Game Day Recipes for Your Party Spread

CIA's vegetarian chili with winter squash makes a great football-season dish!

The Big Game is almost here! If you’re hosting the party, you can cook to impress by incorporating trends found in today’s American cuisine into a couple of Game Day classics: chili and guacamole. But first, what do we mean by “today’s American cuisine?”

It’s Global
Increasingly, the flavors of our cuisine are the flavors of the world. Global influences are changing American tastes, and as we are connected to the world more than ever before through travel and technology, previously far-flung food cultures now seem familiar and accessible.

It’s Authentic
More and more, as we come to recognize that food is personal and that our cuisine defines who we are, we’re choosing authenticity over convenience. We want to feel connected to our food and know where it comes from. And so we’re turning to simple, well-prepared foods that use fresh regional and seasonal ingredients.

It’s Democratic
It used to be that our concept of great food was limited to expensive gourmet (usually French) cuisine served in formal restaurants with white tablecloths. Not anymore. CIA President Dr. Tim Ryan says that’s because we’re in an era of food democracy. “Consumers today expect an endless variety of great foods served quickly, anywhere, anytime, at prices that are affordable to everyone.” A perfect example is the popularity of small plates like Mexican antojitos (meaning “little cravings”) in the U.S. These flavorful handheld street foods are typically built around tortillas, and are enjoyed by every socioeconomic niche in Mexico.

It’s Perfect for the Big Game
Add a taste of authenticity and adventure to your party menu with these recipes from the CIA—they’re sure to become new fan favorites!

VEGETARIAN CHILI WITH WINTER SQUASH AND WILD MUSHROOMS

Makes 12 servings
Ingredients

  • ¾ ounce (approximately 5 to 6) dried porcini or shiitake mushrooms
  • 1½ cups hot water
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 3/4 cup (approximately 1 medium) diced white onion
  • 3/4 cup (approximately 1) diced green pepper
  • 3/4 cup (approximately 1) diced red pepper
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 5 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1¼ pounds (approximately 1 medium-sized) butternut squash, peeled and diced ¾-inch
  • 1 28-ounce can chopped tomatoes, drained and rinsed
  • 1 each 15-ounce can black beans, pinto beans, and garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
  • Salt, as needed
  • Sugar, as needed

Garnishes

  • 1 cup shredded Jack cheese
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • 3 scallions, sliced
  • 1/3 cup chopped cilantro

Directions

  1. Soak the mushrooms in hot water for 20 minutes. Once softened, remove from the water and dice finely, keeping both the mushrooms and the soaking liquid.
  2. Heat half of the olive oil in a 6-quart sauce pot over medium heat. Add the onion and peppers, and sauté until onions are translucent and just beginning to caramelize, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic and continue to cook over moderate heat until garlic is aromatic, about 6 minutes more. Remove from pan and hold on the side.
  3. Add the remaining olive oil to the pan and heat. Add the chopped mushrooms and sauté on high heat until they begin to brown slightly, about 5 minutes. Make a well in the center of the pan, add the chili powder and cumin, and sauté briefly until aromatic and the spices mix with the oils in the pan—do not allow to blacken or burn! Add the tomato paste and cook over moderate heat until it caramelizes slightly, about 2 minutes.
  4. Add the squash and cook for 5 minutes. Add reserved mushroom liquid and additional water if needed. Bring to a simmer, and continue to cook for an additional 15 minutes.
  5. Add the chopped tomatoes, assorted beans, and the reserved onion, garlic, and pepper mixture. Simmer gently for 15 minutes, or until squash is tender, occasionally skimming and discarding any foam that rises to the surface. Watch the consistency of the chili, and if it gets dry and threatens to scorch, you can add extra water by the 1/4 cup. If, on the other hand, the chili is too liquid, cooking over a higher heat briefly will reduce some of the excess liquid.
  6. Season the chili to taste with salt. If the flavor is at all bitter, adjust with a pinch of sugar.
  7. Garnish with shredded Jack cheese, sour cream, sliced scallions, and chopped cilantro, and serve immediately.
  8. If prepared in advance, allow the chili to cool in a shallow pan, then store covered in the refrigerator for up to 5 days or in the freezer for up to a month. To serve, reheat the chili, adjusting the consistency with additional water as needed.

Nutritional information, per serving—Calories: 222, Protein: 8.5 g, Carbohydrates: 27.5 g, Fiber: 7 g, Total Fat: 9.5 g, Saturated Fat: 3.5 g, Sodium: 360 mg, Cholesterol: 15 mg

CIA's all-American game day recipe for guacamole is perfect for football season parties.GUACAMOLE

Makes 8 servings

Ingredients

  • ¼ cup red onion, chopped
  • 5 Hass avocados
  • 1/4 cup lime juice
  • 1/3 cup (approximately 1) diced Roma tomato (optional)
  • ¼ cup (approximately 4) thinly sliced scallions
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
  • ½ teaspoon Tabasco® sauce, or as needed (see Chef’s Tip)
  • Salt, as needed
  • Freshly ground black pepper, as needed

Directions

  1. Soak the red onion in cold water for 5 minutes to take out the “bite.”
  2. Cut the avocados in half and carefully remove the pits.
  3. Cut the avocado into large cubes and scoop from the skin with a kitchen spoon.
  4. Place the avocado chunks in a large mixing bowl and mash with a fork.
  5. Drain the chopped onion.
  6. Add the lime juice, tomato (if using), scallions, red onion, and cilantro, and adjust seasoning with the Tabasco sauce, salt, and pepper.
  7. Refrigerate the guacamole in a tightly covered storage container. It is best to make guacamole the same day it is to be served.

Chef’s tip: If you prefer, you can substitute 1 tablespoon seeded and minced jalapeño for the Tabasco sauce, or use both jalapeño and Tabasco depending on how spicy you want the guacamole to be. If using jalapeño, add it at the same time you add the lime juice.

Try Seafood Guacamole: Add ½ pound (about ½ cup) of chopped, cooked shrimp. Dress with additional lime juice and chopped cilantro.

Nutritional information, per serving—Calories: 149, Protein: 2 g, Carbohydrates: 9 g, Fiber: 6 g, Total Fat: 13 g, Saturated Fat: 2 g, Sodium: 93 mg, Cholesterol: 0 mg