Since moving considerably south of the friends with whom I have traditionally watched football, I’ve usually been on my own for the Super Bowl – and this year was no exception. But I wasn’t going to allow that to get in the way of planning and executing a menu that would be worthy of the Big Game. While my wife is nowhere near being a football fan, she was happy to get in on the food side of the day.
I began the preparation early in the week by making a red gravy with hot Italian sausage. That involved sautéing chopped onion and garlic before adding red wine, a can of San Marzano tomatoes, various herbs and seasoning, and grated Parmesan cheese. Here is a link to an older post that goes into the process in greater detail for those who are interested.
Once I had the gravy simmering, I browned a pound of sausage links in a frying pan before adding them to the sauce pot.
I let that remain on simmer for a few hours, then, after letting it cool, split the gravy and sausage into two batches, freezing one for later in the week. I didn’t need all of it for game day, so the portion that didn’t go into the freezer was mixed with pasta and eaten over the next few days.
The frozen batch was thawed in time for Sunday. To begin the day’s eating festivities, I heated one-and-a-half sausage links with a little gravy in a pan before placing them on an Italian roll with grated cheese and throwing that in the oven for a few minutes to create a sausage grinder.
As good as the sausage sandwich was, it was just a warmup for the pre-game main event. That would be an array of pizzas on crust made by my wife. She prepared two different types of dough; Detroit-style and a more standard thin crust.
We didn’t use any toppings on the two square Detroit-style pies, which received a layer of Monterey Jack cheese and a separate red sauce. But the thin crust pizzas – two rectangular and one round – had a nice variety of them, including onions that I had caramelized earlier in the day.
The round one was turned into a white pie with mozzarella and caramelized onions on half and goat cheese with mushrooms and caramelized onions on the other side.
I cut up the rest of the sausage and used that and the remaining red gravy with mozzarella and caramelized onions on one of the rectangular crusts. My wife created a white-veggie pie with the other one, which had mozzarella on one half and goat cheese on the other.
The thin-crust pies needed to go into the oven for 5-10 minutes with just the toppings – and sauce for the one that had it – but without cheese. They were then placed back into it after the cheese was added
They all came out looking and tasting very impressive. The one issue was that the two Detroit pies weren’t quite done enough near the center, but after taking off the outer slices, we stuck them back in the oven for a few more minutes to take care of that.
I’ve never ordered a Detroit-style pizza while dining out, so I can’t say how authentic our version was, but the crust and overall flavor profile were fantastic.
As always, my wife did a sensational job with the thin crusts. They were sturdy enough to hold their toppings without sagging and met at the junction of crispy and chewy; something that is highly desirable, but not easy to achieve.
I sampled slices from each pizza, although I didn’t have any from either of the halves with goat cheese. While I liked all of them, the round white pie half that was topped with just mozzarella and caramelized onions was my favorite. There are enough leftovers to keep any residual pizza cravings we may have over the next few days satisfied.
While the food side of Sunday was a rousing success, obviously the game didn’t turn out as I had hoped it would. In fact, it ended in brutally painful fashion for Eagles fans. And that leads me back to the post I wrote in October of 2021 about being conditioned to expect the worst after seeing my teams fall just short of ultimate glory so many times during my formative years.
On the bright side, I now recover much more quickly from such losses than I did back then. In fact, it only took me about 15 minutes from the end of the game to be able to refocus on finishing this post. I was blissfully unaware of what was to come when I wrote roughly the first half of it.
I’m giving the post a final edit now – the following morning – and I am in a surprisingly good mood. I’d have been depressed for weeks after such a loss during my teens.
6 thoughts on “The Thrill of Eating and the Agony of Defeat”
Magnificent! What a feast!
And it was a great game, despite the outcome, well-played on both sides. But did the half-time show last longer than usual. I kept checking to see if it was over and it seems to go on and on.
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It did go on a long time. I didn’t watch it, but periodically checked to see if it was over.
Now I know where to go next Super Bowl – I’m coming for the food, as long as I don’t have to watch the game! Just kidding, but the food looks terrific!
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Haha! You can hang out with my wife during the game.
When the Chiefs lined up for that final FG, did you think back to the playoff game between the Eagles and Bears a few years ago?
Great job with the sausage and pizzas! I can only imagine what you might do if you were feeding more than 2 people.
And it was a nice change of pace. I’m sure there were quite a few parties that featured KC-style barbecue and Philly cheesesteaks.
I was honestly surprised to see how many crusts my wife made. I had no idea she was making the Detroit-style crusts in addition to the thin ones.
I shut it off after that penalty was called.