New Englanders have been spoiled with the New England Patriots playing in the Super Bowl so many times, making viewing parties extra festive. But not this year. So Mainers — along with the hometown team — will be watching the game Sunday night while noshing on a wide array of party fare. No matter who is playing, the food is supposed to be fun, and wholesomeness is not the main point.
That’s been true for quite a few years. You can tell the big game is coming up by watching supermarket displays start to feature various alarm-level chilis, chips, dips, refried beans, cheese, chicken wings, nuggets, sour cream and avocados, plus lots of beer to wash it down. I ran into an island neighbor at a mainland store several years ago. Her grocery basket was full of prepared Tex-Mex food of all stripes, and a famously good cook herself, she was embarrassed to meet me. “This is all for my husband’s football friends,” she said, “He’s having a party for the Super Bowl and likes to cook for them with this stuff.”
A few weeks ago, a friend of mine introduced me to this version of a chili dog, and I thought right away that it was perfect for the big game. You need really good mashed potatoes, best if homemade from scratch with butter and milk, salt and pepper. You need a hearty chili that’s meaty and/or beany — homemade if you can, canned if you must. (You might be one of those organized people who makes an extra large batch of chili and freezes some in smaller containers for another day.) Get sturdy rolls similar to sub rolls. The cheese on top is optional.
Toast the rolls. Grill the hot dogs, put them together and add a smear of mashed potatoes and a spoonful of chili right down the length of the dog. You’ll see you don’t need an awful lot of potatoes or chili, because otherwise you couldn’t pick it up without making a mess.
If you cannot live without ketchup or mustard on hot dogs, make sure you adorn the dog with them right before you add the mashed potatoes.
While this one has a roll, it reminded me of a knife and fork version of stuffed hot dog my island neighbor Wendy Hammet makes that she learned from her Grammie. To make Grammie Dogs, she splits the hot dogs lengthwise, then adds mashed potatoes and grated cheese and heats them so the cheese melts. Served on a plate, it makes a homemade fast food supper. On Sunday, you certainly could turn the roll version into this one but then you would have more dishes to wash after the game, and who needs that?
I’m looking for milkless chowder. A few years ago, I heard about a version of chowder (clam or fish) that could be found somewhere in the Milbridge area that was made with broth but no milk. I would dearly love to hear from someone in the area who could tell me about it and/or share a recipe.
Super Stacked Hot Dog
1 hot dog
1 hot dog roll
A scoop of mashed potatoes
A spoonful of chili
Grated cheese, optional
1. Grill the hot dog to taste.
2. Toast the roll on a lightly greased fry pan.
3. Put the grilled hot dog into the toasted roll.
4. Spread the mashed potato over the hot dog, then spread chili to taste over that.
5. Add optional cheese and run briefly under the broiler to melt the cheese.