Editor’s note: This is a guest post from Matt Moore.
Game day. No matter the sport, there are certain key elements that remain essential for entertaining: Great Friends + Excellent Food + Cold Beer = Perfection. Of course, having a 60-inch flat screen with surround sound and comfortable seating for all of your guests always helps.
The fall season provides ample opportunity for us to share in this tradition. These days, football isn’t just a weekend sport. Add in a Monday or Thursday night game, and it seems like I can’t turn on the television without catching players battling it out on the gridiron. Basically, right now we’ve got plenty of reasons/excuses to watch sports and hang out with friends. Life is good.
If you want to be the MVP amongst the crowd, you’d better bring your A game in the food department. I know where your thoughts are headed – game day should be about enjoying the game with friends. Who really wants to spend all of their time in the kitchen? You don’t. Me neither.
Be forewarned: serving chips and salsa, frozen pizza, and TGI Friday’s frozen appetizers won’t score you enough points to win in overtime. With that said, I don’t want to come off sounding like a food snob. I understand that certain foods should and will always be game day favorites: wings, pizza, hamburgers, brats, etc. So relax; I’m not here to break tradition. Instead, I’d like to offer up one of my favorite foods for game day . . . soup. Yes, you heard me.
Why soup? I’m glad you asked. First things first – it’s cold outside. There’s nothing like a hearty soup served with hot crusty bread to fight back the chill of autumn. Second – you want to watch the game. All of these recipes can be prepared well in advance of kickoff, allowing you to focus your attention on the game while guests help themselves to your masterpiece. Third – keep it simple. One pot, a solid knife, a can opener, and a cutting board are all you will need to tackle (no pun intended) these recipes. Last – it’s what the players eat – or at least Donovan McNabb gets paid to do so.
If you still aren’t sold on the idea, I’ve put together five different recipes for outstanding soups for men that span our great nation: a spicy chili from the Southwest, a satisfying clam chowder from the Northeast, a fine seafood Cioppino from the West Coast, a rich beer cheese soup from the Midwest, and finally a hearty gumbo from my neck of the woods – the Deep South. So, no matter where you are, I’ve got you covered.
Keep in mind I do realize the sensitivity of such an endeavor. Regional specialties, as described above, tend to have very loyal purists and enthusiasts. In that sense, soup for men can be a lot like BBQ. Ask ten people on the proper way to smoke a pork shoulder, and you are very likely to get ten different – and fiercely debated – responses. In other words, everyone has their own version or thoughts on the ‘proper’ way to create these classics. So, if you have a different way of doing things, or perhaps even a signature recipe, feel free to share in the comments below.
Oh and – Go Titans!
Chili-An all American classic. Omit the ground beef/buffalo and add in a few extra cans of your favorite beans for a vegan friendly dish. Pair with a Santa Fe Brewing Co. Pale Ale or a Yazoo Dos Perros Amber.
1/4 Cup Canola Oil
1 Onion, finely diced
2 Cloves Garlic, minced
2 Jalapeno Peppers, seeded and diced
1.5 lbs 80/20 Ground Beef/Buffalo
2 Tablespoons Chili Powder
1 Tablespoon Cumin Powder
1 Tablespoon Kosher Salt
1/2 Tablespoon Black Pepper
1 Cup Dark Beer
1 28 oz Can Tomato Puree
1 28 oz Can Petite Diced Tomatoes
1 14 oz Can Black Beans
1 14 oz Can Kidney Beans
Shredded White Cheddar Cheese (topping)
Sour Cream (topping)
Sliced Green Onion Tops (topping)
Preheat a Dutch oven over medium heat; add oil. Next add onions and saute for 8 – 10 minutes, or until tender. Add garlic and jalapeno peppers and saute until just tender, about 2 – 3 minutes. Add ground meat and seasonings and cook until meat is just browned through, about 4 – 5 minutes, stirring on occasion. Deglaze the pot by adding the beer, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan using a spoon. Finally, add the remaining ingredients, reduce heat to medium low, and simmer partially covered for 30 – 45 minutes. Remove from heat and serve with desired toppings.
New England Clam Chowder – a rich and satisfying dish, this soup is best served with fresh shucked clams. If you don’t have access to fresh clams, or if you are looking to save time and a few bucks, go ahead and purchase canned clams. Substitute the clams with fresh medium sized shrimp if you want a different option. Pair with a Sam Adams Boston Lager.
1 Stick Butter
½ Cup Flour
1 Large Onion, finely diced
5 Carrots, finely diced
4 Stalks Celery, finely diced
6 Large Russet Potatoes, small dice
1 Teaspoon Kosher Salt
1 Teaspoon Fresh Cracked Pepper
½ Teaspoon Dried Thyme
4 Cups Clam Juice
2 Cups Whole Milk
2 – 3 Cups Chowder Clams, shucked
Melt butter in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add flour and whisk constantly for 2 – 3 minutes to create a light roux. Next, add onion, carrots, celery, and potatoes; sauté until tender, about 10 minutes. Add seasonings, followed by the clam juice; stir and bring mixture to a gentle boil. Reduce heat and simmer uncovered until vegetables are tender and cooked through, about 25 minutes. Next, add the milk and clams, allowing the clams to gently cook for a few minutes. Remove from heat, taste, adjust seasoning if necessary, and serve.
Cioppino – a dish created by Italian immigrants in the bay area of San Francisco. Rumor has it, at the end of a long day, the fishermen would return to the docks and be asked to ‘chip in eh’ some of the day’s catch for a quick meal. In other words, there are no rules on the exact type of seafood used in this dish. Simply use what’s fresh and on hand. Pair with an Anchor Steam beer.
4 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 Large Yellow Onion
Fresh Cracked Pepper
4 Cloves Garlic, minced
¼ Teaspoon Red Pepper Flakes
¼ Cup Tomato Paste
1 Bottle Anchor Steam Beer or 1 ½ Cups Dry White Wine
1 Large 28 oz Can San Marzano Whole Peeled Tomatoes, broken apart by hand with juices reserved
4 Cups Seafood Stock
2 Bay Leaves
1 lb Littleneck Clams, scrubbed
1 lb Mussels, scrubbed and debearded
1 lb Large Fresh Shrimp, peeled and deveined with tail on
1 lb Halibut or Salmon Filets, cut into thick chunks
Parsley, chopped for garnish
Add olive oil to a Dutch oven over medium heat. When oil begins to shimmer, add onions, salt, and pepper; sauté, stirring on occasion for 10 – 12 minutes, or until onions are translucent and tender. Add garlic and red pepper flakes and sauté for another 2 minutes. Next, add tomato paste, mixing well to combine with the onions. Deglaze the pan by adding either the beer or wine, scraping up any of the browned bits from the bottom of the pan using a wooden spoon. Add the tomatoes and their juice, seafood stock, and the bay leaves; cover and reduce heat to medium low, simmer for 30 minutes. Next, add clams and mussels to the pot and cook covered for 5 minutes. When clams and mussels have just opened (discard any that do not open), add the fish and shrimp, cover and cook until both are just firm, about 5 more minutes. Remove from heat and serve in large bowls, ensuring an even distribution of seafood and broth. Garnish with parsley and serve.
Beer Cheese Soup – a special thanks to the great state of Wisconsin for this incredible creation. Beer + Cheese – It just doesn’t get any better. Pair with a New Glarus Brewing Co. Spotted Cow Ale.
1/3 Cup Butter
1/3 Cup Flour
1 ½ Cups Carrots, finely diced
1 ½ Cups Onion, finely diced
1 ½ Cups Celery, finely diced
2 Cloves Garlic, minced
Fresh Cracked Pepper
2 Cups Beer
3 Cups Chicken Broth
4 Cups Whole Milk
6 Cups Sharp Wisconsin Cheddar Cheese, grated
1 Tablespoon Dijon Mustard
1 Teaspoon Worcestershire Sauce
Crumbled Bacon (garnish)
Melt butter in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add flour and whisk constantly for 4 – 5 minutes to create a light roux, about the color of a dull penny. Next, add carrots, onion, and celery; sauté until tender, about 7 – 9 minutes. Add garlic, a few dashes of Tabasco, and season with kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper. Slowly add the beer and chicken broth, stir and bring mixture to a slow boil. Add milk, and return to a slow simmer, stirring often. Reduce heat to low; fold in the cheese, mustard, and Worcestershire. Stir until all of the cheese is completely melted – soup should be rich and creamy. Serve.
Seafood Gumbo – a classic dish from the bayou regions of Louisiana. In these parts, every family has their own version. Making a great gumbo starts with creating a dark roux. Yes, you need to constantly stir the roux. If it burns . . . start over. Pair with Abita Amber Ale.
1 lb Andouille Sausage, cut crosswise into ¼ inch thick slices
3 Cups Okra, cut into ½ inch slices
½ Cup Vegetable Oil/Butter/Shortening
½ Cup Flour
1 Large Onion, finely diced
1 Large Bell Pepper, finely diced
2 Celery Stalks, finely diced
1 Tablespoon Creole Seasoning
1 14.5 oz Can Petite Diced Tomatoes
8 Cups Seafood Stock/Chicken Broth
1 lb Lump Crab Meat
1 lb Medium Shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 lb Crawfish Tail Meat
Hot Cooked Rice
Preheat a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add sausage and cook until browned; remove and set aside on a plate. Next, add okra and sauté until just tender, about 3 – 4 minutes; remove and set aside on a plate. Combine oil and flour, stirring constantly, to make a dark brown roux, about the color of chocolate; 30 – 35 minutes. Add the onions, peppers, celery, and seasoning; sauté until tender, about 8 – 10 minutes. Add tomatoes, followed by the seafood stock and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 30 minutes. Add sausage and okra back into the pot, cover and simmer for 10 – 15 minutes, or until okra is just cooked through. Add the crab meat, shrimp, and crawfish; stir to make sure the seafood is immersed in the liquid. Turn off heat, cover, and allow the seafood to gently cook for 10 – 15 minutes. Shrimp and crawfish tail meat should be firm and bright in color. Serve in bowls topped with white rice and garnished with scallions.