Sunday, Sunday, SUNDAY!
Come Sunday, my boys, my husband, and no doubt an assortment of football fans, will be cozying up to the television at our place, yelling at that poor TV that never hurt anybody.
I love watching football, especially high-pressure games and match ups. Let me rephrase: I love chili and nachos, and since I always make chili and nachos on big games, the law of transference says that I love Sunday football. (I have no idea if that’s right, but I’m going with it.)
Whenever I can make a meal interactive and customizable, I will do it. In this case the whole meal invites involvement from the eaters. We start with a beef jerky tasting: half dozen or more beef jerkys laid out on a tray, labeled so that everyone can see what kind they are eating and pick their favorites. Mix in some turkey jerky or pork jerky varieties, too.
Then we move on to the Top-Your-Own Nachos Bar. Transfer the nachos from the hot baking sheet to a serving platter, so that no one burns himself on the pan. You can use anything from a humble serving board to this mirrored serving platter. Go classic or get loopy with the topping ideas: Bacon! Sliced chorizo! Artichoke Hearts! Pesto! Roasted peppers! Shredded chicken! Hot sauce! Make the nachos in batches so you can keep a fresh platter coming out, but have all of your toppings prepped ahead of time.
And finally, the chili. This year I am making Texas-style chili, which is basically a Texas-style ode to beef (save those beans for another time). Chili is best made one, two or three days ahead of time, and reheated, so that’s good news for the cook. (How attractive is this Dutch oven? Right from the stove to the serving table.) Rice can be made ahead and reheated as well; and you may want to serve a few scoops of the chili alongside the nachos as a topping option—few people I know mind seeing chili twice in one meal. Once again, the toppings are where the fun is, even if you stick to the traditional and offer sour cream, avocados, scallions, shredded cheese, and tomatoes. Lay out the bowls (I have fallen hard for these rustic ivory soup crocks with handles), utensils, napkins, and the chili, right in the pot, and let everyone help themselves. Serve up a salad to go with the chili. Boom.
This is not a dainty meal, but football is not a dainty game. I will absolutely be making some poached salmon or endive salad or something else Miss Patmore would approve of next Sunday, when we return to our regular Downton Abbey watching, but this Sunday, bring on the meat, shredded cheese, and sour cream.