Super Bowl Sunday. You invite friends over to watch the game. You offer pizza, chips, cheese-flavored somethings, coleslaw slathered in BBQ sauce, etc. They point out your culinary immaturity, swat the basket of chicken sticks out of your hands, leave, never return.
In reality, Super Bowl Sunday does not demand sophistication. According to the National Chicken Council's 2014 Wing Report, Americans are set to consume 1.25 billion chicken wings this February second, regardless of who wins. And Domino's Pizza has tallied their output for this special occasion at 11 million slices of pizza, 80 percent more than on the average Sunday.
But let's throw out that saturated, Saturnalian stereotype. Why not prepare something yourself, you self-sufficient badass? You can still have chicken, but try a yogurt-and-beet marinade (so healthful!) in place of mystery sauces, and try grilling instead of frying. Exotic enough for your hipster-convert college buddy, but not so exotic you embarrass your Wisconsonite cousin.
OK...What Did You Have in Mind?
Enter: Tandoori-spiced chicken. This recipe makes a good substitute for takeout wings, but you can use any part of the chicken you want (and it doesn't have to come from your personal free-range organic farm). Bake, marinade, drain away the excess fat, sprinkle salt, spritz some lemon. Chef Biju Thomas recommends using two pounds of drumsticks or wings, with bones. Not terribly difficult—but terribly, terribly classy.
First, you'll want to prepare the marinade, since you'll have to let the chicken soak in that at least four hours before baking.
1 cup low-fat plain yogurt
1 small red beet peeled and cut into large cubes
2-4 garlic cloves minced
Fresh ginger about the size of 1/2 your thumb, peeled and minced
1 tablespoon of Garam Masala, or your favorite curry powder, to your taste
1 tsp coarse salt
Make it as spicy as you like by adding cayenne or chili paste.
In a blender, pulse the above ingredients into a thick, red paste. Then, thoroughly coat the chicken pieces in the marinade.
1) Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees.
2) Place the chicken and marinade in a deep pan and bake for one hour. Then, carefully drain out all the excess liquid.
3) Finish cooking chicken on a hot grill, turning once. Or: place chicken back in oven, set to broil. (The chicken will cook quickly, requiring just a few minutes of direct heart, until you can see a few charred marks.)
4) Squeeze a fresh lemon and sprinkle coarse salt over the top of the chicken.
5) Serve with your favorite dressing or more yogurt.