Get a Taste of the NFL: New York Grilled Cheese with Bacon and Apple
G. Newman Lowrance/AP
Ready to kick hunger?
The annual food and wine “party with a purpose” — which takes place in Brooklyn the night before the Super Bowl — will not only nourish well-heeled football fans (and celebrities like Ted Allen, David Spade and Gayle King), but will also raises money for Feeding America-affiliated food banks. To make the event extra enticing, top chefs from each NFL city — including John Howie from Seattle and Troy Guard from Denver — will each serve a signature dish alongside a current or alumni NFL player in 35 interactive gourmet stations. And, let’s not forget about the giant, edible stadium made from classic football snacks!
Naturally, since this year’s Super Bowl is all about an empire state of mind, a special Taste of NY section features local food stars, like James Briscione, a champion on the Food Network’s Chopped and director of culinary development at The Institute of Culinary Education, cooking up football-friendly fare.
Briscione developed the dish showcased at the event, a twist on the classic reuben sandwich with duck pastrami (cured, spice crusted and slow smoked), cheddar, rye, apples and whiskey-mustard, “as a way highlight all the great regional product we have here in NY,” he tells PEOPLE. Delicious duck from Hudson Valley, New York State cheddar, whiskey made just outside the city, and yummy apples from upstate all celebrate the area’s fresh offerings. “But then of course I have to look at everything through the lens of the boy that grew up down South, hence a kick of Tabasco,” the Pensacola, Fla. native adds.
For a savory Super Bowl snack, Briscione shares a similarly “I love New York” themed grilled cheese recipe that’s easy to make (you won’t have to ferment your own ‘kraut for two weeks, like he’s planning!). “We really felt like the apples, ‘kraut and bacon captured the spirit of the dish but was something that the average cook could whip at home whether they were in New York or Nebraska,” Briscione says. “And who doesn’t love an excuse to make a bacon sandwich?”
Feeling magnanimous now? Make extra.
Grilled Cheese Sandwich with Bacon, Apple, Cheddar and Sauerkraut
12 slices thick cut bacon
1 cup sauerkraut
2 cups sharp cheddar, grated
¼ cup cream cheese
1-2 tsp. hot sauce (like Tabasco)
8 slices hearty rye or whole grain bread
Butter, softened as needed
1 apple, sliced
1. Crisp the bacon slices in a large sauté pan. Set the bacon aside on paper towels to drain. Pour off all but approximately 1 tbsp. of the bacon fat. Add the sauerkraut to the pan and sauté briefly in the bacon fat. Drain the sauerkraut on the paper towels with the bacon.
2. In a bowl combine the grated cheese, cream cheese and Tabasco. Mix well with a spoon or spatula until smooth.
3. Butter one side of each of the slices of bread and place them on a clean cutting board, buttered side down. Spread the cheddar mixture on the other side of the bread.
4. Layer the sandwiches, first with sauerkraut, then bacon and sliced apples. Close the sandwiches so the buttered sides are facing out on both sides. Press the sandwiches lightly to help them stick.
5. Griddle the sandwiches in a cast iron or non-stick pan over low heat. Cook until golden brown on each side. Set the griddled sandwiches aside to cool slightly before cutting. Cut sandwiches in quarters to serve.