Here's the Wildcard Weekend TV schedule:
Saturday, Jan. 5
Washington Redskins (9-7) at Seattle Seahawks (10-6)
Qwest Field, 4:30 p.m. ET (NBC)
Jacksonville Jaguars (11-5) at Pittsburgh Steelers (10-6)
Heinz Field, 8 p.m. ET (NBC)
(The lowest-seeded survivor of these games plays the Patriots in Foxboro Saturday night, Jan. 12.)
Sunday, Jan. 6
New York Giants (10-6) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (9-7)
Raymond James Stadium, 1 p.m. ET (FOX)
Tennessee Titans (10-6) at San Diego Chargers (11-5)
Qualcomm Stadium, 4:30 p.m. ET (CBS)
Over at the Seattle P.I., whose hometown Seahawks face the Redskins Saturday, they arranged a chili cookoff: Two recipes go helmet to helmet to see which deserves a spot at the playoffs.
A local sports bar won, and their chili is below. (The other, which included 1/4 lb. of slab bacon, was understandably judged too greasy.)
I've also included the meatless black-bean chili they found. Make it with black soybeans -- Whole Foods has 'em -- and it's low-carb. (Although John Howie's beanless chili might qualify, the sugar in the pineapple juice may be too much for you.) At the link above, you'll also find a recipe for skillet cornbread and one for making your own chili powder.
John Howie's Texas Chili
Makes 1 Gallon
* 1/2 cup canola oil
* 4 pounds white onion, diced
* 4 pounds chuck roast or other beef, diced in 3/4-inch by 1-inch pieces
* 1 pound pork, diced in 3/4-inch by 1-inch pieces
* 3 cups tomato sauce
* 2 1/2 cups pineapple juice
* 1 cup water
* 1/2 cup mild chili powder
* 1 tablespoon ancho chile powder
* 1 1/2 teaspoons chipotle chile powder
* 1/8 teaspoon habanero chile powder
* 1 1/2 tablespoons kosher salt
* 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
* 1 1/2 teaspoons ground basil
* 1 1/2 teaspoons granulated garlic
* 1 1/2 teaspoons sweet paprika
* 1 1/2 teaspoons ground coriander
* 1 1/2 teaspoons black pepper
* 1 1/2 teaspoons cumin
* 5 bay leaves
Place oil in a large stock pot or braising pan, add the beef and onions in small batches and sear until the onions are tender.
Add the remaining ingredients, bring to a simmer, and cook for three hours, stirring frequently. Serve with cheddar cheese, tortilla strips and salsa on top. Howie also serves it over nachos.
(Note: Habanero powder can be difficult to find. You could omit it, but it's easy to make by whirling a dried habanero in a mini-Cuisinart or spice grinder.)
-- Courtesy of John Howie
Quick Black Bean Chili With Goat Cheese
* 1 1/2 tablespoons vegetable oil
* 1 small red onion, chopped
* 1 medium green bell pepper, chopped
* 3 garlic cloves, minced
* 2 teaspoons ground cumin
* 2 teaspoons chili powder
* 1/8 teaspoon hot red pepper
* 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
* 2 15-ounce cans black beans, rinsed and drained
* 4-ounce can mild chopped green chiles, drained
* 1/2 teaspoon salt
* 1/4 cup chopped cilantro (optional)
* 3-6 ounces goat cheese, crumbled or cut into small pieces
In a medium pot, heat oil over medium heat. Add the red onion and green pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, until the onion is soft and translucent, 3-5 minutes. Add the garlic, cumin, chili powder and hot pepper. Cook, stirring constantly, 1 minute to toast the spices.
Stir in the tomatoes, black beans, chiles and salt. Simmer for 15 minutes. Season with additional hot pepper and salt to taste, bearing in mind goat cheese is salty.
To serve, ladle into warm bowls. Sprinkle cilantro and goat cheese on top.
-- From "One-Pot Vegetarian Dishes" by Amy Cotler
The family gathers at my house for Pats games, and I made this winter dish for tonight's game against Baltimore. I'm stilled keyed up after this sloppy squeaker (27-24) of a win, so I'll give you the recipe instead of trying to sleep. Guests asked to take some home, so I guess it really is a winner.
I adapted this from a recipe found widely on the Web for Moroccan Braised Beef. The ingredients are not too different, but I changed it enough that I'll put my version on top, and the original below. (The original called for a cup and a half of raisins -- since I don't like sweet beef, this had to go -- and it doesn't use a crockpot.)
Moroccan Pot Roast
3 Tablespoons olive oil (separately)
2.5 to 4 lbs beef pot roast (chuck or shoulder roast is fine)
3 onions, coarsely chopped
3 garlic cloves, chopped
1 tablespoon garam masala*
1 tablespoon paprika
1 teaspoon ground cumin
half teaspoon turmeric
half teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
1 cup dry red wine
half cup dry sherry
1-2 cups beef or chicken broth (see note)
1 14.5 ounce can of diced tomatoes in juice
Vegetables for stew (store-bought assortment is okay -- a couple of coarsely chopped carrots, parsnips, turnips, one of the onions plus a few small potatoes)
Put your vegetables, including one of the onions and the potatoes, into the bottom of the crockpot.
Put 2 tablespoons of olive oil into a heavy skillet. Whilst the oil is heating up, sprinkle your meat with salt and pepper. When the oil is hot, put your meat into the pot and sauté until brown. This should take about 5 minutes.
Put the meat on top of the vegetables in the crockpot and then put another spoon of olive oil into your pot. Sauté your onions until brown. Then add the garlic, masala, paprika, cumin, turmeric and pepper. Stir this mixture for about a minute or so. Add the wine and sherry and bring to a boil; boil gently until you no longer smell alcohol coming off it. Stir in the tomatoes and juice, then add the broth.
Pour this mixture over the beef in the crockpot, pushing the solids down around the sides of the meat. Cook overnight on low, about 12 hours. Refrigerate until ready to eat, then slim the fat and reheat, uncovered, on low heat to thicken the broth a bit.
Season to taste. (I added salt.) One of my guests really dislikes hot pepper, so I skipped the cayenne, but I think a little would spike the cinnamon/nutmeg nicely. The juices will be thin, because of the crockpot -- I might use less broth next time, although I could at this point cut the pot roast into chunks and call it all "stew."
* You can buy garam masala -- an Indian spice blend that varies widely, even in India -- at many well-stocked spice racks, including Whole Foods. If you want to make your own, here's an easy recipe for about 3 tablespoons of it. (Keep the rest for another recipe such as Indian Butter Chicken I like to mix a tablespoon of garam masala, a couple of tablespoons of garlic powder and enough olive oil to make a thin paste, then rub it on the outside of a whole chicken or turkey before roasting. The aroma is terrific and it makes for crisp, tasty brown skin.) Purists roast the spices, but this will do:
Easy Garam masala:
1 T ground cumin
1 1/2 tsp ground coriander
1 1/2 tsp ground cardamom
1 1/2 tsp ground pepper
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
The original recipe is not too different, but it's sweeter, hotter, with chunks of meat in a thicker gravy, since it's not cooked in a crockpot but in an open pan on top of the stove.
Moroccan Braised Beef
3 Tablespoons olive oil (separately)
2.5lbs beef (cut into quarter inch cubes)
2 cups of onions, chopped 3 garlic cloves
1 tablespoon garam masala (chopped)
1 tablespoon paprika
1 teaspoon ground cumin
half teaspoon turmeric
half teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 cup dry red wine
half cup dry sherry
2 cups beef broth
a 14.5 ounce can of diced tomatoes in juice
1.5 cups gold raisins
Put 2 tablespoons of olive oil into a big pot. Whilst the oil is heating up, sprinkle your meat with salt and pepper. When the oil is hot, put your meat into the pot and sauté until brown. This should take about 5 minutes. Put the meat into a bowl and then put another spoon of olive oil into your pot. Sauté your onions until brown. Then add the garlic, masala, paprika, cumin, turmeric and pepper. Stir this mixture for about a minute or so. Add the wine and sherry and boil until a light glaze. Stir in the tomatoes and juice, broth and raisin. Add the beef to this mixture. Reduce the heat and boil for about an hour uncovered until the mixture is thick, stirring occasionally.
Tired of turkey? Every Patriots game, search engines deliver readers looking for this post on my Subterranean Homepage News blog from last February: Crockpot recipe: Frozen pot roast with Jack Daniel's. But when this search query showed up in my logs on Thanksgiving morning, I had to wonder who had forgotten to buy a turkey.
With the Pats game tonight against Philadelphia at 8:15 (on NBC), you still have time to pull a roast out of the freezer and have something besides turkey to serve your fans.
Here's the entire post, originally blogged Feb. 25, 2007:
It was cold yesterday morning, a perfect Saturday to stay home and read with the homey aromas of pot roast cooking.
Trouble was, the pot roast I'd bought on sale was a fat brick in the freezer, stashed for just such a day. I knew there had to be workarounds. In the tradition of engineers sharing basic cooking tips on the Web, here's how to modify a pot roast recipe.
I searched the Web for recipe frozen pot roast, and struck gold at American Grass Fed Beef, whose owner, Dr. Patricia Whisnant, a veterinarian and mother of six, offers Super Easy Crock Pot Beef Roast Recipe, writing,
...we just throw all the ingredients including the frozen grass fed beef chuck in a crock pot set on low and cook all day (about 8 hours or more). Either way . . . you will have beef so tender it will be falling apart.That was good enough for me. I liked the two cups of water in this recipe -- there would be lots of good juice. Dr. Whisnant used 3/4 liter of burgundy wine in her pot -- 25.3 ounces, more than 3 cups -- but I don't care for purple pot roast, and the only red wine here is about a glassful of leftover Merlot. But I suspect some alcohol is needed for this alchemy.
I do have a bottle of Jack Daniel's. How much?
The Web makes it easy to improvise: Find a similar recipe, scan it for useful enhancements. Search terms: recipe bourbon pot roast.
Joyce's Crockpot Roast with Bourbon says 1/3 cup bourbon. It uses too little water for me -- just 1/4 cup -- and celery, which I don't like hot. I'd stick with Dr. Whisnant's recipe, add garlic and wing it.
I didn't have all the veggies I wanted, but knew I could add them later. They'd hold up better without cooking all day, and there were enough veggies in there at the start to flavor the broth.
10 a.m. I started with,
3 lb frozen beef chuck roast
1 large sliced sweet onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 small carrot, sliced thinly
1 bouillon cube
1 bay leaf, whole
1 tsp dried basil
1 Tbsp Worcestershire Sauce
1/3 cup Jack Daniel's bourbon whiskey
2 cups water
Put the vegetables, the beef, the spices and liquids into a slow cooker, in that order. Turn the crockpot on low and cover. Go away.
3 thin-skinned 3-inch boiling potatoes, cut into roughly 1-inch cubes
1 medium purple-top turnip
1/2 small butternut squash, peeled
1 tsp salt
6:30 p.m. Adjust the seasoning.
Tasty, but a little sweet (from the root vegetables).
In went, for a half-hour's cooking,
2 tsp basil
2 tsp oregano
a few shakes Scotch Bonnet pepper sauce
freshly ground black pepper (hand-ground for about 10 seconds)
1 tsp salt
At 7 p.m. we removed the meat, covered it with foil, turned off the crockpot and let everything sit for a little while longer.
The meat was fall-apart tender, not stringy as it would have been if it were overcooked. (I've had that happen to other all-day crockpot roasts.) We joked that it might still be frozen in the center, but although it looked a little red, like corned beef, it was definitely cooked. We inhaled it.
Leftovers today. And we'll have some hearty beef vegetable soup left over.
Sorry, no pictures. It was a day off from everything.
--The roast was straight from the freezer; if your roast is thawed, this will be too much cooking time.
-- Use waxy "boiling" potatoes, not big bakers. Only use Yukon Golds if you're going to add them late; they tend to fall apart into a slurry if overcooked, and will disintegrate if cooked all day.
--Scotch Bonnet Sauce is the only hot sauce I really like. It's thick, adds flavor as well as heat, and spikes oversweetness. (This isn't gourmet stuff, it's Grace brand from Stop & Shop's Jamaican section.) eatjamaican.com says you can use a bit of skin, or a whole Scotch bonnet pepper, if you don't let it break open, to get the flavor without the heat.
-- Any bouillon cube will work to flavor the water. I only had chicken, but beef might have stood up to the vegetables better.
-- I think the sugar in carrots overwhelms stocks, so I use them sparingly. I like squash more, and the market sells small halves, peeled, washed and wrapped.
-- in these Web searches, I always begin with "recipe" -- it eliminates restaurant menus, retailers and nutritition charts.
-- If you have burgundy wine but no Jack Daniel's, you can reverse engineer this. I'd cut down on the wine, and maybe some of the water. You can always add more water later.
Bon Appetit photo
1/2 pound ground beef
1/2 pound ground pork
1/2 pound ground veal
1/2 cup panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)*
1/2 cup water
8 tablespoons freshly grated Pecorino Romano cheese, divided
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
*Sold in the Asian foods section of some supermarkets and at Asian markets.
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup chopped onion
6 garlic cloves, chopped
1/4 cup (packed) fresh basil leaves
1 1/2 teaspoons fennel seeds
1 28-ounce can whole peeled tomatoes
1 14.5-ounce can whole peeled tomatoes
Arugula leaves (optional)
18 small soft rolls, split horizontally
Mix all meats, panko, 1/2 cup water, 6 tablespoons cheese, egg, egg yolk, 1/4 cup parsley, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper in large bowl. Form into eighteen 2-inch-meatballs.
Heat vegetable oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Working in batches, fry meatballs until brown all over. Transfer to plate. Pour off drippings from skillet. Reduce heat to medium. Add olive oil to skillet. Add onion, garlic, basil, and fennel seeds. Sauté until onion begins to brown, about 5 minutes. Add all tomatoes with juices. Bring to boil, scraping up browned bits. Reduce heat to low, cover with lid slightly ajar, and simmer, stirring occasionally, about 30 minutes.
Puree sauce in processor until almost smooth. Return to same skillet. Add meatballs. Cover with lid slightly ajar and simmer until meatballs are cooked through, stirring occasionally, about 30 minutes longer. DO AHEAD: Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover; chill.
Place arugula leaves on bottom of each roll, if desired. Top each with 1 meatball. Drizzle meatballs with some of sauce and sprinkle with remaining 2 tablespoons parsley and 2 tablespoons. cheese. Cover with tops of rolls.
The recipe comes via Bon Appetit, September 2007 but it is originally from chef Joey Campanaro at his West Village restaurant The Little Owl, in New York Magazine last February, which also includes his recipe for homemade garlic buns.
Chicken Fried Gourmet blogged the making of these meatballburgers last month, modified by substituting baby spinach for the arugula, skipping the onion and running out of fresh parsley. You can follow along with the photojournalism at the bottom of this blog post: Little Owl's Meatball Sliders
Tampa Bay, Fla.,, food blogger and modern Asian cooking teacher Jaden Hair tosses out How to Turn Cheap “Choice” Steaks into Gucci “Prime” Steaks.
She offers the techique, the science and the experimental results of four months of steak twice a week.
Massively salt your steaks 1 hour before grilling.
Notice that I didn’t say, "sprinkle liberally" or even "season generously." I’m talking about taking a small handful of kosher salt and literally coating your meat until you can’t see red.
It should resemble a salt lick.
Let that meat be totally overwhelmed with the salt for 1 hour. Rinse, pat dry dry dry and then you’re ready to grill.
Before y’all throw a hissy fit, just hear me out...
We need to try this, see if it works. Any volunteers?
With the Patriots away this Sunday in New York, we can cook something nice at home that might be too much trouble at the parking lot.
Here’s an elegant recipe from the Certified Angus Beef folks. I like the idea of the mini burgers because they are so easy to eat in a few bites.
GRILLED MINI BURGERS
1 1/2 pounds ground chuck
2 large portabello mushrooms, cleaned
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup canola oil
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 pound smoked mozzarella or cheddar cheese, sliced thin
12 mini buns or soft rolls
2 small vine-ripe tomatoes, sliced thin
1 roasted red pepper cut in strips, canned or fresh
1 head lettuce, cleaned and separated
Marinate Portobello mushrooms in balsamic vinegar and oil for 10 minutes and grill until just done; slice into thin strips.
Season ground chuck with salt and pepper, and portion into 2-ounce patties. Grill to 160 degrees internal temperature. Top with cheese and close grill to melt cheese slightly.
Place patty on bottom bun and top with tomato, mushrooms, lettuce, red pepper and bun top.