January 19, 2001

One Easy Recipe, Two Distinctive Super Bowl Party Menus

Mike Ditka's Chef provides game plan for the perfect game day meal

Football fanatics and fair weather fans agree - Super Bowl Sunday is an ideal time to gather with friends and family. If you've been drafted to quarterback the Super Bowl XXXV festivities, put a twist on traditional game day fare with a distinctive Super Bowl dinner. work with one delicious main dish and serve it as it best suits your party and your guests: consider treating your guests to a Super Bowl "dinner party" or keep things casual with scrumptious hero sandwiches. Either way you go, the menu line-up can still be a snap to prepare.


Huddle Up With Mike Ditka's Culinary Quarterback

If ther ever was an authority on football and food, Chef Tom Kenny - the executive chef at football legend Mike Ditka's Restaurant in Chicago - is it. Football fanatics and fair weather fans agree - Super Bowl Sunday is an ideal time to gather with friends and family.

If you've been drafted to host the Super Bowl XXXV festivities at home, you don't have to rely on typical party finger food. My recipe for Margarita Pork Roast offers flexibility. You can treat your guests to a more "gourmet" Super Bowl dining experience or keep things casual with a mouthwatering hero sandwich.

Here is game plan that's sure to score extra points with your guests. Let's get started...


"Game Plan for the Perfect Tailgate Party"

If you're quarterbacking a pregame tailgate for friends and family, details can make or break the outcome of your "game." Here are some tips for a fumble-free party:

1.  Pre-Plan Your Game

Take the pregame stress out of your tailgate party with do-ahead menus. Prepare as much as you can before the game so you can enjoy the time with your guests.

2.  Side-Step Crowds

Develop a shopping list and schedule a time earlier in the week to do grocery shopping. That way you won't be stuck in the huddle at the checkout line during the last minute shopping blitz.

3.  Call in Special Teams

Save time and call in reinforcements from the butcher. Ask to have pork pre-cut into cubes for kabobs. It's a free service that will help you avoid some of the time-consuming tasks of meal preparation.

4.  Pregame Spice Up

Prepare marinades, dry rubs and cold sauces the day before and reserve until needed. These moves add flavor without adding fat or running out the clock.


Margarita Pork Roast

3-pound boneless
1 cup tequila
2 cups lime juice
1/2 cup olive oil
3 garlic cloves, crushed
1/8 teaspoon salt

Margarita Rub: 1 tablespoon EACH grated lime zest, oregano, cracked black pepper, brown sugar; 1 teaspoon thyme, 1/2 teaspoon kosker salt, 1/8 teaspoon allspice

Place pork in large self-sealing bag; combine tequila, lime juice, oil, garlic and salt in medium bowl and pour over pork. Seal bag; refrigerate 24-48 hours. Remove pork from marinade, discarding marinade, pat pork dry. Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Combine rub ingredients in small bowl, pat seasoning mixture over all surfaces of pork. Place pork in shallow roasting pan; roast for to 1-1/2 hours, until internal temperature, measure with a meat theromometer, registers 150-155 degrees F. Let rest 10 minutes before slicing to serve. Serves 10-12.


Spicy Chipotle Rice

6 slices bacon, diced
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
3 cups long grain rice
3 (14 1/2-oz) cans chicken broth
1/2 cup water
3 chipotle chiles in adobo sauce (about 1/4 of a 7-oz. can), diced
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
2 green onions, chopped, some green tops included

In a deep, heavy saucepan sauté bacon with onion until onion is slightly tender, about 4 minutes. Stir in rice; cook and stir to coat well. Add chicken broth, water, chiles and salt. Bring to a boil; cover, lower heat and simmer for 15 minutes or until rice is tender and liquid is absorbed. Remove from heat and let sit, covered, for up to 15 minutes before serving. Remove to serving bowl; garnish with cilantro and green onion. Serves 10-12.


Chef Tom Kenny's Party Planning Playbook

To help avoid any entertaining penalties when planning your Super Bowl party, Chef Kenny offers these tips:

· Develop a Game Plan - Plan ahead and keep track of the little details. The more you can take care of before the party starts means you'll have that much more time to spend with your guests at the event.

· Victorious Vittles - You never have too much food at the Super Bowl party. Try something simple but creative and everyone will win.

· Get Your Props - Gather football paraphernalia to decorate for the party. Use upside down football helmets lined with cotton napkins as serving bowls for dry snacks such as chips or nuts. Add a dash of color and fill your house with balloons in the dueling teams' colors.

· Party Politics - To ensure that the die-hard fans catch every exciting minute of the big game, it's a good idea to set up another TV for some of the "less-intense" fans to watch the game.

· Go For the Extra Points - Add a little extra flair by planning games and conversation to get your guests mingling. Plan a half-time trivia game based on football facts or as an alternative, discuss everyone's favorites from the new TV commercials.


Mike Ditka's Official Tailgater's Pork Chops

8 one-inch thick pork rib chops
4 cups orange juice
1 cup soy sauce
2 tablespoons chopped garlic
1/2 cup Dijon mustard
1/2 cup honey
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper

In a mixing bowl, combine orange juice, soy sauce, garlic, mustard, honey and cayenne pepper. Mix together with a whisk. Pour over pork chops and marinate in the refrigerator for 12-24 hours. Remove pork from marinade; discard marinade. Season pork with salt and pepper and grill for 8-10 minutes, turning once.


Savory Super Bowl Sunday Hero Sandwiches

Friday: Prepare the marinade for the pork roast. Marinate for 24-48 hours in the refrigerator.

Saturday: Remove roast from the marinade and prepare according to directions. Allow roast to cool slightly, then slice, cover, and refrigerate. Prepare Roasted Garlic Mayonnaise, Poblano Potato Salad, and Super Bowl Slaw.

Sunday: Prepare sandwich platter, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until serving.

Serving Suggestions: Serve pork cold and allow guests to customize their own Margarita Pork Hero.

Serve pork heroes warm from the oven with Roasted Garlic Mayonnaise on the side.

Side Dishes: Chef Tom continues the Latin-inspired theme with Poblano Potato Salad, using convenient deli potato salad. Super Bowl Slaw will certainly entice guests to replay a visit of the party buffet.


Margarita Pork Heroes

Margarita Pork Roast, thinly sliced
1 pound Pepper-Jack cheese, thinly sliced
6 ripe tomatoes, cored and thinly sliced
Curly endive, radishes, watercress (garnish)
12-15 sandwich buns
Roasted Garlic Mayonnaise:
1 whole garlic bulb
Olive oil
2 cups mayonnaise
Hot pepper sauce, to taste

Roasted Garlic Mayonnaise: Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Carefully slice about 1/2 inch off the top of whole garlic bulb, exposing cloves. Place on 8-inch square of aluminum foil; drizzle with a little olive oil and seal package. Roast for 30-45 minutes, until garlic is soft. Squeeze garlic from cloves to stir into 2 cups prepared mayonnaise; season to taste with hot pepper sauce. Makes 2 cups, about 16 servings. To serve cold: Arrange sliced pork, cheese and tomatoes attractively on serving platter; garnish. Arrange sandwich buns in napkin-lined basket. Place Roasted Garlic Mayonnaise in small serving bowl. To serve warm: Heat broiler. Top bottoms of buns with pork and cheese; broil to melt cheese. Remove from broiler and top with tomatoes and tops of sandwich buns; serve with Roasted Garlic Mayonnaise. Serves 12-15.


Poblano Potato Salad

4 medium poblano chiles
3 pounds (about 6 cups) deli potato salad
1 (11-oz.) can Mexicorn (whole kernel corn with red and green peppers), drained
1 (2 1/4-oz.) can sliced ripe olives, drained
3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh cilantro or parsley

Char chiles over gas flame or in broiler until blackened on all sides. Enclose in paper bag; let stand 10 minutes. Peel and seed chiles; cut into 1/2-inch pieces and place in large bowl. Add potato salad, corn and olives, stir to combine well. Serve garnished with cilantro or parsley. Makes about 15 servings.


Super Bowl Slaw

6 cups thinly sliced green cabbage
3 cups thinly sliced red cabbage
2 large red or yellow bell peppers, seeded and thinly sliced
4 medium carrots, peeled and shredded
8 green onions, thinly sliced
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
1/2 cup cider vinegar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup orange juice
1 tablespoon chili powder
2 minced garlic cloves

Combine slaw ingredients in large bowl; toss well. In small bowl whisk together Dressing ingredients; toss with slaw. Season with salt and pepper and serve. Makes about 15 servings.

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