So you’re planning a Super Bowl party. This should not be taken lightly. As you well know, the Super Bowl occurs but once a year. An impact must be made.
First and foremost, draft a team. It’s the Super Bowl, dammit, not dinner for you and your boys. Sure, I will give you the tools to throw a kickass party yourself, but let’s be honest. You don’t want to be alone when the new Kia Hamster commercial comes on. Call up some friends.
Here’s my squad, in no particular order, they don’t mind – we’re not talking about Prince Fielder money here: David Benjamin (my Hungry Dudes collaborator and ghost pepper aficionado), Will Branch (owner of Corridor Sausage and grand poobah of pork), Bob Perye (my newest partner in crime and head troublemaker at the Rogue Estate), Achilles Papakonstanitou (the Greek warrior, because he’s dangerous with a knife) and our brother in booze, Sandy Levine (owner of The Oakland and mixologist extraordinaire).
The idea here is to compile a team of folks who will come together to create the best Super Bowl meal ever. I’m confident in my team. I bet we could win it all.
Our menu: Beer cheese fondue, assorted sausages with plenty of pickled accoutrement, ghost pepper brownies and bourbon punch. We tried our best to use all Michigan products, more precisely we tried to use items that will be available at Eastern Market the Saturday before the Super Bowl (Note: “sheds” are in Eastern Market).
For the beer cheese fondue, visit Oliver Farms in Shed 3. Buy some of their exceptional cheese – cheddar, Swiss, whatever you like. Grate the cheese into a pile, put into a bag with a couple tablespoons of flour. Make a roux (butter and flour) in one pan and reduce one bottle of Bell’s Best Brown Ale to half its volume in another saucepan. Remove from heat and temper beer into roux.
Saute finely minced onions and garlic until translucent and add to roux and beer mixture. Add 1/2 cup chicken stock and slowly begin to add cheese. Keep on low heat – we don’t want any simmering to occur. Stir as little as possible to combine. Midway through, add cheese and 1/4 cup of heavy cream. Continue to add the rest of the cheese until smooth, remembering to stir as little as possible. Add black pepper, green onion and/or clove as desired. When silky smooth, transfer to fondue pot (if you have one) and serve hot. Cubed toasted bread, vegetables, Granny Smith apples and pork products work wonderfully.
Speaking of pork products, Corridor Sausage in Shed 3 is doing glorious things with all things porcine. On any given Saturday, Will Branch and his partner Zach Alexander will have up to a dozen different varieties available for purchase.
Our menu has five sausages topped with a number of items, most of which are available from The Brinery in Shed 2. Of the five, the most Super Bowl-friendly of the bunch is the bacon and beer (Bell’s Amber Ale) brat with aged Swiss cheese. We topped it with Storm Cloud Zapper sauerkraut (a mix of cabbage, beets, ginger, and sea salt) and mustard. The subtle, creamy nuttiness of the sausage is dynamite with the tangy spiciness of the kraut.
Although all of the varieties we tried were excellent, two others really stood out. Both are unique and outside of the usual hot dog or brat realm.
Lamb Merguez is a traditional North African sausage. Boldly flavored with moderate heat, it is not for the timid. Top it with The Brinery’s Coyote Kraut (cabbage, hot peppers, epazote) and you’ve got a fire bomb for your taste buds. Crumble a bit of goat cheese on top for an additional layer of tangy and a welcome level of heat temperance.
If you’re like me, you have a soft spot in your heart for Vietnamese cuisine. Have you ever wondered why all of those incredible flavors can’t be squeezed into an easy-to-transport tube of meat? The boys at Corridor are on our wavelength (scary, I know) and they developed a Vietnamese chicken sasauge. Lemongrass, lime leaf, wild ginger, thai chiles, cilantro and shallots are all present and accounted for making this a truly complex bite. Cut open the bun, layer slices of fresh cucumbers on one side and Brinery’s Root 31 pickled turnips on the other. Slide the sausage in and squeeze a bit of Sriracha aioli (Sriracha, mayonnaise, sesame oil and lime) on top. You’ll feel like you’re walking the streets of Vietnam.
Our dessert is not complicated in its preparation, but the flavors are challenging. Buy a box of your favorite brownie mix. Prepare according to the instructions on the box. Before putting in the oven, cut up 1/4 to 1/2 of a fresh ghost pepper or 1/4 teaspoon of ghost pepper powder and add it to the mix. We also added one bar of dark chocolate with chiles chopped. The ghost peppers add an unbelievable dimension of heat to the bittersweet brownie. Unforgettable to say the least.
For an event as American as the Super Bowl, we’ve been ethnic in our cuisine choices. But what’s more American than bourbon? We go all- American with our bourbon punch. (Admittedly, the recipe involves some preparation – visit realdetroitweekly.com for the full recipe.)
You’ll need your favorite high-proof bourbon (like Old Weller Antique) as the base. A blend of fresh orange and lemon juice, cherry heering, sugar and nutmeg round out this strong but refreshing punch.
We’ve given you fondue, sausages, brownies and punch. Each of these items can be shared by large groups (cut the sausages in half and serve on a large platter). Party food is meant to be communal. Not only will people discuss the new Hamtramck Chevy Volt commercial, but they’ll also rave about your amazing spread. Take the journey down to Eastern Market and throw a Super Bowl party no one will forget.
Article originally published in Real Detroit Weekly.
Bourbon Punch Recipe (By Sandy Levine from The Oakland)
1 bottle high proof good quality bourbon (we like Old Weller Antique 107 Proof)
2/3 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
1/3 cup fresh squeezed orange juice
1/4 cup Cherry Heering
1/3 lb sugar
4 oz water
The night before you’re serving the punch, fill a tupperware container with water and put it in the freezer.
Remove the peel of an orange and a lemon, being careful to only peel the very outer edge of the rind (and not any of the white pith, which is very bitter). Place the rinds and the sugar in a punch bowl and toss. Let sit for a couple hours.
Add juices and stir until sugar is dissolved. Add the alcohol and water. Put punch bowl in freezer for 20 minutes to chill. When ready to serve, add the large ice cube from the tupperware. Garnish the punch with sliced orange and a healthy portion of freshly grated nutmeg.
The high proof bourbon will cause it to start off pretty strong, but will allow it to maintain its backbone as the ice melts.