Important football games are one of my favorite food holidays.
The first game of the year in August is like an open floodgate of calories. Local session beers and respectably strong margaritas. Fresh tortillas with shredded chicken and alllll the toppings. Wings varying in levels of hotness: from mild to I-can’t-feel-my-tongue. Chips of every flavor, shape, and level of scoopability are posted up in strategic positions around the house. Next to each – a dip of equal variation… we’re talking queso, guacamole, salsa, chile con queso, spinach artichoke, queso with guacamole and chorizo. Lots of queso.
It’s one of the most wonderful times of the year. A time where you let yourself indulge on all of the horrid things you had been avoiding all swimsuit season. All for the sake of sitting around a ginormous TV for a game of physical brutality and beer commercials, surrounded by men shouting at players on the screen, and sharing a blanket with the one other girl who will read Martha Stewart Living with you while your husbands forget you exist.
Obviously, the food is my favorite part about the game. While the boy is fond of it, his real passion for football actually comes from the game itself. My handsome philosophy major loves to dissect each game, each defense, each offense, each play call, each spread offense (that’s a thing, right?)… When he gets to mix sports analysis with local craft beer, he’s kind of the happiest person in the world. He divulged to me that it would be super duper amazing if I spent one evening watching a game with him. No Pinterest, no food blogging research (also known as Pinterest), no distractions. Literally sit, watch, and invest my mind into a game.
I said yes, because I love him. To my surprise, it was actually pretty fun. Despite growing up deeply immersed in the world of football (#Texas), I never dove beyond the culture of it and into the intricate hows and whys of the game. I’ll probably remain a mostly cultural bystander until our hypothetical sons play one day, but I’m dipping my toes in slowly.
A few weeks ago, Kevin initiated a countdown of college and NFL games left. It only cause some tension in our marriage when he was forgoing social events for the sake of those last games… But look at where we are now! On the cusp of the biggest, last game of the season. And ooooooh how we shall celebrate. With carbs.
These fries are my answer to the annual what-should-I-bring-to-a-Superbowl-party-that-will-make-everyone-hate-themselves question. And it’s a very, very good answer.
You start with fries. I chose to use up some Russet potatoes from the 80-pound bag hibernating in our pantry and bake them instead of fry them, using the soak and bake method. I chose baking them because while it may take a little bit longer, the mess is far less than frying, and it hinders just a bit of the guilt of the rest of this recipe that is raging in my mind. But if you’d prefer to forego any and all extra effort in making the base of this dish, support your local grocery store by buying thick frozen fries.
Place fresh, warm fries in a cast iron skillet. Sprinkle with a hearty helping of shredded sharp cheddar. Drizzle with a brave amount of Srirachi. Top with a dollop of sour cream, crispy chopped bacon, and fragrant cilantro. Then watch as it disappears.
Remember the Focaccia last week, where I embarked on my “carb is a vessel for everything” manifesto? This is Exhibit B. Every bite is unique, topped with a different flavor, all of them deliciously satisfying. And perfect to hold me over until these guilty food pleasures can recommence in 7 months.