What could be more exciting on an autumn Saturday afternoon than crisp clean weather, colourful foliage, college football, the conviviality between good friends, and special zesty tailgate party foods? Maybe re-cataloguing your Rick Springfield record collection? Forget about it.When you pull into a stadium parking lot for a tailgate party, you can feel the excitement in the air, smell those lovely aromas and view the painted faces as fans all congregate, setting up their grills and getting their vittles ready.
About one- third of tailgaters don’t even watch the game, they just love the food and the camaraderie. Game day tailgating is like a picnic with intense excitement.
If you’re in charge of the food, remember that you want to enjoy yourself too and not be
chained to the tailgate.Therefore a simple plan is best. Bring some already prepared
favourites with the grillables. Keep it straightforward but don’t sacrifice taste. Do as
much prep work the day before as possible and on game day you can have a blast with
the other tailgaters.
Food safety is imperative. Remember to keep cold foods cold and hot stuff hot. Make sure you transport your grill and your fuel safely. Set it up away from vehicles and your seating area and make sure the surface is level. Keep water or a fire extinguisher handy in case of emergencies. Don’t walk away from the grill, and remember to dispose of your charcoal safely.
In addition to the food, don’t forget the fixin’s; assorted condiments, disposable tableware, implements as well as paper towels and a couple of garbage bags. Don’t forget ice and beverages.
Here are a couple suggestions for your tailgating excursion:
Mac ‘n Cheese
Hot spicy meatballs and sauce for sandwiches or with toothpicks
Sausage and pepper sandwiches (http://pegasuslegend-whatscookin.blogspot.com/2011/07/upstate-ny-feast-style-sausage-and.html
Grilled chicken (http://gritsandgroceries.blogspot.com/2011/04/yakitori.html)
A favourite of mine for tailgating (or anytime) is: Jambalaya. This complex flavoured, delicious meal in a bowl will make your taste buds glad to be alive.Tailgate with this delectable dish and you might need security to help keep the hoardes of people, intoxicated from the aroma, from devouring the whole thing.
Jambalaya serves 8-10
3 tablespoons lard, bacon fat or vegetable oil
5 boneless, skinless chicken breasts cut into bite-size pieces
1 lb smoked sausage (such as Kielbasa) diced
1 lb ham, sliced and diced
2 tablespoons Creole seasoning; your choice or one I use: http://gritsandgroceries.blogspot.com/2011/04/etouffee-makes-me-say-hooray.html
3 cups chopped onions
2 cups chopped green bell pepper (capsicum)
1 cup chopped celery
3 tablespoons minced garlic
1 cup chopped tomatoes (canned is fine)
2 cups chicken stock or broth
1 15ounce can tomato puree
2 bay leaves
Dash of Worcestershire sauce
2 cups of raw rice
- Fry the meats in the fat for about 5 minutes. Stir in half of the seasoning.
- Add the vegetables and cook till soft.
- Add the remaining ingredients except seasoning and bring to the boil.
- Simmer for 20 minutes and taste for seasoning, adding remainder if desired.
- Taste rice, if not quite tender, cook a few more minutes, adding water if needed
Refrigerate until you get ready to go. Re-heat in oven or microwave and bring to the stadium already hot. If you use a cast iron dutch oven, put it on the grill to keep hot.
This is a dish everyone loves and a great meaty side dish for grilled meat. You can adjust the seasoning and of course add hot sauce on each individual serving. I personally like dried crushed red pepper on a bowl of this great concoction.
You could add one pound of peeled and deveined shrimp after 10 minutes of simmering if you want to; just use a little more water or stock in this case.
No matter what foods you choose to use when tailgating, this exciting time of year makes them especially mouth-watering. Try this Jambalaya; even if you don’t like football you can still have a good time.