We may not know much about football, but every year we get pumped for the Super Bowl like everyone else—for the food. A Super Bowl party without a delicious spread is just some people sitting around watching swole millionaires toss a ball around and hit each other on TV.
Just like any party, it's never a bad idea to have a theme. This year, we're going with Tex-Mex, a cuisine focused on big flavors and a fun, communal dining experience. The key is to have enough food to keep you snacking until the halftime show, so we put together a menu of comforting Texas red chili (see the recipe), spicy green chile and tomatillo corn bread (see the recipe) and a towering platter of potato-skin nachos (see the recipe).
"It's likely that Willie Nelson loses a guitar string (or gets charged with possession) whenever a New Yorker confuses Tex-Mex with barbecue," Matt Post, owner of New York City's Javelina, says. People have sadly grown to associate Tex-Mex with melted Velveeta (not that there's anything wrong with Velveeta) and premade taco shells (yes, there is something wrong with premade tacos), which is an unfortunate misconception.
Tex-Mex food derives from the culture of the Tejanos, people of Spanish or Mexican heritage who inhabited the area that would later become the Republic of Texas. Though the line between traditional Mexican food and Tex-Mex is blurry, quintessential Tex-Mex dishes include enchiladas, fajitas and, of course, queso.
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Unfortunately in years past, partly due to an increasing demand for frozen margaritas, there was an influx of restaurants claiming to serve Tex-Mex food, but authentic recipes and fresh ingredients were often an afterthought. As more Texans began moving around the country, there was more demand for authentic Tex-Mex food, and restaurants began to follow suit. Today, authentic Tex-Mex restaurants are thriving, holding their own in a competitive restaurant scene.
As for your party, you don't need to be from Texas to enjoy a bowl of good chili. This rich stew of ground beef with aromatic vegetables and spices is pure comfort. Post shares Javelina's recipe for Texas red chili with us in hopes of further educating the masses. He passionately explains that nine times out of 10, you will not find any beans in a Texas chili, and you will definitely not find one in his.
Vibrant green corn bread is the perfect thing to dip into your chili. The Southern classic is brightened with cilantro and tomatillos, and gets a punch from fresh and roasted green chiles. The final kicker: shredded Monterey Jack cheese mixed into the batter for a sharp bite.
And for the ultimate table centerpiece: potato-skin nachos. By replacing tortilla chips with crispy boats of melted cheese and bacon, nachos gain a texture and flavor they've never had before. Smothered with queso, avocado mash and sour cream, they are sure to be gone before the game even starts.
As long as you have these three dishes—plus beer and tortilla chips—you will have your guests in good spirits, whether your team wins or loses. Or if you just watch the Puppy Bowl all night.
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