Raise your steins and grab your foam fingers — the Super Bowl is returning to Minnesota this year.
Finally, the Land of 10,000 Broken Football Hearts gets a chance to revel in the big time again — and maybe even send its own team to the main event. Woo-hoo! At last!
But before you get too excited, check your bank account — as it turns out, we don’t all have $2,000 to drop on an evening of helmet-smashing sport and $16 beers.
That doesn’t mean you can’t get in on the fun, though.
With the chaos of the nation’s biggest sporting event swirling through the region, cozy up to your own wide screen with a gaggle of Super Bowl-themed eats and drinks, fittingly steeped in Minnesota tradition. Fry up some cheese curds; those will stick to the ribs more persistently than a D lineman with a scrambling QB in his sights.
For heartier fare, sliders — Jucy Lucy sliders, of course — and mini tater-tot hot dishes will have you doing your own touchdown celebrations. And since a boozy flourish is a must with any Super Bowl party, plan a batch of this purple-tinged aquavit sour — the ideal exclamation on acrobatic catches, line-breaking runs, wild scores or hey, just moments of enthusiastic thirst. This is a celebration, after all.
Of course, beers should probably be involved as well — from the fridge, not a $16 commemorative cup. And if you’re craving dessert after all that, consider whipping up a tray of bars. We’re sure you’ve got your own recipes for that. Yah, you betcha, everyone in Minnesota enjoys a good bar.
Gee, isn’t that festive? If you squint, maybe you’ll see the top of U.S. Bank Stadium from your living room window. Or not, but you can use your imagination.
Jucy Lucy Sliders
Makes about 20 sliders.
Note: Inspired by the Jucy Lucy at Matt’s Bar in Minneapolis.
• 10 slices of American cheese
• 1 lb. ground beef
• Salt and black pepper, to season
• 2 tbsp. vegetable oil, divided
• 20 small slider-style rolls
• 40 thin dill pickle slices
Unwrap the cheese and fold/cut 1 slice in half to achieve 2 pieces. Fold each of those pieces 3 more times to create a small cube of cheese. Repeat with the rest of the cheese; set aside.
In a large bowl, season the ground beef with salt and pepper and knead the beef to combine. Form the beef into 20 balls, about 1 1/2 inches in diameter, then press a cube of American cheese into each and form the beef around the cheese so it’s hidden in the middle.
Pour 1 tablespoon oil in a large cast iron pan, and use a brush to spread it around evenly. Turn the heat on medium-high. When the pan is very hot ,but just before it begins to smoke, add the balls of meat, working in batches. Allow each ball to sear for 30 seconds, then smash it down with a spatula, being careful to avoid exposing the cheese. When the meat has browned on the bottom (about 2 to 3 more minutes), flip the sliders. Continue to sear for another 2 to 3 minutes, depending on whether your desired temperature is medium or well-done.
Remove the sliders and set on a plate covered with paper towels. Meanwhile, set the oven to broil. Open each roll and dip the open ends in the grease on the cast-iron pan. Plate the roll, grease-side up, on tin foil or a sheet pan; broil for 30 seconds to 1 minute, or until the bread has browned slightly. Place a burger inside each slider roll, top with two pickles each and serve.
Mini Classic Tater-Tot Hot Dishes
Makes 6 to 8 individual servings.
Note: For a short cut, replace the soup with two cans of cream of mushroom soup. Adapted from a recipe by Molly Yeh (mynameisyeh.com).
• 1/4 c. (4 tbsp.) unsalted butter
• 2 carrots, finely chopped
• 2 ribs celery, finely chopped
• 1 large onion, finely chopped
• Kosher salt
•1 c. fresh mushrooms, sliced (optional)
• 3/4 c. flour
• 3 c. whole milk, divided
• 6 bouillon cubes (chicken, vegetable or beef), equal to about 2 tbsp. powder
• Black pepper
• 2 lb. ground beef
• 1 c. frozen peas, corn or green beans
• About 1 c. shredded Cheddar cheese
• 1 1/2 lb. frozen Tater Tots
• 1/8 c. fresh chopped parsley, for garnish, if desired
• Ketchup for serving, if desired
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
To make the creamed soup: In a large pot, melt the butter over medium-high heat. Add the carrots, celery, onion and a pinch of salt and cook, stirring, until soft, about 12 to 15 minutes.
Add the mushrooms, if using, and stir 2 to 3 minutes more. Stir in the flour and cook for another minute. Stir in 1 1/2 cups milk and cook, stirring, until thickened. Stir in the remaining 1 1/2 cups milk and cook, stirring, until very thick. Add the bouillon and combine, then season with salt and pepper to taste. Pour into a bowl and set aside.
To make the hot dishes: Wipe out your pot and set it back over medium high heat. Add the ground beef and cook, breaking up with a wooden spoon, until browned. Season with salt and pepper. Stir in the peas, corn or green beans. Using a slotted spoon to drain the juices, transfer half of the beef mixture to 3-inch ramekin dishes and spread it out evenly. Layer on half the soup mixture, then the other half of the beef, then the other half of the soup. Top with a thin layer of the shredded cheese. Cover with a layer of Tater Tots, and bake until the tots are golden brown and crispy on top, about 45 minutes. Let cool slightly, top with parsley if desired, and serve with ketchup.
Fried Cheese Curds
Serves about 4.
Note: From chef Amanda Freitag, on “American Diner Revival” on foodnetwork.com.
• 1 c. flour
• 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
• 1/2 tsp. salt
• 1 c. club soda
• 1 lb. cheese curds
• 4 c. vegetable or canola oil
• Marinara sauce or dipping sauce, for serving
In a medium bowl, mix the flour, baking powder and salt. Stir in the club soda and mix until smooth. Add the cheese curds to the batter and coat thoroughly.
Heat the oil in a large, heavy skillet or heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat until a deep-frying thermometer inserted in the oil reads 360 degrees, or just before the oil smokes. Fry the cheese curds for about 1 minute, turning halfway through. Drain on paper towels. Serve the fried cheese curds with marinara or your favorite dipping sauce.
Mayo Hand Salads With Homemade Ranch Dressing
Makes about 10 salads.
Note: From Amelia Rayno.
• 1 head bibb lettuce, leaves separated
• 1/4 c. red onion, quartered and sliced thinly
• 1/4 c. celery, sliced thinly
• 1/4 c. cucumbers, sliced thinly and halved
• 1/4 c. radishes, sliced thinly
• 1/4 c. cherry tomatoes, halved
• About 1/4 c. Homemade Ranch Dressing (see recipe)
• 2 tbsp. fresh chives, sliced thinly
Arrange lettuce leaves on a platter. Arrange sliced onion, celery, cucumber, radish and tomatoes in each lettuce cup. Drizzle with about 1 to 1 1/2 teaspoons of the Homemade Ranch Dressing, and top each with a few chives. Serve chilled.
Homemade Ranch Dressing
Makes about 2 1/2 cups.
Note: This dressing will keep in the refrigerator for up to a week; you will use about 1/4 cup of this for the hand salads. Adapted from a recipe by Ree Drummond at thepioneerwoman.com.
• 1/4 tsp. salt
• 1 garlic clove, minced
• 1/4 c. flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
• 2 tbsp. fresh chives, thinly sliced
• 1 tbsp. fresh dill, finely chopped
• 1 c. mayonnaise
• 1/2 c. sour cream or Greek yogurt
• About 3/4 c. buttermilk
• 1 tbsp. white vinegar or fresh lemon juice
• 1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
• 1/2 tsp. paprika
On a cutting board of flat top, combine the salt and minced garlic and mash it into a paste with a fork. Transfer to a small bowl and add the parsley, chives and dill.
In a separate bowl, combine the mayo, sour cream or yogurt, and buttermilk and whisk until smooth. Incorporate the garlic-herb mixture into the mayo mixture and stir well, then add the vinegar or lemon juice, Worcestershire and paprika. Chill for a couple of hours, thinning with milk or buttermilk just before serving if desired.
Makes 4 cocktails.
Note: The cinnamon syrup will keep at least a month in the refrigerator and can be made ahead of time. Adapted from saveur.com.
• 1 c. water
• 1 c. sugar
• 3 to 4 whole cinnamon sticks
• 8 oz. (1 c.) aquavit
• 4 oz. (1/2 c.) fresh lemon juice
• 3 oz. (6 tbsp.) tawny port
• About 4 oz. (1/2 c.) red wine such as cabernet franc
• Freshly grated nutmeg, optional
To make the cinnamon syrup: Combine 1 cup water and sugar in a small saucepan over medium heat and stir until combined. Add the cinnamon sticks and bring to a boil. Allow to boil for 2 minutes, then remove the pan from the heat and cool completely.
To make the cocktail: Shake the aquavit, lemon juice, port and 3 ounces (6 tablespoons) cinnamon syrup in a cocktail shaker. Strain into 4 cocktail glasses and pour about an ounce (2 tablespoons) of the red wine on top of each. Garnish with grated nutmeg, if desired.