Kick-Off South American Wines & Foods for Super Bowl Sunday

by Liz Caskey on February 4, 2011

Ahh the Super Bowl. Football, friends, family, and seriously hearty food. After all, it is the depths of winter (up north) and much of the US  is rallying from (another) 12 inches of snow. Down here in Chile, expats are gathering at California Cantina’s terrace, a sports bar in Providencia, to watch the action live.

However, this year, I am gonna go out on a limb and propose that those of you tuning in at home consider something other than the typical fare and cold beer. Think out-of-the-box and go beyond the perennially-popular chili, or nachos. Expand past the usual make-your-own crockpot barbeque sandwich, beans,  or gumbo. Or if you’re really not a cook, pass on ordering (again) pizza and chicken wings. Don’t lynch me people. Hear me out.

Why not look to South America for a little Super Bowl inspiration? Simple, easy recipes that will dazzle your taste buds while hopefully the Steelers (or the Packers) do the same for their fans. And best part. Both recipes can be made ahead time AND paired with awesome, value-driven wines from Chile & Argentina, too.

1. Chilean Corn Pie: The One-Dish “Man” of Super Bowl Foods

In a recent article with San Antonio Express on my cooking tour through Texas, I suggested that this dish is touchdown for the Super Bowl. It certainly fills the number one criteria that any Super Bowl Sunday dish should be ideally a) make ahead and/or reheat-able and b) substantial enough to offset the effects of a lot of alcohol. And it’s cold up north. I don’t think anybody’s gonna be clamoring for sushi or ceviche with snow flakes flying and negative wind chills. Chilean Corn Pie is also a serious crowd pleaser since it hits both savory and sweet notes. Who doesn’t love a ground beef scented with cumin; juicy pieces of chicken breast; slices of hard-boiled eggs; black olives; plump golden raisins; all covered with a creamy basil-corn paste.

And the best part, make it up to a day ahead and simply bake like lasagna. Listo.

The kicker? This dish loves red wine. If you’re a big Cabernet lover, bring it on with a bold on from the Colchagua or Maipo Valleys. If you’re wanting something lush, how about the Marqués de Casa Concha from Concha y Toro? Or the Cuvee Alexandre Cabernet Sauvignon from Lapostolle. If you’re sticking to 10 dollars, try tried-and-loved organic wines from Natura that push value or Montes. Personally, I think that an earthy Carmenere from Chile is Corn Pie’s soul mate.

2. Argentine-Style Grilled T-bone Steak with Chimichurri: Fancy & Easy

If the Super bowl is a big day for you (hmm, Steelers and Packers fans), why not go all out and splurge with a big, juicy marbled steak? If you’re feelin’ really sassy, how about an aged one? Only fitting of such carnal desires is the national condiment of Argentina: chimichurri. This herb-filled, peppery sauce with a pungent kick has gone global. Everyone and their hermano is nuts above it (just do a quick google search if you don’t believe me). However, it’s about as old school Argentina as it gets. Argentines slather it on grilled steak, meats, poultry, choripan, and even bread (while waiting for the meat). Virtually every dining table and restaurant will serve it upon sitting down. No waiter will never roll his eyes at you for wanting more. It’s that good. How can you go wrong with something so simple. Parsley, oregano, garlic, dried red chili flakes, oil, and red wine vinegar. Chopped, pounded, and stirred into green ecstasy.  Now combine that with your steak. Dios Mio.

This suggested dish actually works best at half-time. Mainly because you want to grill your beef (rare, please!) to perfection. Fire up the grill during the last commercial and have the chimichurri made ahead of time. The flavors get better as they meld and tango together. I would recommend this with roasted oven potatoes and a salad (ok, skip the salad).

For a wine pairing, go, go, go Mal-bec. If your team’s in the game, why not break out some big boys like an Achaval Ferrer Single Vineyard “Altamira”, Caro, Cobos (Paul Hobbs Project), or Enrique Foster’s Limited Edition. If you like Malbec blends, the ultra suave Bressia winery’s Profundo will go down easy as will A or B Crux from O. Fournier. Still needing suggestions? Surf on over to Vines of Mendoza for more ideas.

Thanks to Roboppy and Thomas V for the delicious food pics.

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