The Perfect Super Bowl Menu: Secret Ingredient Chili and Brown-Butter Cornbread

In chilly January, it is nice to look forward to a casual dinner with friends who enjoy football. This menu will serve eight, so if you are expecting a crowd, double the chili and cornbread recipes.

When the guests arrive, have an assortment of appetizers ready to serve. Have lots of ice-cold beer on hand that will go well with the chili. In fact, the secret ingredient in this hearty chili is indeed a bottle of beer. The chili may be made the day before and refrigerated, then reheated right before serving. Assemble a chili bar and have your guests serve themselves. Keep the chili warm in a crock-pot with a large ladle and place the toppings in bowls with serving spoons to the side. Cut the warm cornbread into squares in the pan and have a small square spatula on hand for serving. Set the honey butter to the side of the cornbread. If you choose not to make the cornbread, purchase corn muffins, then simply reheat them in a 350 degree oven for 10 minutes.

The morning of the party, bake your favorite brownie recipe in a foil-lined pan and let it cool to room temperature. Use the foil to remove the brownies to a cutting board. On a piece of cardboard, draw an oval shape of a football (2 or 3 inches). Use it as a guide by placing over the brownie and cut around it with a paring knife. Frost the top of the brownies with dark chocolate frosting and use a tube of white frosting to pipe on the “laces” in the middle.

The Perfect Super Bowl Menu:

  • Guacamole, salsa and warm tortilla chips
  • Buffalo chicken wings and/or jalapeno poppers
  • Secret Ingredient Chili (recipe below)
  • Brown-Butter Cornbread with Honey Butter (recipe follows)
  • “Football” Brownies

Secret Ingredient Chili

Serves 8

  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 2 pounds boneless beef chuck roast, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1-1/4 teaspoons salt
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 jalapeno chili peppers or 1 large poblano chili pepper, seeded, finely chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 (28 ounce) can diced tomatoes in juice, undrained
  • 1 (12 ounce) bottle or can beer (not dark beer)
  • 2 (15 or 16 ounce) cans pinto beans, black beans or one of each, drained
  • Optional toppings: chopped cilantro or green onion, shredded cheddar or pepperjack cheese, sour cream and hot pepper sauce


1. Heat oil in a large saucepan or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add beef and cook, stirring often, until beef is no longer pink.

2. Sprinkle chili powder, cumin, oregano and salt over beef, stir well and cook 5 minutes. Add onion, chili peppers and garlic and cook 5 minutes. Stir in tomatoes and beer and bring to a boil over high heat.

3. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer 1 hour and 15 minutes or until beef is fork tender. Stir in beans and simmer uncovered 15 minutes or until chili is slightly thickened.


Brown-Butter Cornbread with Honey Butter

Serves 9

  • 3/4 cup butter, divided
  • 1-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup yellow corn meal
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup whole milk or buttermilk
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 cup frozen corn kernels, thawed (optional)
  • 1/4 cup honey


1. Heat oven to 400 degrees.

2. Place 1/4 cup of the butter in an 8” or 9” baking pan. Let the rest of the butter stand at room temperature. Place the pan in the oven and bake 3 to 4 minutes or until butter is sizzling and beginning to brown. Remove from oven and let cool.

3. Combine flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder and salt in a large bowl. Stir in milk, eggs and melted butter from the pan just until dry ingredients are moistened. If desired, stir in corn.

4. Spread batter into the baking pan. Bake 20 to 22 minutes or until cornbread is golden brown.

5. For honey butter, mix reserved softened butter with honey. Serve with warm corn bread.


Karen Levin is a freelance recipe developer in Highland Park whose entire family loves watching football.

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