Superbowl Specials Series: Cajun Chili Cups
I should state straightaway that I am NOT ordinarily a football fan at all – most years I don’t even know who’s in the Superbowl until after it happens, if ever. But this year, a friend of mine is absolutely ecstatic about the fact that the New Orleans Saints are playing, as he’s been a loyal fan his whole life (a Louisiana native) and this is apparently their first time making it all the way! I also happen to adore New Orleans and hope to go back there many more times in my life, for so many reasons, not the least of which is the cuisine.
So this is my tribute to Chuck and his beloved Saints. It’s somewhere between a chili and a gumbo, and I hope Cajun purists don’t balk at my machinations. I started out planning to use wonton wrappers (3 square inches), and if you had a mini-muffin pan, this would work, though I would recommend dicing the sausage instead of slicing it, so the filling won’t be too bulky for its crunchy little container. Instead, I used 6 inch eggroll wrappers, and cut them down to 5 square inches. I then cut the excess strips into smaller strips, brushed with oil, salt and pepper, and baked them simultaneously on a baking sheet – they could either be used as topping, or as a little snack on their own. I also STRONGLY recommend making the chili the night before, as I do any chili, to give the flavors a chance to develop.
CAJUN CHILI CUPS
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, peeled and diced
1 green bell pepper, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 tablespoon ground cumin
2 teaspoons thyme
1 bay leaf
Â½ teaspoon cayenne pepper sauce (such as Tabasco)
2 cans (15 ounces) diced tomatoes
about 1 pound Andouille style tofu, turkey or chicken sausage (fully cooked)
10 ounce box frozen cut okra, defrosted
2 cans red beans (such as kidney or adzuki beans)
salt to taste
18 eggroll wrappers, cut down to 5 square inches
Heat oil in a large stockpot. Add the Trinity: the onions, celery and green pepper, and saute until softened considerably, on the edge of browning. Add garlic and cook 2-3 more minutes. Add in diced tomatoes and all herbs and spices. Bring mixture to a boil, then add in your choice of sausage, red beans, and okra.
Adjust seasoning at will – I kept the spices a little on the conservative side in order to allow for multiple tolerance levels, assuming you’re feeding a group, so I recommend making a bottle of cayenne pepper sauce available for guests to dose the completed product themselves at their own risk. Reduce to a simmer and cook for at LEAST 45 minutes, stirring occasionally. As stated above, letting it meld overnight is ideal.
When you’re ready to make the cups, preheat the oven to 350. Trim the eggroll wrappers to fit and spray or brush lightly with canola or olive oil. Spray the muffin pans (you’ll need one and a half) with nonstick spray as well. Place each wrapper in a muffin cup and pleat up the sides; doesn’t have to be too fussy/tidy, just somewhat even and forming a nice bowl.
Here’s where you have a choice: In my original version, I spooned the cooled chili in from yesterday and baked them together. This resulted in a moister and thus less sturdy bottom (though just as tasty). The better choice would have been to bake the cups by themselves, so they’re crisp and browned all the way through, then reheat the chili (if you made it yesterday, though you could make the cups while the chili cooks on the same day if you’re pressed for time) and spoon into the finished cups. Either way, you’ll want to bake the cups, and the extra strips for snacks if you’re making them, for about 8-10 minutes. Garnish with a dollop of sour cream, dash of cayenne pepper, and serve with cayenne sauce on the side.
Dare I officially align myself? Oh, what the hey. GEAUX SAINTS!
Other Superbowl Eats:
Healthy Superbowl Recipes from Mighty Foods
South Beach Friendly Party Fare from Kalyn’s Kitchen
Stovetop Spinach Dip from White on Rice Couple
Beer and Cheese Cupcakes with Bacon Cheddar Frosting (really!) from Cupcake Project
Gluten-Free Superbowl Recipes from Elena’s Pantry
– posted by Anne