By Mark Cotton
Cold Hard Football Facts Man with the Plan

This is almost it. The conference playoffs are this weekend and we have two teams that we expected and two teams that surprised us. No matter who you root for, if you are even still rooting at this point, it’s going to be an interesting weekend. 
While we here at Cold Hard Football Facts kitchens and stage lighting know whom we are rooting for this weekend, we knew that we couldn’t pick just one team to highlight with our recipe of the week. So as there are two games this weekend, we have for you two recipes, each one representative of both teams playing in that matchup.
For the Ravens at the Patriots, we have for you crab chowder. You may have had clam, fish or even corn chowder before, but this recipe combines the traditional things you expect from chowder, such as cream, potatoes and, of course, salt pork, with old bay and crabmeat. The result is something that is both comforting and satisfying without being boring.  The recipe can be found in Jasper White’s book 50 Chowders, which can be found here:
For the Giants at the 49ers, we admit that we had a hard time coming up with something. Fortunately, we have just the thing: sourdough apple bread pudding. The apples are New York, the sourdough is San Francisco and the dish itself is a fitting way to enjoy the last game before the Super Bowl.
  • 1 lb fresh cooked crabmeat.
  • 4 Cups of crab stock. If you can’t find crab stock, you can use seafood stock or make your own.
  • 1 and ½ cups chopped tomatoes.
  • 6 ounces meaty salt pork, rind removed and cut into a ½ inch dice.
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter.
  • 1 medium onion, cut into ½ inch dice.
  • 2 stalks celery cut into ½ inch dice.
  • 4 sprigs fresh thyme leaves removed and chopped.
  • 1 tablespoon Old Bay Seasoning.
  • 2 lbs all-purpose potatoes (Yukon Gold is a good choice), peeled and cut into ½ inch dice.
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch, dissolved into 2 tablespoons of water.
  • 2 cups of heavy cream
  • Salt and pepper to taste.
  • Tabasco
  1. In a 4-6 quart heavy pot, heat the salt pork over low heat until it renders a few teaspoons of fat. Increase the heat to medium and cook until the pork is golden brown. Remove the pork cracklings and reserve, keeping the fat in the pot.
  2. Add the butter, onion, celery and thyme to the pot and sauté for about 10 min. You want the onion softened, but not brown. Add the Old Bay and cook for 1 min longer, stirring the entire time.
  3. Add the potatoes and reserved crab stock. It should barely cover the potatoes, if it doesn’t add just enough water to cover. Turn up the heat and bring to a boil. Cover and cook for about 8 min, until the potatoes are soft on the outside but still firm.
  4. Stir in the cornstarch mixture and cook the chowder, stirring until thickened. Return to a simmer.
  5. Add the tomatoes; simmer for an additional 5 minutes.
  6. Remove pot from the heat and stir in the cream and crabmeat, seasoning with salt and pepper.
  7. Let the chowder sit at room temperature for 30 min to let the flavor meld.
  8. To serve, reheat over low heat. In a low oven, heat the cracklings and sprinkle over the individual bowls after they have been served.
Makes 12 cups.
  • 6 cups sour dough bread cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 2 cups apples, peeled and diced small
  • 1-cup brown sugar
  • 2 cups 1% milk
  • 3/4 cup salted butter
  • 1-teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1-teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs, beaten
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Grease a 7×11 inch-baking dish.
3. In a large bowl, combine bread and apples.
4. In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine 1-cup brown sugar, 2 cups milk, and butter. Cook and stir until butter is melted. Pour over bread mixture in bowl.
5. In a small bowl, whisk together cinnamon, 1/2-teaspoon vanilla, and eggs. Pour bread mixture into prepared dish, and pour egg mixture over bread.
6. Bake in preheated oven 40 to 50 minutes, or until center is set and apples are tender.
Serve warm.