On any given chilly Sunday across North America, football games become the perfect excuse to gather with family and friends and cheer for your favorite team. But no get-together is complete without chips, dips, and snacks to compensate for all of the energy you’ll be expending. Here are some of our favorites, with and without the glorious goodness of nature’s most versatile fruit, the avocado.
A hot dip is made all the more enticing with the addition of melt-in-your-mouth cheese. There’s the Tex-Mex Queso Flameado (“flamed cheese”) that can be made with Chihuahua cheese, mozzarella, or provolone, Mexican chorizo, green onions, dried pasilla chiles, and brandy. The sausage gets sautéed out of its casing and the whole ensemble is put in an oven-proof dish before being baked and flambéed with the brandy table-side. Talk about a touch-down showstopper!
Another Mexican riff on this dip includes tossing 1 cup of Oaxacan cheese and 1 cup Monterey Jack cheese with a tablespoon of all-purpose flour in a bowl, and then setting them aside while you sauté a small diced onion, Serrano chile, and thinly sliced mushrooms with a dribble of avocado oil in a cast iron pan. Once the onions are soft, add half a cup of beer to the pan, adding the cheese in small handfuls and whisking until completely combined. Cut half of an avocado (here’s a quick tip about how to hold an avocado and apply gentle pressure to determine if it’s ripe!) into slices and place on top of your cheese dip. Place under the broiler for a few minutes until the cheese gets caramelized. Serve immediately with good corn tortilla chips and a glass of your favorite cerveza.
Also, if all this slicing and dicing of avocados sounds confusing, watch this video for advice on how to hone your avocado cutting technique by splitting it down the middle and removing the seed to either chop or dice it.
If you’re in a rush but want something more impressive than a bag of potato chips and a tin of ranch dip, try this simple take on an avocado-based dip that’s given a green boost with the addition of fresh spinach. The best part? It’s done in seconds with a blitz in the food processor and can be made ahead of your pigskin party.
Want to update the mayo-heavy hot artichoke and spinach dip? Here’s a solution: artichoke and avocado dip. As the recipe’s author says, “It’s cool, creamy, and flavorful, with the tang of a touch of sour cream and feta cheese, and the umami of anchovy paste (think Caesar salad and you won’t find it frightening, I promise). Paired with a crudité platter and crackers, it’s the type of dip that can be made in advance, for parties, or if you want a simple snack.”
For those of you who love to serve guacamole at every party, here’s a neat tip for keeping your guacamole green by pouring milk on top of it when your party guests are a little tardy.
Dips are dandy, but when you’ve got a hungry crowd of football lovers who’ve mowed through the snacks like locusts, you might want to think about pulling out your slow cooker for something more substantial. We suggest a three-bean chili, which can be made with or without ground turkey, chuck, or chicken. Start by adding one large, diced red onion, three cloves of crushed garlic, a little olive oil, two diced celery ribs, and two diced carrots to a skillet. For the meaty version, add your ground turkey, beef, or chicken. You could also sub in sausage or Polish kielbasa.
Once the ingredients are cooked through, put them in your slow cooker along with four cups of stock (vegetable, chicken, or beef), a bay leaf, a pinch of hot pepper flakes, one small tin of tomato paste, a pinch of cumin, and your choice of beans. Romano beans, navy beans, chickpeas, or pinto beans are all hearty choices. Cook on low for about 4-5 hours, season with salt and pepper, and let it cook uncovered for about an hour to thicken before you’re ready to serve.
Top with a dollop of grated cheddar or sour cream, diced avocado, and slivers of green onion. If this is dinner, serve with a tossed salad, including a green goddess dressing to cool the heat of the chiles (combine Greek or Balkan yogurt, 1 whole avocado, a small bunch of parsley and basil, fresh lemon juice, garlic, salt, and pepper in a blender and pulse to combine). A warm crusty loaf of bread and good quality butter are perfect company for this fine rib-sticking fare.
You might just find that you’re hosting Sunday football fiestas every weekend once your crew tastes these delicious dips and dishes!