Whether the Kansas City Chiefs or San Francisco 49ers reign supreme Sunday, Carson Kitchen chef/owner Cory Harwell is sure of one thing.
“Everybody in the world,” he said, “is thankful that the Patriots aren’t in the Super Bowl again.”
Well, maybe not the fans of the New England team that holds the record for the most Super Bowl appearances with 11. But their absence has to be good news to party hosts who try to theme their food to the teams and are tired of the same old lobster rolls and baked beans.
“I love the food from both of these cities,” Harwell said of the homes of this year’s competing teams. “I think the fun part is really celebrating the foods from both areas. If you have a dog in the fight, by all means, do your dog. But otherwise it really is fun to celebrate both cities.”
Harwell said Super Bowl party food has to follow the rule book: It has to be finger food and of a casual nature, so it can be consumed during timeouts, while engaging in excessive celebration or when going out for a pass at the beer keg.
For Kansas City, one choice stands out.
“Obviously, barbecue’s a big deal,” said Silverton executive chef Ashley Archer, who lived in Kansas City for a few years. “I’d definitely have some burnt ends with some homemade pickles and pickled red onions. I’d probably have to fly in some Gates barbecue sauce. There would definitely be some creamed corn like they have at Jack Stack Barbecue.”
Archer said while Carolina barbecue is all about the sauce and Texas-style is all about the smoke, in Kansas City it’s about the rub.
And burnt ends, of course.
“You can’t have a conversation about barbecue without Kansas City being in the first sentence,” Harwell said. “And you can’t discuss Kansas City without talking about burnt ends. I don’t think there’s a better finger food we could serve Sunday.”
He said burnt ends were created in Kansas City, when pitmasters found a new use for the fattier point end of the brisket, which took so long to render its prodigious fat that the leaner flat part was overcooked.
Harwell said he’d also opt for Kansas City-style potato salad, made with skin-on red potatoes, cider vinegar, dry barbecue spice, barbecue sauce, onions and celery.
And for dessert: “What I think is the godfather of the cinnamon roll,” he said, from Stroud’s. “It’s one of my favorite things in the entire world, loaded with butter and gooey, crunchy goodness, which I think is a wonderful Super Bowl food.”
But let’s not forget San Francisco.
“I think San Francisco is one of the top three cities in the country, for sure, in terms of influence on overall cuisine,” Harwell said.
He suggested avoiding the obvious.
“Everyone’s got to mention you’ve got to do a clam chowder in a bread bowl,” he said, “but that’s kind of a given.”
He suggested instead to focus on things that were invented in San Francisco, like fortune cookies or Irish coffee, or popularized there, such as soup dumplings. The latter celebrates the Asian influence on the city, as does one of Harwell’s top choices.
“One of my favorite sandwiches in the entire world is at a place called Roxie” Market & Delicatessen, he said. “Roxie makes what we know today as Dutch crunch rolls, but 70 years ago it was known as Tiger Bread,” which is painted with rice paste to produce a crunchy top that contrasts with the soft crumb inside.
“I would try to find some Dutch crunch rolls in town and put up a little submarine action for everybody to grab.”
Another option, he said: carnitas Mission-style burritos.
Gerald Chin, vice president of culinary operations for the steak and International Smoke divisions of the San Francisco-based Michael Mina group, said he’d go with cioppino.
“One, that’s kind of the birthplace of it,” he said. “Two, it’s easy to do for a lot of people.”
Chin said he’d incorporate Dungeness crabs, mussels, lobster, San Marzano tomatoes, orange zest and fresh orange juice.
“I like to finish it with a little bit of orange liqueur, which is my thing,” he said. “A little Cointreau or Grand Marnier. And some grilled sourdough bread right off the grill.”
But don’t forget something sweet.
“This is why I think the 49ers are going to win: the dessert option,” Harwell said. That would be the San Francisco-born It’s-It ice-cream sandwich, two oatmeal cookies sandwiching ice cream and dipped in dark chocolate that was so good, 1920s-era fans declared it “It.”
But while Super Bowl food is super-important, Harwell hasn’t lost sight of the purpose for it all.
“I’m just excited for the game,” he said.
Grilled barbecue potato salad
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for oiling the grill grates
2 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes
1 teaspoon garlic salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup KC-Style Chipotle BBQ Sauce (recipe follows), or store-bought chipotle barbecue sauce
1 tablespoon juice from a jar of pickled jalapenos, or white vinegar
1/2 pound cooked and crumbled bacon
1/2 cup chopped celery
1/4 cup sliced green onions (set a few aside for garnishing the top)
Heat a grill to 400 degrees using indirect heat (for directions for cooking in oven, see note below). Oil the grill grates.
Cut the potatoes into 1-inch chunks and place in a bowl with the remaining olive oil, garlic salt and pepper. Toss to coat. Place the potatoes directly on the oiled cooking grates (if needed, use a grill basket so the potatoes don’t fall through). Cook, turning as needed, until done, about 30 minutes.
In a mixing bowl combine the mayonnaise, KC-Style Chipotle BBQ Sauce and jalapeno juice. Gently fold in the warm potatoes, bacon, celery and green onions. Garnish with a couple slices of green onion and serve immediately.
Note: To cook the potatoes in the oven, heat the oven to 400 degrees with a sheet pan inside. Spray the pan with cooking spray and place the potatoes on the hot sheet pan. Cook, turning halfway, until done, about 30 minutes.
K.C.-style chipotle BBQ sauce
1 cup ketchup
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1/4 cup pureed chipotle peppers in adobo
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon molasses
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
2 teaspoons ancho chile powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon liquid smoke
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon mustard powder
Mix together the ketchup, sugar, chipotle, Worcestershire, molasses, vinegar, ancho powder, salt, pepper, cocoa, liquid smoke, oregano, thyme and mustard powder in a saucepan and gently warm over medium heat, stirring continuously, until the sugar dissolves. Do not boil.
The sauce can be used immediately. The flavors will continue to meld if allowed to rest in the refrigerator overnight.
Makes 1 3/4 cups
— Recipe from the Food Network
It’s-it ice cream sandwiches
1/2 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup sugar
1 large egg, room temperature
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1-1/2 cups quick-cooking oats
1/4 cup chopped raisins, optional
3 cups vanilla ice cream
1 bottle (7-1/4 ounces) chocolate hard-shell ice cream topping
Heat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, cream butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Beat in egg and vanilla. In another bowl, whisk flour, baking soda, cinnamon, baking powder and salt; gradually beat into creamed mixture. Stir in oats and, if desired, raisins.
Shape into 14 1 1/4-inch balls; place 2 1/2 inches apart on ungreased baking sheets. Bake until golden brown, 11-13 minutes. Cool on pans three minutes. Remove to wire racks to cool completely.
To assemble ice cream sandwiches, place 1/3 cup ice cream on bottom of a cookie. Top with a second cookie, pressing gently to flatten ice cream. Place on a baking sheet; freeze until firm. Repeat with remaining cookies and ice cream.
Remove ice cream sandwiches from the freezer. Working over a small bowl, drizzle chocolate topping over half of each sandwich, allowing excess to drip off.
Place on a wax-paper-lined baking sheet; freeze until serving. Wrap individually in plastic for longer storage.
— Recipe from Taste of Home