Holiday 'bowl' fare that will score big Prepared: Flavorful make-ahead dishes are the best game plan for hungry football fans on New Year's Day.


The last thing most of us want to do on New Year's Day is cook.

The day tops off the party season with laid-back get-togethers to watch bowl games and eat black-eyed peas.

Here's a menu, then, to make ahead of time and reheat so you can settle in for the game and enjoy friends, too. To ease and accelerate preparation, use pre-made items and mixes where you can. Given that this is a "bowl" day, serve everything in bowls.

Black-eyed peas are a must for good luck in the new year, and the easy marinated black-eyed pea salad will keep refrigerated for several days.

You can also sneak some peas into the black-eyed pea corn bread with green chilies for a nice polka-dot effect.

That leaves the entree, and, in keeping with the bowl theme, chili is always the right thing to serve. This year, try white corn chili. It's easy to make, laced with a smoky flavor and actually improves after sitting for a day or so in the fridge.

For dessert, a butter pecan apple cobbler with ice cream is another good "bowl" choice. You can make it weeks ahead and freeze it, or make it two days before and refrigerate.

Black-eyed pea salad

Makes 8 to 10 servings

1 clove garlic

1/4 medium onion

1 teaspoon Creole (or coarse-grained) mustard

1/4 cup balsamic vinegar

1 1/2 cups extra-virgin olive oil

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

black pepper to taste

3 (14-ounce) cans black-eyed peas

1 large, sweet onion, cut in half lengthwise and sliced thinly

1 red bell pepper, diced

1 green bell pepper, diced

4 roma tomatoes, diced

1 rib celery, diced

1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and deribbed, minced

Put garlic, onion and mustard into food processor or blender and pulse 5 or 6 times. Add vinegar and process until onion bits are finely chopped. With processor running, add oil a few drops at a time and then pour in steady streams. Process until dressing is emulsified. Mix in salt and pepper. Set aside.

Heat beans gently until steaming. Remove from heat and drain. Pour warm beans into bowl; add dressing and gently mix. Refrigerate until cool. Toss in onion, bell peppers, tomatoes, celery and jalapeno.

Serve cold or at room temperature. Prepare no more than 3 days ahead.

Per serving: 433 calories; 37 g fat; no cholesterol; 535 mg sodium; 75 percent calories from fat

White corn chili

Makes 4 to 6 servings

1 pound new potatoes

1 teaspoon kosher salt

2 (14-ounce) cans corn chowder

1 cup milk

4 cooked chicken breast halves, chopped (optional)

2 teaspoons ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon chipotle chili pepper, ground

white pepper (and salt if desired)

Peel potatoes and cut into 3/4 -inch cubes. Put potatoes in pot, add water to cover and add salt. Bring to boil, and cook 12 minutes from when water comes to boil. Remove potatoes from heat; drain.

Meanwhile, heat chowder and milk in another saucepan. Add chicken and reduce heat to warm through. Add spices; adjust seasoning. Add hot potatoes.

Do not let chili boil after adding chicken.

Per serving: 212 calories; 5 g fat; 14 mg cholesterol; 1,093 mg sodium; 20 percent calories from fat

Black-eyed pea corn bread

Makes 8 servings

3/4 cup all-purpose flour

2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

2 tablespoons sugar

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1 1/4 cups yellow water-ground cornmeal

2 (4-ounce) cans mild green chilies, chopped and drained

2 cloves garlic, crushed

1 egg, slightly beaten

3 tablespoons butter, melted

1 cup milk

1 (14-ounce) can black-eyed peas

Heat oven to 425 degrees. Grease a 9-inch round cake pan and put in oven until hot. Mix dry ingredients with chilies and garlic in medium bowl and make a well in the center. Pour in egg, butter and milk. Combine with a few rapid strokes of wooden spoon and immediately pour half of batter into pan. Scatter 2/3 of the can of black-eyed peas on batter and top with remaining batter. Sprinkle remaining beans on top of that. Bake 25 to 30 minutes, or until top is golden brown.

Note: You may use a mix, adding chilies, garlic and peas. This recipe can be baked ahead and frozen. Defrost in the microwave for about 3 minutes on high (100 percent power) and toast in hot oven before serving.

Per serving: 285 calories; 7 g fat; 43 mg cholesterol; 486 sodium; 22 percent calories from fat

Butter pecan apple cobbler

Makes 6 servings

6 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and cut into 1 1/2 -inch chunks

1 1/2 cups brown sugar (divided use)

1 cup chopped pecans

1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons butter (divided use)

2/3 cup flour

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour a 9-inch-by-12-inch baking dish. Toss apples with 1/2 cup brown sugar and the pecans in a bowl. Turn into baking pan and drizzle with 1/2 cup of melted butter.

In a bowl, mix remaining brown sugar, 2 tablespoons softened butter, flour and salt with the tips of your fingers until crumbly. Sprinkle mixture over apples. Bake for 1 hour or until browned.

Per serving: 653 calories; 35 g fat; 59 mg cholesterol; 409 mg sodium; 47 percent calories from fat

Pub Date: 12/25/96

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