Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Tailgating Food

My small high school in Alaska didn't have a football team. I did wriggle into my snowpants and boots, gloves and hat once to sit in frozen bleachers for a neighboring school's football game. It snowed. I mostly hung out at the hot chocolate stand.

At North Dakota State University and Minnesota State University, Moorhead I was able to get into a few games for free. I was able, but I never did exercise that privelege. I did appreciate the NDSU marching band tromping around campus all afternoon rousing school spirit on game days.

Now, I go to the gym Sunday afternoons when football dominates the television. There's just something about Faith Hill in a black spandex dress singing like she's gonna go tackle someone that drives me out of my own home.

When I get home from working out, Faith Hill is gone (thank goodness) but the roar of fans and familiar voice of Bob Costas fills the house. This is the same sound I remember filling the living room when I was a kid. Dad would relaxed in the lazy boy with his guitar, playing along with all the commercial jingles. When the game came back on he would develope a case of turets, shouting and laughing without warning. Meanwhile, Mom was in the kitchen, filling the house with football season smells - CHILI!

So even though I know nothing about tailgating food and I don't care that much (at all) about football, I do know my husband, like my dad, enjoy a game not only for the touchdowns but also for the beef, beans, tomatoe, cumin, and chili powder.

I like my chili served over a baked potato, the way they dished it at my high school basketball games (now there's a sport I can get into).

As easily toted to a tailgate party as served up while in your favorite chair, my Black Bean Chili is not only satisfying and belly warming, but healthy and delicious.

Filled with beans for fiber, a little meat for flavor and texture, a bit of tomatoes, and a lot of mild spice, this chili is the perfect heart healthy, fall football season food. Mild, family friendly chili can be heat tailored to different palates with chili sauce. We like Chahoula but you can use Tobasco or other favorite hot/chili sauce.

6 Baking potatoes
1 lb black beans
1 lb lean hamburger
3 onions, diced
1 red bell pepper, seeded and diced
1 1/2 cups stewed tomatoes
1/2 cup tomatoe paste
3 cloves garlic, minced
4 tbsp cumin
1 tbsp chili powder
1 tsp red pepper/cayanne
1 tsp allspice
drizzle of canola oil
salt to taste (optional)
chili sauce (optional)
1 cup monterey jack or pepper jack cheese, grated (optional)

1. Cook beans. I never think far enough in advance so I use a speed soak method that takes about 3 hours to go from dry to cooked bean. Pros - it's quick. Cons - the skins will split on many of the beans so they won't be perfect for salads, but they'll still work great for burritos, tacos, soups, etc.

HOW: Rinse beans, picking out any funk, and place in a pot with 6 - 8 cups water. Bring to boil, cover, and remove from heat. Let sit for about 1 hour. Drain beans, place in a pot with fresh water, bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until tender,  (about 1 hour). Drain and set a side. If you are saving beans for later, rinse with cold water, drizzle with a bit of oil, and refridgerate.

2. Preheat oven to 425 degrees Farenheit. Wash and dry potatoes. Poke all over with a fork. Wrap in tinfoil, place on a baking sheet and put in oven for about 1hr.
3. Meanwhile, drizzle oil into a large pot over medium high heat. Add onions, red pepper, and garlic. Saute until tender. Add meat, tomatoe paste, and spices stirring frequently while meat browns.

4. When meat is browned, add beans and cover with water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for at least 30 minutes while flavors come together. Add more water as needed. Salt to taste.
5. When potatoes are done, remove from foil, split down the middle, top with a generous amount of chili and sprinkle of cheese. For those with asbestoes mouths, heat can be added with your favorite chili sauce.



  1. Lindsey, that's some tasty-looking tailgating food! I love the chili! I remember football games in Anchorage -- my school had a team, and they did pretty well the years I paid attention, but I have only learned to appreciate football since marrying a Packer fan, from Packer Country, and attending a game at Lambeau! I'd love to have this spread for the next game! :)

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  3. Love the black bean chile! It's definitely chile weather around here. And thanks for the how to on quick beans. I always seem to remember at 4am that I was supposed to soak beans the night before and then have to replan the dinner menu!

  4. I LOVE chili over potatoes, I'm sure I will have a new favorite with this version!