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Super Bowl party tips from Top Chef Richard Blais

Ok, so you are hosting a Super Bowl party. I'll assume that you want to actually watch the game, at least with a medium interest level, mainly because you are reading this on, and as a frequent visitor to myself (read: I hit refresh every 30 seconds to see what just happened on that last play), I'm intimately aware of your fandom.

So first off, make it easy. This isn't the time of year to all of a sudden start running the triple read option in the kitchen. As a chef today, you need a consistent ground game. This isn't the time to be Chip Kelly in the kitchen. Three yards and a pile of dust will win the day today.

Select a crowd-pleasing menu.

My friend from San Francisco made butternut squash risotto last year at a party and served it with Chardonnay. Please, everyone, save that for the Oscars party.


Everyone loves them. Except my wife, but she's a yoga instructor and a big Pete Carroll fan, so that explains it. Give them just enough excitement, the equivalent of a jet sweep every once in awhile. So maybe, try my recipe for tandoori chicken wings. Spicy, sweet, and just enough like Buffalo wings to keep everyone content. Remember, your guests are basically a bunch of diva wide receivers, and you have to distribute to all to keep everyone happy. You don't want your uncle getting all, "C'mon man," on the sidelines of your kitchen, and then having to discuss that moment with the media afterward. Which, if that does happen, I suggest this canned response:

"There wasn't really an issue with Uncle Eddie. He's just passionate about food and wanted queso dip and we all want to win, and sometimes you need that moment on a team or in a family. It's really a non-issue. Next question."

Ok, maybe I'm really the Pete Carroll fan.

Also, mise en place. It's a fancy French term for putting things in place and doing the prep ahead of time. Consider it the first 15 scripted plays of the game. Ribs for example. You make them on Friday or Saturday and just finish them on the grill. DCOS! Don't Cook on Sunday! You want to just lay things out and enjoy the party, not be working the party. I, however, am available to work. I do weddings and bar mitzvahs, and would do a Super Bowl party. But I'm expensive... :/

What's not expensive? These lamb ribs listed below, which feature 'Denver Cut Lamb Ribs,' so for you Broncos fans ... I'm sorry. Just kidding. Don't like lamb? Just yell out "OMAHA" and use pork ribs or check down and order take out.

Ok, foods in good shape, but remember it's about entertainment. Plan a few activities for the young kids.

Set up a safe play area for them, and I'm cringing a bit here, but you have to respect the halftime show. A few years ago, I went to the Super Bowl and sat next to a lady who I won't mention (Antonia Lofaso from "Top Chef") and it was her FIRST FOOTBALL GAME! Ever! Besides having to explain to her on the first possession an intentional grounding safety, ugh, I had the epiphany that people really love the halftime show. So play to your crowd here. Turn it up. Play a few fun games. Like guessing how long the segment will be. How many songs they will perform? And whether or not Justin Timberlake shows up. God, we all can hope...

Hopefully, it's a good game. If not, there's always a friendly game of Nerf touch outside beckoning.

Lamb Ribs in Malt and Chipotle

Serves 4
2 full racks Denver cut (baby back) lamb ribs
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2 12-ounce bottles Goya Malta or other malt liquor
1/2 cup honey
1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce
2 dried chipotle morita peppers or 1 tablespoon canned chipotles in adobo
2-inch piece fresh ginger, unpeeled and sliced into coins
4 scallions, sliced, for garnish, optional
1 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds, for garnish, optional

  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Season the ribs on both sides with salt and pepper. In a large roasting pan, mix the malt liquor, honey, soy sauce, chipotles and ginger together until well combined. Set the ribs, curved side up into the pan and transfer to the oven. Roast until very tender and a knife meets no resistance when inserted between the ribs, 2 1/2 to 3 hours.
  1. Remove the pan from the oven. The liquid should be thick and syrupy. If not, put the pan over a burner over medium heat and simmer the liquid until very thick. Glaze the ribs with the sauce and keep warm until ready to serve.
  1. To serve, transfer the rib racks to a cutting board, separate into individual ribs, and place them on a serving platter. Glaze them again lightly with some of the sauce and sprinkle the scallions and sesame seeds over the top, if using. Pour the sauce into a bowl and serve alongside the ribs.

Ricard Blais is a successful chef, restaurateur, cookbook author and winner of Bravo's "Top Chef All-Stars." You can follow him on Twitter at @RichardBlais.

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