Souper Bowl 2020: Try these one-bowl wonders for game days

Posted 1/9/20

Super Bowl LIV is just a few weeks away, on Feb. 2. But there are plenty of opportunities to watch playoff games until then. And I, for one, prefer to catch up on my favorite teams with something savory and delicious -- a one-dish dining solution. I am talking about a hearty, stand-up-your-spoon, thick-enough-to-satisfy, fill-up-again-at-halftime bowl of soup.

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Souper Bowl 2020: Try these one-bowl wonders for game days

Posted

ed. note: This artcle originally ran January 9, 2020.

The holidays are behind us. We have rung in a new decade. Time to slow down, assess our resolutions and welcome a postholiday season. Football playoff season, that is.

Super Bowl LIV is just a few weeks away, on Feb. 2. But there are plenty of opportunities to watch playoff games until then. And I, for one, prefer to catch up on my favorite teams with something savory and delicious -- a one-dish dining solution. I am talking about a hearty, stand-up-your-spoon, thick-enough-to-satisfy, fill-up-again-at-halftime bowl of soup.

Sometimes a host is so busy attending to the guests that he never gets to see the game. But a better idea, since every game from now until Super Bowl can be a get-together, is to make something that can be cooked ahead and gently heated up while you watch.

Whether you're watching the playoffs with just your spouse or you've got a whole group of family and friends over to root for their favorite team, soup is an effortless main course. Soup will keep warm as visitors drift in, and is a manageable dish to stretch. You might choose the convenience of serving it in large mugs instead of bowls for ease of handling. Mug or bowl, you can count on having a run on seconds as your teams confer during halftime.

Of course, not all your favorite teams are playing. Having grown up in Chicago, I always have a warm place in my heart for the Bears. One of the great players and later coaches in Bears history was undoubtedly Mike Ditka. Even "Saturday Night Live" ran a skit about Bears fans to whom Ditka was a god. Later in life, this athletic icon opened a wonderful steakhouse in Chicago (now a chain). Ditka's became an instant hit. So, even though the Bears are not in contention, in Mike Ditka's honor, I offer Steakhouse Soup. Grilled steak, barley, onions and leeks contribute to an irresistible masterpiece of flavor. Serve with hunks of peasant bread and butter.

As far as contending teams are concerned, though, three of my other favorites are still in the playoffs -- the San Francisco 49ers, the Green Bay Packers and the Houston Texans.

I lived in San Francisco during Joe Montana's extraordinary reign as "the" unstoppable quarterback. To me, nothing says 49ers like a good San Francisco seafood stew. The classic recipes are a creative combination of the catch of the day -- bay scallops, Dungeness crab, shrimp and fresh fish. I offer a simplified version using salmon, shrimp and mussels. Rich with garlic and white wine, seafood stew encompasses the spirit of Fisherman's Wharf. Serve with a thick grilled slice of sourdough bread to sop up every tasty bit of the sauce.

While growing up in Chicago, one of the Bears biggest rivals was the Green Bay Packers. Of course, it is hard not to admire their die-hard "Cheesehead" fans who brave every kind of weather to support their team. So whether or not you are a Cheesehead, warm up with this Cheddar Bacon Potato Soup. With chunks of diced potato, crispy bacon and cheddar cheese, it is a creamy and robust dish that tastes like a loaded baked potato. Garnish with steamed broccoli florets for a dish that is as attractive as it is gratifying. Serve with garlic bread on the side.

And finally, there are those for whom game day means chili and and nothing else. And by coincidence, one of my nephews happens to live in Houston. So what could be better than some Texas Spicy Beef Chili (with no beans, of course, because this is the way they make it in Texas)?

Although there are a lot of ingredients, this recipe is not really hard to make. I've included a shortcut. Rather than tediously browning the beef chunks, grill the whole piece before cutting it up. Then add it to your slow cooker. This chili loves company: be sure to have lots of fixings available -- lettuce, tomatoes, onions, cilantro, cheese, sour cream and anything else you like -- to add to your bowl. And warm up a stack of flour tortillas for this one.

Just be sure to provide plenty of napkins when serving these Souper Bowls. And, oh, yes. Go team!

 

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