My second favorite day of the year is upon us. (We all know Thanksgiving is my number one.) Not-so-oddly enough, the Super Bowl features many of the same desirable attributes as Turkey Day, namely food and football, in that order.
Don’t get me wrong, I love a good game and this year promises lots of drama. I suppose since I’ve lived in NYC for over 5 years (WHOA.) I should root for the Giants, though as a longtime Redskins fan it pains me a little to support a division rival. But I also avidly dislike Bill Belichick and the Patriots. Classic rock-and-a-hard-place situation.
So instead, I’ll focus on the food. And thankfully, there’s a lot of amazing-ness to go around. Wings, nachos, dips, burgers, fries — all of it coronary-inducing and yet so.friggin.good. Seriously, I have worked out every morning and walked the 5 miles home from work every day this week, just so I can gorge on everything almost guilt-free.
Since last year’s wings were a huge success, I had to go big
or go home this year (in a repeat of last year, I will be going home for the big game again this year, but definitely not because I’m a big disaster in life and need to get a new driver’s license). Since beer and cheese are two pillars of Super Bowl staples, I decided, inspired by one of my favorite neighborhood bars, to make beer cheese.
The beer cheese at Earl’s is one of my favorite cheap eats in New York. Six dollars buys you plenty of warm buttered toasted baguette slices, which you rub with a garlic clove and then top with tangy, creamy, garlic-y, slightly spicy cheddar-y goodness — god I love this stuff.
Making it at home proved to be difficult and first and then embarrassingly easy. There aren’t a ton of recipes out there, but thankfully I found one at Mighty Appetite, a food blog of the Washington Post. I also learned that beer cheese is a Kentucky Derby staple — who knew?
Grating the cheese was also a chore, but once that’s done, the entire process takes zero effort. Simply dump a bunch of ingredients into a food processor and let the machine do all the work for you. The best part is, it tastes better a day or two after making, so you don’t even have to work on Super Bowl Sunday. Tell me that’s not the best thing you’ve ever heard.
Also, the most exciting part of all of this was that this beer cheese tastes almost exactly like Earl’s. So I’ve also now saved you a trip to NYC/the Upper East Side! You can thank me by making me some beer cheese.
Adapted from Mighty Appetite
I changed almost all of the ingredient amounts here, to kick up all of the flavors. It’s more traditional in Kentucky to serve it with crackers or saltines, but buttered, toasted baguette? How could you ever pass that up?
– 9 ounces Altbier or Kölsch (I used Sünner Kölsch)*
– 16 ounces extra-sharp cheddar cheese, grated
– 4 garlic cloves, minced finely**
– 1 teaspoon dry mustard
– 1 teaspoon onion powder
– 1 teaspoon Tabasco (or your hot sauce of choice)
– 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
– 1 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
– 1/2 teaspoon salt
– a pinch of cayenne
*Alternately, if those are too hard to find, you can use an IPA, though shy away from anything too hoppy.
**This makes for a pretty fierce garlicky kick — use less if you’re not so into garlic.
1) Pour the beer into a glass and let go flat.
2) Mix all of the ingredients (other than the beer) in a food processor and pulse to blend slightly. Turn the food processor on and add the beer in slowly, until everything blends evenly. The mixture may be soft, but it will firm up in the fridge. Serve with buttered, toasted baguette.
Note: This recipe is best made 1-2 days in advance, so that the flavors have a chance to meld together.
Note (from 2/2/13): If beer cheese ain’t your thang, I’ve got some other game day recipes over here. Make them all and then invite me over, ‘kay?