This Sunday, the Winnipeg Blue Bombers and the B.C. Lions will be serving each other tackles and touchdowns. But what will you be serving your Grey Cup guests? To avoid fumbling your party-hosting duties, make yourself a game plan to elevate the offerings beyond the typical beer nuts and nachos. We asked the teams’ hometown chefs for ideas on how to prepare shareable, rib-sticking dishes to impress your Grey Cup couch crowd.
Lee Cooper of L’Abattoir restaurant in Vancouver
“If you’re sitting around drinking beer, I’d have a hard time believing there’d be a lot of people, like, having wine and cheese,” the chef of Gastown’s hottest new restaurant says. “You’re going to want to stick to more traditional snack foods, like chicken wings and deep-fried stuff.”
Soy and honey glazed chicken wings
Separate the drums from the wings. Lay them spaced out on a sheet tray and bake them in the oven at about 350 F for an hour or so. Remove them once they’re toasted and golden brown.
On the stove, mix soy sauce, honey, chili flakes, chopped ginger and garlic. Cook until it’s a syrupy glaze. Take it off the heat and let it cool, so it thickens up.
Toss the chicken wings with the soy sauce glaze in a bowl. Sprinkle with a handful of toasted sesame seeds and chopped green onions to serve.
Soft-boil some free-range eggs. (To make perfect soft-boiled eggs, add the eggs to a pot of boiling water and set your timer for five and a half minutes. Once the time’s up, plunge the eggs in cold water to stop the cooking.) Peel.
Make your own sausage with ground pork and add whatever flavourings you want. Or buy premade sausage that you like and squish the meat out of the casing.
Pat the sausage meat into a thin layer. Wrap the eggs in the meat, then dredge in flour, dip in egg, and roll in breadcrumbs. Deep fry until golden brown.
“They’re a little more work, but they’re superdelicious,” Mr. Cooper says, explaining the result is a crunchy and meaty. “It’s kind of hard to go wrong.”
Alexander Svenne of Bistro 7¼ in Winnipeg
Chicken wings are great for occasions like these, but for a quirky twist, the chef known for his elevated take on comfort food asks, why not try duck feet?
Honey and chipotle glazed pork meatballs
Mix ground pork with finely diced onion, minced garlic and toasted cumin seeds. Add some finely diced jalapeno or other hot pepper, chopped cilantro, a little lime zest, an egg and some breadcrumbs. Form the mixture into meat balls, and bake them in a 400 F oven until done.
For the glaze, use chipotle peppers in adobo sauce. Coarsely chop the peppers and mix it together with honey. (For a cup of honey, use about one tablespoon of chopped peppers.) Heat it just until it comes a boil.
Once the meatballs are cooked, toss them in the honey glaze, skewer each with a toothpick and lay them out on a sheet pan. Return them to the oven for about five minutes, letting the glaze set.
Buffalo-style duck feet
Duck feet can be found at most Asian markets. They’re often sold boneless, which make them easy to eat. Toss the feet with flour, seasoned with salt and pepper. Either deep fry them, or bake them in a hot oven, about 450 Ft, until they’re crispy.
Make a sauce using hot sauce like Frank’s RedHot or Louisiana Hot Sauce, adding honey, chili flakes and minced garlic. Toss the crispy duck feet into the sauce and bake them in the oven briefly, so the sauce caramelizes a bit.
“If you want to go really wacky … it’s a fun play on a more traditional thing without bones littering your living room,” Mr. Svenne says. “It’s familiar, but different.”