It was a dogfight in Auburn Saturday night for the Kentucky Wildcats. A fitting apéritif for the Bowl of all Bowls Sunday evening. Really psyched to watch Kansas City and San Francisco with everything on the line. New quarterbacks. New teams. Both scoring machines who employ opportunistic defenses. Let the games begin.
In honor of the Super Bowl, I got my cook on. Saturday evening found me simultaneously prepping three different meals, dinner for that night, the Super Bowl Mexican spread, and chicken & andouille sausage gumbo for Monday.
Preparation for the gumbo required the cooking of a fourth meal. The chicken stock was put together from scratch. That takes a whole chicken going into the oven, harvesting the cooked meat, then using the bones in a stock, built to showcase the gumbo.
Saturday was all about steaks. I selected two 2.5 pound sirloin fillets, dredged them in a Brazilian steakhouse marinade, and served with twice baked potatoes.
With the potatoes out of the oven, I switched to broil and cooked both steaks to a medium rare perfection in 12 minutes. One was for dinner, the other would be re-purposed in fajitas Sunday. We have a family tradition of going full-on Mexican for the Super Bowl, loaded nachos with steak & chicken fajitas.
With the steaks served, and all campers fat and happy, I proceeded to chill out on the couch for a few hours, and work my numbing skills. I dropped the temp in the oven to 350, and popped in our chicken friend for an hour plus. He smelled delicious. Now the chicken needed time to cool down before I could render the meat from his bones without burning myself.
Around 3AM I got a third wind. For whatever reason, I had a morbid curiosity in watching the Australian Open men’s final, which came on live from Melbourne at 3:30AM. All this athletic prowess gave me the energy boost to get up and throw together the chicken stock for my gumbo. The longer the flavors steep the tastier the end product.
CHICKEN STOCK: 2 pounds chicken bones; 6 quarts water; peeled carrots; chopped onion; chopped celery with leaves; chopped fresh parsley; fresh thyme; 1 bay leaf; salt; black pepper; and white pepper.
Turn the oven to 400 degrees. Roughly peel and chop produce before adding to water. Be generous in the proportions. While waiting for the stock to boil, turn to our chicken friend, and pull off the wings and legs, removing skin and meat, but leaving tendon and hunks of meat that don’t immediately release. It’s best to leave a decent amount of the meat on the bone, to increase flavor in the stock. Pick the bird clean.
With the meat removed and placed into a container, place the carcass and other bones onto a cooking sheet. Place this into the oven for 15-20 minutes, till bones and such are browned.
Once finished, dump the bones into the stock and stir. Place a lid offset on the stockpot and allow the liquid to simmer down half way from its original total. I managed to stay intermittently conscious until a god-awful hour of the morning, keeping tabs on the Australian Open. Novak Djokovic outlasted Dominic Thiem in five sets to win his 17th major title.
By the time this was over, I pulled my stock from the burner and placed it outside on the carport, with lid in place. It can sit out there for a day and steep. I’ll place something heavy on the lid to keep any curious critters from investigating.
I went to bed after that for a few hours.
I awoke to Mexican Sunday around 11:30AM. The Super Bowl was kicking today. It might as well be a holiday. In that spirit I made the executive decision to dispense with any usual protocols for a Sunday that might hinder or otherwise constrain perceived merriment. Why not crack a beer with our coffee…
I turned my thoughts to fajitas. These things are a blast to make, and put a delicious aroma into a kitchen. I broke out my grandfather’s carving knife set. Love getting this out. The vibes are excellent. Spiking the meat with the carving fork, I shaved diagonally down the face of the sirloin cutlet. It was like butter.
Chopped chicken from our midnight bird was added to the steak, and both were placed into a sauté pan containing a dense fajita marinade. As the meats warmed, I sliced the onion, red pepper and yellow pepper into thin strips. This combo was sautéed in vegetable oil, cumin, garlic, salt and pepper till tender. With that the fajitas were straight. Accent with cheese and salsa if preferred.
The nachos required shredding two pounds of ground beef and cooking it through; drain fat, and spice with taco seasoning; simmer until cooked down; layer bottom of casserole dish with one bag of Tostitos, topping with ground beef, black olives and shredded cheese; repeat the same for a second layer; place in oven at 275 degrees for 20 minutes; and serve. Done and done. Just don’t fall asleep during the game.
The chicken stock continued to steep into Monday. I’ll drain the stock after work, and assemble the gumbo.
Hope everyone got their cooking finished, and enjoyed the football and festivities!