The Sunday Food-Related Post: Food for a Steeler-less Sunday

A couple of times this season I have tried a Pittsburgh-Opponent food meld, and both times it resulted in losses—a highly embarrassing Week 3 meltdown @ Philadelphia and a very disheartening division loss to the Ravens in Week 9. The Steelers finally rebounded from the losing streak the latter game was part of, but should the Ravens beat the Bengals on Sunday they will be back on top of the division, where the Steelers currently, and tenuously, reside.

And the auguries are not good for a Bengals victory today. A.J. Green is out with a hamstring tear and Giovanni Bernard is out for the season with an ACL. Dalton is one of the most sacked quarterbacks in the league (his offensive line has given up 29 so far this season.) And Baltimore’s defense is currently No. 10 in the league against the pass and No. 1 against the run, according to Football Outsiders.

But as difficult as it it to root for either of these teams, we should assume that the “meteor falling from the sky onto M & T Bank Stadium around 1:30 Eastern” is probably not going to happen. Therefore we, as Steelers fans, are probably going to have to root, albeit extremely temporarily, for the Bengals.

So if I have correctly calculated the mojo factor in my food posts, what we need here is a Cincinnati specialty reimagined as a Baltimore delicacy. Which is going to be tough. The quintessential Cincinnati food is three-way (or four-or-five way) chili. If you have never heard of this, you are fortunate. It means putting chili, sans beans and seasoned in with some cinnamon in addition to the usual chili-type things, on top of spaghetti. You then add diced onions and/or kidney beans and/or cheese and whatever else you want, I suppose, although those are the traditional additions.

Although it isn’t particularly good, unless you are from Cincinnati, in which case you don’t know any better, it is highly suitable for modification, as you can see. And, perhaps, improvement. So I give you the following, and Go Bengals!!!!

Baltimore Four-Way Crab Soup

  • 1 pound fresh lump crab meat
  • 1 small bag frozen corn
  • 1 small bag frozen green beans
  • 2 large cloves of crushed garlic, or more to taste
  • 4 strips thick-cut bacon
  • 1 box of chicken broth
  • 2 small cans tomato paste
  • Old Bay seasoning
  • Oregano
  • Nutmeg and ground cinnamon
  • Grated swiss cheese
  • Diced sweet onions

Dice the bacon and cook until much of the fat is rendered and it is beginning to brown. Toss in the garlic, stir for a moment, and add the frozen vegetables, Old Bay, oregano, a pinch of cinnamon and several grindings of nutmeg to taste. Ol Bay seasoning is pretty strong so precede with caution. Once the vegetables are thawed and releasing their liquid add the chicken broth and cook until the vegetables are tender.

In the meantime, sort through the crabmeat. Set aside the meat and strain any liquid into the pot with the vegetables and so on.

When the vegetables are cooked add one can of tomato paste and stir into the soup. Taste and add more if you want a more assertive tomato flavor and somewhat thicker texture. You should also adjust the seasonings at the point and add salt and pepper as necessary.

Dump in the crab and just heat it up a bit. Serve in soup plates over angel hair pasta. You can either force your guests to have it as a four-way by topping it with onions and grated cheese (which would be appropriate, considering both franchises) or allow them to amend their soup as they wish.

Note on the recipes—in general, I make these up as I go along, although they are generally based on actual known foods, and I typically don’t test them. So I don’t actually know that this will taste good. But I don’t see why it wouldn’t…

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