CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- We're a week and a half away from Super Bowl XLV, the largest U.S. sporting event of the year and probably right up there with Thanksgiving and Christmas in the food fest category. Since this game pits the Green Bay Packers against the Pittsburgh Steelers, party planners will search for recipes that reflect the food traditions of those two cities.
Wisconsin produces more than 600 varieties and 2.6 billion pounds of cheese annually and supplies a quarter of all domestic cheese sold. Cheese must be on the menu.
The ancestors of many Green Bay and Pittsburgh long-time residents hailed from Eastern Europe in the early 20th century. Wisconsin sausage houses produce sausage in many forms, including summer sausages, frankfurters, bratwurst and all the other wursts and kielbasa. Giant sausages run the bases between innings at the Milwaukee Brewers games.
Bratwurst and sauerkraut are commonly served in both areas, so the party should include some form of sausage and cabbage.
The Slavic-American communities introduced pierogies to Pittsburgh. Filled with potato, cheese, sauerkraut, ground meat or fruit, the dumplings are so popular that the Pittsburgh Pirates adopted them as honorary mascots. Pierogies are time-consuming, but not difficult, to make. They're also found frozen in your local grocer's freezer.
Boiled, sautéed or fried, savory pierogies are most frequently served with sautéed onions and peppers. Purists served them with sour cream, but applesauce, marinara, sweet and sour and fruit sauces are also popular.
Primanti Brothers Restaurants in Pittsburgh famously top their sandwiches with fries and coleslaw. Order a steak salad in Pittsburgh, and you're likely to find hot French fries on that as well. So add fries to any sandwiches or salads you serve, if you're a Steelers fan.
This year's Super Bowl spread may be as simple as a platter of assorted cheeses and summer sausages, grilled bratwurst and sauerkraut, and pierogies served with sour cream. Or use those ingredients in Beer Spread with Wisconsin Swiss and Cheddar Cheeses, Sweet and Spicy Bratwurst Bites or Sesame-Crusted Mini Pierogies.
Wash it all down with Iron City Beer or IC Light, Rolling Rock or Duquesne Pilsner, all brewed in Pittsburgh, or any brews from Wisconsin's numerous microbreweries.
Reach Julie Robinson at jul...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-1230.
Beer Spread with Wisconsin Swiss and Cheddar Cheeses
2 cups (8 ounces) sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
2 cups (8 ounces) Swiss cheese, shredded
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 cup dark beer
Assorted rye or pumpernickel crackers, breadsticks, or rye bread rounds
BRING cheeses to room temperature; place in a food processor bowl fitted with metal blade. Add Worcestershire sauce, mustard, and garlic. Pulse until combined. Add beer and process until smooth, 2 to 3 minutes. Pack in crocks or decorative jars; refrigerate overnight to blend flavors.
BRING to room temperature and serve with crackers or bread rounds.
Pumpernickel Wisconsin Cheese Bowl
This is Wisconsin's take on the Knorr spinach dip served in a pumpernickel bowl
2 8-ounce packages cream cheese, softened
1 3-ounce package cream cheese, softened
1 1/2 cups (6 ounces) shredded Wisconsin Cheddar cheese
5 tablespoons butter, softened
2 tablespoons minced onion
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 loaf (14 inches) or 3 loaves (4 inches round each) pumpernickel
COMBINE cheeses, butter, onion and mustard until well blended. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
CUT a slice from the top of loaf; hollow out center, forming a bowl. Cut the center pieces into cubes; toast at 375° F for 10 minutes.
FILL the pumpernickel bowl(s) with the cheese dip mixture. Serve with pumpernickel bread cubes, crackers and fresh vegetables.
Sweet and Spicy Bratwurst
2 pounds of bratwurst, cut in 1-inch pieces
1 medium onion, chopped
2 tablespoons oil
1 cup beer
1/4 cup brown sugar
4 teaspoons cornstarch
1/4 cup cider vinegar
1/4 cup yellow mustard
4 teaspoons horseradish
BROWN bratwurst and onions in oil. Remove with slotted spoon and drain oil. Return brats and onions to pan and add beer. Simmer for 10 minutes.
MIX brown sugar, cornstarch, cider vinegar, yellow mustard and horseradish in a small mixing bowl. Add to beer, brat and onion mixture.
COOK until thick and bubbly, stirring constantly. Put meat and beer mixture in crock-pot and cook on low for 3 hours, adding beer if necessary.