The Denver Broncos are playing the New England Patriots this weekend. I wanted to have something on the menu to represent the New England region and maybe the Boston area in particular, because that is where the Patriots play. Boston is famous for it's baked beans of course. Hot roast beef sandwiches served with a sweet barbecue sauce on an onion roll are popular as well as kielbasa and pierogi. Apples, potatoes, maple syrup, cranberries and wild blueberries abound in the local cuisine. I won't fail to mention the Cod, Lobster and Chowder (Lobstah and Chowdah as the locals say) that are also part of the culinary food group of a coastal city. Now since Sunday's matchup is in Denver, the menu will have more to do with the Orange and Blue, but I thought I would select something to symbolize the Patriots part in this game. The baked beans weren't going to make the cut, since it would be difficult to bake on the grill. Yankee Pot Roast would take to long at a Tailgate and the average Bronco fan probably would not choose a parking lot as an ideal location for a Lobster Boil. Besides the weather is getting cooler, we need some warm comfort food to help us enjoy the game.
We will kickoff with a hearty potato soup recipe made even more scrumptious by adding bacon and cheese. Once the knife work is done, this chowder recipe comes together quickly. This version makes 6 servings and takes about a half an hour for the play to develop after the prep work is complete.
Bacon and Potato Chowder
- 8 slices bacon
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- 1/2 onion, chopped
- 1 quart chicken broth
- 4 cups cubed potatoes
- 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
- Salt and black pepper to taste
- sour cream, as needed (optional)
- Chives for garnish (optional)
Render the bacon in a soup pan until crisp. Remove to a paper plate or paper towel lined plate. Discard the bacon fat and add the olive oil to the pan. Sauté the onion on medium-low until it is translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the chicken broth, potatoes, and cayenne. Bring to a simmer, cover, and cook until potatoes and vegetables are tender, about 15 minutes. Turn off heat and stir in cheese, until melted. Dice bacon and add to soup. Seasoning with salt, and serve hot with a dollop of sour cream or butter, if desired. Garnish with chopped chive and serve.
If that isn't enough to quell the New England theme, you can always serve a round of Cape Cod cocktails (Vodka and cranberry juice).
For the next play, it is time to represent the Home team. Something Orange to speak for the Broncos Defense, which is respectably building towards it's moniker from the 70's. This concoction also makes 6 servings and will take roughly 25 minutes to whip up.
Chicken Grand Marnier
- 3/4 cup Grand Marnier
- 1-1/4 cups apricot jam
- 3/4 cup distilled white vinegar
- 4-1/2 Tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
- 3 Tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 3 Tablespoon honey
- 1 Tablespoon dried red pepper flakes
- 6 boneless chicken breasts
- olive oil
The day before: Remove the skin from chicken breasts. In a saucepan, combine the Grand Marnier, jam, vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, mustard, honey, and red pepper flakes. Simmer over medium-low heat until the honey and jam are melted. Remove from the heat and let cool to room temperature. Place the chicken breasts in a single layer in a shallow glass baking dish. Pour on the marinade and refrigerate, covered with plastic wrap, for at least 4 hours or overnight.
Game day: Before grilling, let the chicken stand at room temperature for half an hour (while you preheat the grill). Prepare a charcoal fire. When the coals are glowing hot with a layer of white ash, grill the chicken breasts 6 to 8 inches from the heat. Baste the chicken with oil and marinade during grilling. 5. Cook for 20 minutes, turning every 5 minutes. Slice and serve hot or at room temperature.
If you want to call an audible, or are just too chicken to grill poultry, I have an option read for you along the same lines. Send in the 3 Receiver substitution package and go long.
Citrus Grilled Steak
- 8 oz. Orange Juice concentrate thawed (and Crushed)
- 1/2 cup A-1 Steak Sauce
- 1/4 cup dry sherry
- 1 clove garlic -- minced
- 3 beef club or strip steaks (8-oz) -- about 1-inch thick
1. In a small bowl, combine orange juice concentrate, steak sauce, sherry and garlic. Place steaks in glass dish; coat with 1/2 cup Orange Juice mixture. Cover; chill 1 hour, turning occasionally.
2. In a small saucepan, over medium heat, heat remaining orange juice mixture; keep warm.
3. Remove steaks from marinade. Grill over medium heat for 4 minutes on each side or until done, turning once.
4. Serve steaks with reserved warm orange sauce.
Now for something Blue to complete the theme. On this play, the hot read is Pork, because well, Pork Fat Rules. Besides what's a Football Tailgate theme without Pigskin?
This recipe forms a pocket with a blitz of Blue Cheese and is a favorite of mine.
Blue Cheese Stuffed Pork Chops
- 4 boneless pork center loin chops -- 1 1/2 inches thick
- 1/2 cup Carrot -- Shredded
- 1/4 cup Pecans -- Chopped
- 1/4 cup Cheese, Blue -- crumbled
- 1 each Onions, Green -- sliced
- 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1/4 cup Yogurt, Plain\
- 4 teaspoons Flour, All-purpose
- 3/4 cup Milk
- 1/2 teaspoon Instant chicken bouillon
- 1 teaspoon seasoned salt and black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
In a small bowl, combine carrot, pecans, blue cheese, green onion and Worcestershire sauce for stuffing. Make a pocket in each chop by cutting a horizontal slit into the chop from the fat side. Spoon about 1/4 of the stuffing into each pocket. Fasten with wooden toothpicks if needed. Grill over medium-high heat 7-8 minutes per side, turning once. In a small sauce pan, mix yogurt and flour. Add milk, chicken bouillon, salt, pepper and garlic powder. Cook and stir until the mixture thickens and is bubbly. Cook and continue stirring for 2 more minutes. To serve, remove the toothpicks, and serve sauce over chops.
Now doesn't that make you hungry? Well don't just sit there salivating, get the Grill stoked up and your Gameday Tailgate going!
Until next week, good eats and...