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Vikings Vittles - A Broncos Tailgate Theme

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Another week another game. Another Tailgate, another Broncos Food theme. But before we get to the meat and potatoes, I would like to share a bit of info for the Bronco fans who will be attending the game this week.

If you are going to visit the Metrodome this Sunday when the Denver Broncos play the Minnesota Vikings and are looking to do some Tailgating, there are some things you should know. There is a designated Tailgating area set aside at Mall of America Field and a map is provided so you can navigate your way to a amicable party spot. The area features restrooms, charcoal bins, trash cans and even visits from the Minnesota Vikings cheerleaders. Talk about inviting. They even sell Regular season Tailgating Passes. Any further notes questions or suggestions can likely be found through this Tailgating club dedicated for an event at the Metrodome.

Even visiting Bronco fans should find a welcome Tailgate party at the Metrodome. Tailgating transcends just about every team rivalry and is more a celebratory statement and a way to prepare for a game. One Viking Tailgate site goes as far as to call Tailgaters Berserkers.

The Berserkers believe that you can tailgate with anyone (except maybe Lambeau Field Packer fans, who refuse to acccept that there are NFL teams with loyal fans who might actually like to visit their house without animosity) as long as you respect their loyalty and are willing to share space in the same parking lot. We always try to be good ambassadors for Vikings fans throughout the nation, and take our "Tailgating Attitude" all over the country.

We love our homefield tailgate and will be more than happy to share our "turf" with NFL fans who share the same tailgating philosophy. Through our experiences we collected many tips to tailgating and stories to share. This is the section of the web page where you can read about our experience.

Here is another informative site where you can get tips and a checklist for your personal Party plan.

With the forecast of Snow and temperatures between 28-34 degrees, you're not going to go with the traditional Minnesotan fare such as Goulash, Casseroles and Lutefisk while sipping SKOL Vodka and Schnapps and trying to keep warm. Brats work well for a northern Tailgate, because they're fast and easy. They go down quick before getting a chance to cool off. but this ain't Green Bay. Face it, it's December and you are near the border of the Great White North. Tailgating on a glacier isn't impossible, but it isn't for the faint of heart either.

Okay, now lets fire up the grill and get to the vittles. My offerings this week should allow you to keep your body temperature stable while enjoying a tasty repast and talking smack with the opposing fans (all in fun naturally).

From the kitchen of a gal by the name of Charlotte Bakery, comes a hand warming concoction that will kick start your Tailgate. This is an easy dish that will take up a couple hours of your time and yields 6 servings.

Victory Formation Empanadas

For the Fillings:
  • 1 1/2 pounds beef blade roast, cut into 4 pieces, trimmed
  • 4 Bay leaves
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 medium onion, diced
  • 1/4 green bell pepper, diced (*Note: You can substitute a hotter pepper here)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 shallot, diced
  • 1 scallion, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 2 teaspoons Spanish seasoning blend (found in the spice aisle)
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • Freshly ground pepper
For the Dough:
  • 3 Tablespoons sugar
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons vegetable oil, plus more for greasing and frying
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 Tablespoon salt
  • 3 1/2 cups precooked cornmeal
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
For the Sauce:
  • 1 1/4 cups cilantro (leaves and stems)
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium avocado, halved, seeded and peeled
  • 1/4 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 scallion, chopped
  • 4 teaspoons white vinegar
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
Make the filling: Place the beef, bay leaves, 1 Tablespoon salt and water to cover in a saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce to a simmer, cover and cook until the meat is almost falling apart, about 1 hour 30 minutes. Transfer the meat to a bowl and shred with a fork; cool. Reserve the broth.

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion, bell pepper, garlic and shallot; cook until the onion is translucent, about 3 minutes. Stir in the scallion, paprika, Spanish seasonings, oregano, cumin and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Add the beef and 1 cup of the reserved broth and cook over medium heat until thick, about 10 minutes. Season with salt.

Make the dough: Mix 3 1/2 cups hot water, the sugar, vegetable oil, butter and salt in a medium bowl until the butter melts. Stir in the cornmeal and flour until a soft dough forms, then knead on a clean surface until the dough comes together. Shape into 12 balls, using about 1/2 cup dough for each.

One at a time, sprinkle each dough ball with water, place between two pieces of lightly oiled heavy-duty plastic wrap (a cut resealable bag works well) and roll into a 7-inch circle. Remove the top sheet of plastic and place 2 to 3 tablespoons filling in the center of the dough. Use the bottom piece of plastic to fold the dough in half over the filling and press to seal. Trim into a half-moon shape with a knife or press down with the round edge of a bowl. Remove the plastic and place the empanada on a parchment-lined baking sheet.

Heat 1 inch of vegetable oil in a large skillet until a deep-fry thermometer registers 365 degrees F. Fry the empanadas in batches until golden, about 4 minutes per side. Transfer to a paper-towel-lined baking sheet to drain. At this point, if your empanadas are made the day before, wrap them in aluminum foil to re heat at the game. If you are making this at the game, keep them warm as you prepare the sauce to accompany them.

For the sauce: Combine the cilantro, olive oil, avocado, bell pepper, scallion, vinegar and garlic in a blender. Add 1 teaspoon salt and 2 teaspoons pepper and puree until smooth. Thin out the sauce with up to 1/4 cup water and serve with the empanadas.

What's that, you don't have a blender for your Tailgate? Well you could get a manual one or you could get a gas powered blender. They even have an industrial model that can make you extremely popular. but if you have a cordless drill and a smaller Tailgating budget, this little gadget will do the trick.

Here's something that may be a little too messy for a Tailgate, but perfect for a Patio party on game day courtesy of Food Network Magazine. The prep time is 20 minutes and cooking time is 1 hr 20 minutes and this recipe makes four.

Sausage and Peppers Potato Skins

Pierce 4 large russet potatoes with a fork. Bake directly on the oven rack at 350 degrees until tender, about 1 hour. Let cool, then quarter lengthwise and scoop out the flesh, leaving a 1/4-inch shell. Brush both sides with melted butter and season with salt and pepper. Bake, skin-side up, at 450 degrees until crisp, about 20 minutes. Add your favorite team toppings. (For cheesy skins, flip the baked shells over before topping, sprinkle with 1 cup grated cheddar cheese and bake an extra 5 minutes.)

The toppings I chose for this week: Sauteed onions, green peppers, Italian sausage and fresh mozzarella

Slice the sausage if you are leaving them in their casings or break up the meat if you remove the casings and brown in a skillet. Chop the Onions, Peppers while the sausage is browning. When the sausage is cooked, remove to a paper towel lined tray to drain. Drain most of the oil from the skillet and saute the onions and peppers until translucent.

Assemble the Potato skins (on the baking sheet) using the toppings and smother with cheese. Set the oven to broil and toast the skins until the cheese melts, 5-7 minutes.

You can always change the toppings to fit all 32 NFL teams. .

And how about some dessert. Here is a recipe I found from Paula Deen. 45 minutes and you can feed a crowd of 10-15 people. Also, this can be a regular in your Bronco game day Food feasts.

Orange Brownies

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons pure orange extract
  • 1 teaspoon grated orange zest
  • 1 recipe Orange Cream Cheese Frosting, recipe follows

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 13 X 9 X 2-inch pan.

Orange Brownies:
Stir together flour, granulated sugar, and salt in a bowl. Add butter, eggs, orange extract, and orange zest. Using a handheld electric mixer, beat until well blended. Pour batter into prepared pan and bake for 30 minutes, or until light golden brown and set. Remove from oven, allow to cool and pierce entire cake with a fork. Spread the Orange Cream Cheese Frosting over completely cooled brownies. Cut into squares.

Orange Cream Cheese Frosting:
  • 1 (8-oz.) package cream cheese, softened
  • 4 Tablespoons softened butter
  • 1 (1-lb.) box confectioners' sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons orange zest
  • 2 Tablespoons orange juice
In a large mixing bowl, whip the butter and cream cheese together with a hand-held electric mixer. Gradually beat in the confectioners' sugar until it is all combined and smooth. Beat in the orange zest and juice. Spread over brownies. This will take about 10 minutes. Just about enough time to let the Brownies cool.

That's what's on the menu this week. Have a great time and enjoy the game. Until then Good Eats and...

Go Broncos!