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Super Bowl matchup: Have a winning time with sandwiches, soups and munchies

The usual Super Bowl bash is likely to include nachos, wings, chili or pizza.

But if you'd like a menu to reflect the matchup of teams, you've got the battle of the sandwiches.

The muffuletta sandwich is a New Orleans favorite. It's a round loaf of bread nearly as wide as a Frisbee, filled with Italian salami and ham, olive salad, cheese and freshly minced garlic. It was invented in 1906 by Lupo Salvatore, owner of Central Grocery in the Italian Market. The recipe below uses a long loaf of French bread for a party-size group, but you can use the traditional round loaves if you prefer.

For Colts fans, the bun-busting breaded pork tenderloin sandwich is authentic Indiana. Also called the Hoosier sandwich, it's a slice of pork tenderloin, pounded flat, breaded and deep fried, then served on a bun with sandwich toppings.

"The tenderloin usually hangs out from the bun by at least an inch, all the way around, creating a two-fisted dining experience," according to "American Sandwich," by Becky Mercuri. Street vendor Nick Freinstein of Huntington, Ind., is credited with creating it in the early 1900s. The restaurant he founded, Nick's Kitchen, is still in business today.

Super Bowl parties require certain amounts of munchies, dips and dunks. Make a "football field" of guacamole for dipping. Spread the guacamole on a rectangular platter; you can layer the bottom with refried beans or salsa, if desired. Pipe sour cream yard lines from an icing dispenser or from a plastic bag with a corner snipped out. If you want to fancy things up, check the cake-decorating aisle, or a party-supply store, for goal posts, figures of players and so on.

Just remember to keep plastic wrap over the top of the guacamole until serving time. Avocados turn brown when exposed to air, although lime or lemon juice helps somewhat.

For Saints fans, New Orleans gumbo is a hot and hearty alternative to chili, and it can stretch to feed a crowd.

It's also a great do-ahead dish, since it tastes even better the second day, according to Poppy Tooker, the New Orleans cooking teacher who beat chef Bobby Flay in a Food Network gumbo throw-down.

Gumbo usually contains some type of seafood, poultry or small game, along with spicy sausage. After Hurricane Katrina displaced so many New Orleans natives, Tooker came up with a Diaspora Gumbo that calls for a mix-and-match seafood and other ingredients, "depending on availability to obtain ingredients in your evacuation site."

So wherever you live across the United States, you can come up with a satisfactory gumbo.

The biggest challenge is making a roux, which thickens and flavors the gumbo. This is a combination of fat and flour that's cooked, while stirring, until it turns "the color of a Hershey bar," according to Tooker.

But, if you get impatient and turn up the heat, it burns. Some recipes specify 40 to 60 minutes of constant heat and stirring. But in the Deseret News test kitchen, we followed the advice from "The Best Slow and Easy Recipes," by America's Test Kitchen, and found the roux could be browned in about 20 minutes. The trick is to preheat the oil over medium heat for about two minutes before stirring in the flour.

Colts fans should include popcorn in their arsenal of munchies. Indiana is one of the top popcorn-producing states, and it's where Orville Redenbacher got his start.

There's even a city near Indianapolis called Popcorn. There's also a town called Carmel. And although it's not spelled the same way, it's got to make a person think of caramel popcorn.

Popcorn is budget-friendly, especially if you use regular popcorn instead of the microwave-style. You can pop it ahead of time and add butter and seasonings just before game time. Some seasoning ideas (after you've buttered the popcorn):

Bacon-Cheese: 1/3 cup bacon bits, 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Bombay Corn: 2 teaspoons curry powder, ½ teaspoon salt, ½ teaspoon sugar, and 1/4 cup shredded coconut and ¼ cup golden raisins.

Cajun Corn: 1 teaspoon paprika, 1/2 teaspoon onion powder, ½ teaspoon garlic powder, 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, 1 teaspoon lemon pepper

Pizza popcorn: 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese, 2 teaspoons garlic salt, 2 teaspoon paprika, 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning

Chunky Guacamole

4 ripe avocados

3 limes, juiced

1/2 red onion, chopped

1 garlic clove, minced

2 serrano chiles, sliced thinly (or to taste)

1 big handful fresh cilantro, finely chopped

Extra-virgin olive oil

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Halve and pit the avocados. Scoop out the flesh with a tablespoon into a mixing bowl. Mash the avocados with a fork, leaving them somewhat chunky. Add the remaining ingredients, and fold everything together to gently mix.

Lay a piece of plastic wrap right on the surface of the guacamole so it doesn't brown, and refrigerate one hour before serving. — Tyler Florence

Muffuletta Sandwich

Garlic Aioli:

1/2 cup mayonnaise

1 teaspoon Tabasco or other hot pepper sauce

1 garlic clove, crushed

Spicy Olive Filling:

1 cup pimento-stuffed olives, finely chopped

1/4 cup pitted black olives, finely chopped

1/4 cup roasted red peppers, finely chopped

1 1/2 teaspoons Tabasco or other hot pepper sauce

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 teaspoon sugar

Sandwich:

1 large loaf French or Italian bread

8 ounces sliced hard salami

8 ounces sliced deli ham

8 ounces sliced Provolone cheese

Preheat oven to 400° F.

For aioli, combine mayonnaise, Tabasco sauce and garlic in small bowl; stir until well blended.

For olive filling, combine green olives, black olives, roasted red peppers, Tabasco sauce, olive oil and sugar in medium-size bowl until well mixed.

Cut bread in half, horizontally, with serrated knife, but not all the way through; open flat. Spread both cut sides with garlic aioli mixture. Arrange salami, ham and cheese on bread evenly. Spoon spicy olive filling lengthwise down center of loaf. Place sandwich on large piece of foil; close tightly to seal. Place on large baking sheet. Bake 15 minutes until heated through and cheese is melted.Cut into serving-size pieces.

Serves 12. — McIlhenny Co.

Indiana Pork Tenderloin Sandwich

1 pound boneless pork loin

1 cup flour

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

Vegetable oil for frying

Water

1/2 cup yellow cornmeal

4 large sandwich buns, lightly toasted if desired

Mayonnaise

Dill pickle chips

Ketchup

Sliced onion

Lettuce

Cut 4 1-inch thick slices of pork. Trim any exterior fat from edges. Put each slice between pieces of plastic wrap.

Using a wooden meat mallet or the side of a cleaver, pound vigorously until each slice is very thin and about 10 inches across. Mix flour with salt and ground black pepper.

Heat 1/2-inch of oil in a deep, 12-inch-wide skillet to 365 degrees. Dip each slice of pork in water, then in flour mixture. Pat both sides with cornmeal. Fry tenderloins, one at a time, turning once, until golden brown on both sides, about 5 minutes total.

Drain on paper towels, and keep warm until all are cooked. Serve on buns with desired condiments. Serves 4. — "American Sandwich," by Becky Mercuri (Gibbs Smith, $12.95)

Big League Snack Attack

6 cups unsalted popped popcorn

1 cup thin pretzel sticks

1/2 cup salted, roasted peanuts

1/3 cup butter

1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

1/4 teaspoon garlic salt

1/4 teaspoon onion salt

Toss together the popcorn, pretzel sticks and peanuts in a large bowl. Melt the butter and stir in the seasonings.

Drizzle butter/seasoning mixture over popcorn mixture, stirring to coat well.

Spread the mixture in a large, shallow baking pan, and put it in a preheated 250-degree oven to bake for 45 minutes.

Stir with a wooden spoon every 10 minutes while it's baking. — The Popcorn Board

Easy Caramel Corn

3-4 quarts popped popcorn

½ cup dark corn syrup

1 tablespoon water

¼ cup butter

1 cup sugar

Place popcorn in very large bowl; set aside. Combine all remaining ingredients in a 2-quart saucepan. Place over medium-high heat and, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, bring mixture to a rolling boil. Pour syrup over popcorn stir to coat well. Makes 3-4 quarts. — "Candymaking," by Ruth Kendrick

New Orleans "Diaspora" Gumbo

3/4 cup vegetable oil, divided

2 pounds fresh or frozen okra, thinly sliced

1 cup flour

1 onion, chopped

3 stalks celery, chopped

1 bell pepper, chopped

1 1-pound can diced tomatoes

2 tablespoons thyme

1 bay leaf

1 gallon stock (shrimp, chicken, or vegetable)

1 clove garlic

Use any combination of the following ingredients:

4 gumbo crabs (can be purchased frozen in 1-pound packages)

2 pounds shrimp

1 pound smoked sausage (andouille or kielbasa), sliced and browned

1 pint oysters

2 cups chicken meat

1 bunch green onions, thinly sliced

Salt and pepper

For serving:

Hot cooked rice (1/4 cup per serving)

Hot sauce, optional

Sprinkle of file powder, optional

Cover the bottom of a 10- or 12-inch skillet with vegetable oil (approximately 1/4 cup). Heat oil until very hot, then fry okra in single layers until lightly browned.

In a stock pot, make a dark roux. Heat ½ cup of the oil over medium heat for 2 minutes, until it shimmers. Stir in the flour, working out any lumps.

Keep stirring until the mixture has a toasty aroma and is deep brown (think of a Hershey bar). The roux will thin as it cooks; if it begins to smoke, remove it from the heat and stir constantly to cool slightly.

Stir in the onions. Add celery and bell pepper. Saute for five minutes, then add the tomatoes, okra, herbs and the stock.

Add gumbo crabs, sausage, or chicken meat, if using. Add garlic and salt and pepper to taste. Simmer 45 minutes or longer, stirring occasionally to be sure there's no sticking on the bottom.

Five minutes before serving, add raw shrimp, oysters and green onions, if using. Serve over rice with hot sauce and a sprinkle of file powder stirred in, if desired.

Editor's note: To make shrimp stock, peel shrimp and combine peels, and any onion skins and tops in a stock pot. Cover with water and boil 20 minutes. Strain and reserve. — Adapted from Poppy Tooker, New Orleans Cooking School

e-mail: vphillips@desnews.com