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Peppering the Patriots In The Playoffs - A Broncos Food Theme

Football Fans drink from an ice luge at a tailgate prior to the Texans hosting the Cincinnati Bengals during their 2012 AFC Wild Card Playoff game at Reliant Stadium last week.  (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
Football Fans drink from an ice luge at a tailgate prior to the Texans hosting the Cincinnati Bengals during their 2012 AFC Wild Card Playoff game at Reliant Stadium last week. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
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The Denver Broncos are traveling to Foxborough to Tackle the New England Patriots in the AFC Divisional Playoff on Saturday, but many members of Broncos Country probably won't travel much further than the bathroom, kitchen and couch circuit. But we've all gotta eat right? This week's opponent calls for some creative play calling in the menu. So clean off the grill and lets get cooking.

How do you combat the Patriot Air Attack? You fire Scud Missile Jalapeno Poppers at them. These spicy cheese-filled appetizers are the bomb and will fire up any Football Fest or Tailgate Party. Try washing them down with a cool cocktail. The three-cheese filling is a nice complement for the spicy peppers. You can also use a milder chile, such as Anaheim or Poblano peppers. This recipe yields 16 servings (serving size: 2 pepper halves)

Scud Missile Jalapeno Poppers


  • 1/2 cup (4 oz) Monterrey Jack cheese, grated
  • 1/2 cup (4 oz.) Cheddar cheese, grated
  • 1/2 cup (2 oz.) grated fresh Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 16 jalapeño peppers, halved lengthwise and seeded (about 1 1/2 pounds)
  • Cooking spray


Prepare grill to medium-high heat. Slice peppers in half lengthwise and scoop out seeds and ribbing with a spoon (Leave them in if you have a higher Scoville tolerance). Combine first 4 ingredients in a bowl. Spoon about 2 teaspoons cheese mixture into each pepper half. Place pepper halves, cheese side up, on grill rack coated with cooking spray. Grill peppers 5 minutes or until bottoms of peppers are charred and cheese mixture is lightly browned. Carefully place peppers on a serving platter.

Now being as it is Winter, the bitter cold means it is time to dust off the Soup Recipes. We had Bacon and Potato Chowder in Week 15, so today we will go with Navy Bean Soup to capture Paul Revere's Ride through Boston. It could be coincidence, but the Broncos plan to ride Willis McGahee and Tim Tebow through the Patriot Defense, giving credence to the saying "One if by land, two if by sea."

Navy Bean Soup


  • 1 Lb. navy beans, picked over, rinsed and drained
  • 10 sprigs parsley
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme or rosemary
  • 1 Bay leaf
  • 2 large smoked ham hocks, about 1 1/2 pounds
  • 1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, coarsely chopped
  • 8 cups of cold water
  • 1 medium carrot, coarsely chopped
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper


Place the beans in a large saucepan and cover with cold water by about 2 inches. Bring to a boil and lower the heat to a simmer. Cook for 5 minutes; remove from the heat, cover, and let sit for one hour. Drain and reserve. Tie the parsley, thyme, and bay leaf together with kitchen twine.

In a large soup pot or Dutch oven combine the beans, herb bundle, hocks, onions, and garlic with the water. Bring to a boil, cover, and adjust the heat so the soup cooks at a gentle simmer. Cook until the beans and hock are completely tender, about 1-1/2 hours.

Turn off the heat and remove the hocks. Cool slightly. Remove the meat from the hocks, discarding the bones, fat, and skin. Cut the meat into small cubes. Remove the herb bundle and discard.

Puree about 3 cups of the beans with a some of the liquid in a blender. (For a smoother soup puree all the beans.) Stir the puree and diced meat into the soup. Heat the soup and adjust the seasoning as needed with salt and pepper. Pour into bowls and serve.

Now that we're completely warm, it time for the meat course.

Short Yardage Sliders with Bacon and Horseradish Mayo


  • 3/4 Lb/ ground chuck
  • 3/4 Lb. ground sirloin
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1/4 cup minced onion
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 plus 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 Tablespoons sour cream
  • 3 Tablespoons prepared horseradish
  • 12 dinner roll-sized small brioche buns, split in 1/2 crosswise
  • 2 Tablespoons melted butter for brushing buns
  • 6 slices bacon, cooked crisp, drained, and broken into 2-inch pieces


In a mixing bowl, combine the chuck, sirloin, garlic, onion, 1 teaspoon of the salt, and 1/2 teaspoon of the pepper and mix gently but thoroughly to combine. Using a 2-oz. ice cream scoop, divide the mixture into 12 balls of meat. Using your hands, shape to form small patties about 3 inches wide and 3/8-inch thick. Place on a plate and cover with plastic wrap. Allow to sit, refrigerated, at least 1 hour and up to overnight for flavors to mingle.

In a small bowl whisk together the mayonnaise, sour cream and horseradish and season with the remaining 1/4 teaspoon of salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper. Place in a nonreactive bowl and refrigerate until ready to serve, up to 3 days in advance.

When you are ready to cook the burgers, preheat a grill to high and lightly butter the cut sides of the buns with the melted butter. Wrap the buns in aluminum foil and place on the coolest part of the grill to warm while you grill the burgers.

Grill the burgers about 2 minutes per side for medium. Transfer to the warmed buns and garnish with pieces of the crispy bacon. Spoon a dollop of the horseradish mayonnaise on top of the bacon, then place the top portion of the bun over all. Serve the sliders hot. Makes 4 to 6 servings

And what goes with Meat better than Potatoes? This dish is one of my favorites, whether the spuds are quartered, cubed, julienned or sliced into wedges like we have here. These are so good, you'll leave the ketchup on the shelf.

Crispy Garlic-Rosemary Potatoes


  • 4 lbs. Yukon gold potatoes
  • 8 cloves Garlic, minced
  • 8 Spears of fresh Rosemary, stems removed and coarsely chopped
  • 2 teaspoons Kosher Salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup Olive Oil


Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Peel 4 the potatoes and cut into wedges. Place them in a large Zip-lock bag and add the garlic, Rosemary, kosher salt, pepper and Olive oil. Seal the bag and shake to combine ingredients. When thoroughly mixed, spread wedges on a foil-lined baking sheet and place on the bottom oven rack. Roast for 30 minutes. Turn the potatoes and continue roasting until golden, about 30 minutes. Increase the temperature to 400 degrees F and cook until crisp, 15 more minutes. Season with salt.

Now there have been calls for some quick slants to counteract the rushing hunger of your guests. Well this starter will get you a complete pass from your party goers.

Hot Artichoke-Cheese Dip

  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 green onion, cut into pieces
  • 1/3 cup (1 1/2 oz.) grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, divided
  • 1/3 cup reduced-fat mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup (2 oz.) 1/3-less-fat cream cheese
  • 1 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 12 oz. frozen artichoke hearts, thawed and drained
  • Cooking spray
  • 24 (1/2-oz.) slices baguette, toasted


Preheat the oven to 400°. Place garlic and onion in a food processor; process until finely chopped. Add 1/4 cup of the Parmigiano-Reggiano and next 4 ingredients (through pepper); process until almost smooth. Add artichoke hearts; pulse until artichoke hearts are coarsely chopped. Spoon mixture into a 3-cup gratin dish coated with cooking spray; sprinkle evenly with remaining Parmigiano-Reggiano. Bake at 400° for 15 minutes or until thoroughly heated and bubbly. Serve hot with baguette.

Enjoy the Grub, enjoy the Game and remember. If you can't beat em, eat em. As always, Good Eats and...

Go Broncos!