this year, as “Big Ben” Roethlisberger failed to lead his team to the championship game. Really, we’re sorry.
But no worries. At our house, after choosing a team to root against (using a complicated formula involving Art Modell, the Baltimore Ravens, Bill Belichick, Bernie Kosar and LeBron James), we focus on planning the party.
We don’t get especially fussy about our Super Bowl party; we enjoy a casual time with friends and family. Everyone brings a dish to share and kids are welcomed, as we look forward to the commercials and wonder if the halftime act will remain fully clothed. The hardcore football enthusiasts head down to the man cave to shoot pool and shout at the TV while the more social guests hang out upstairs, occasionally interrupting their conversations to watch the commercials.
The only rule for our Super Bowl party: There must be chili.
If you’re looking for a crowd-pleaser for your own Super Bowl party this Sunday, you might want to try my favorite recipe. It’s won a church chili cook-off or two and there’s rarely any left in the 18-quart pot after the party.
I must warn you that this chili packs some serious heat. If you don’t like spicy foods, you’ll want to make some adjustments.
Paula’s Lightning Chili
2 cups chopped onion
1 lb. ground sweet Italian sausage
2 lb. ground beef (80% lean)
3 cups fresh tomatoes, diced (or 3 cans prepared diced tomatoes)
3 cans chili beans (I use Bush’s medium)
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1 Tbsp. chili powder
1 Tbsp. cayenne pepper
1 Tbsp. red pepper flakes
1 Tbsp. cumin
1/2 Tbsp. curry powder
Brown the ground sausage and ground beef with the onions in a skillet until no pink remains. Drain fat. In a large pot or Dutch oven combine meat and onions with tomatoes, chili beans, salt and pepper. Simmer for 30-45 minutes to allow flavors to blend. Add the remaining spices during the last ten minutes of cooking. (For a milder spice, add the spices at the beginning of the cooking time).
Here are some suggested toppings to serve with your chili:
Warm corn bread
Shredded cheddar cheese
Chopped green onions
Sliced jalapeno peppers