February 1, 2012 12:42:00 PM
No need to wait until Sunday for Super Bowl weekend action to crank up. On Saturday, the Starkville Young Professionals will host their own annual face-off -- with soups.
Twelve restaurants will bring their A-game to the 2012 SOUPer Bowl in The State Theatre at 213 E. Main St., from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Chefs throughout Starkville are fine-tuning recipes for this year's match-up. All will be vying for first place and Best of Show honors, but sure winners will be SOUPer Bowl fans, who get to taste every soup before casting their ballots for favorites.
"This is our annual fundraiser, and it benefits the United Way of North Central Mississippi," said Robyn Cain, current president of Starkville Young Professionals (SYP). "It's a good time; we show the MSU basketball game, and people get to enjoy the soups and socialize."
SYP's Jackie Hudson added, "The area's best restaurants will be on hand serving specially-prepared soups for all attendees to taste. The event not only highlights local restaurants, but benefits our community's areas of greatest needs."
How to go
Tickets to the fifth annual SOUPer Bowl Feb. 4 are $15 in advance and $25 at the door. Tickets for children 12 and under are $5. Children 3 and under may attend free. Get them in advance at the Greater Starkville Development Partnership at 200 E. Main St., or at R. Tabb & Co., 210 E. Main.
Restaurants participating in this year's Bowl include Bin 612, Brian Michael's Meat Market and Deli, Bulldog Deli, Central Station Grill, Harvey's, Hilton Garden Inn, McAlister's Deli, Old Venice, Ritz Café, Sweet Peppers Deli, The Veranda and Three Little Pigs.
Recipe teasers already include shrimp bisque with tasso bits and mascarpone cheese, chicken and corn chowder soup, and chicken and sausage gumbo.First place honors last year went to Harvey's Chef Leon Jefferson. The Best of Show Award went to The Veranda and Chef Earl Yates.
Amy Yates, The Veranda's marketing director, said, "Every year we've done something exclusively for this event. We'll come up with an idea, look toward our suppliers and come up with something completely unique."
The fundraiser is a great place to try a dozen different soups for one price, in one place, Yates added.
Arma de la Cruz is director of marketing for the Eat With Us Group (Bulldog Deli, Harvey's, Sweet Peppers, The Grill).
"We really enjoy the SOUPer Bowl; we like to support the charities that are impacted and enjoy the partnership with the Starkville Young Professionals," said de la Cruz. "And this is a great way for our chefs to get creative outside the restaurant."
Since it's inception, SOUPer Bowl has raised about $10,000 for the United Way of North Central Mississippi, according to Cain.
"We really encourage everyone to support this," she urged. "It benefits such a great cause, and with the way the economy is, the United Way agencies really need that support."
For more information, contact Cain at the Greater Starkville Development Partnership, 662-323-3322, or Jackie Hudson at 662-325-4214.
SOUPer Bowl chefs are understandably keeping their recipes close to the vest, but we've gathered a few others that might suit your Sunday Super Bowl crowd. These are hearty are filling. Kathleen Purvis, food editor of the Charlotte Observer, swears the slow cooker buffalo chicken soup is the "best Super Bowl soup ever." It's adapted from the "Make It Fast, Cook It Slow" cookbook, by Stephanie O'Dea (Hyperion, 2009).
SLOW COOKER BUFFALO CHICKEN SOUP
3 tablespoons canola oil, divided
1/2 large yellow onion, peeled and diced
3 stalks celery, diced
2 to 3 large skinless, boneless chicken breasts, or 2 to 3 cups cooked, diced chicken
4 tablespoons (half stick) butter
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup chicken broth
2 cups nonfat or reduced-fat milk
1 teaspoon celery salt
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 cup hot wing sauce, such as Texas Pete Buffalo Wing Sauce, plus more for garnish
4 ounces Velveeta cheese, diced
Crumbled blue cheese (optional; garnish)
(Source: Kathleen Purvis, Charlotte Observer, charlotteobserver.com)
Makes eight to 10 servings
1 pound large white beans, soaked overnight in water, drained
6 cups chicken broth
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 (4 ounce) cans chopped green chilies
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
4 cups diced cooked chicken
3 cups grated Monterey Jack cheese
1 jalapeno or Serrano pepper, chopped (optional)
(Source: Sensational Super Bowl Soups, farmersalmanac.com)
WHITE BEAN SOUP
Makes five servings
2 cups chopped white onion
2 cups chopped seeded poblano chile
1 cup chopped red bell pepper
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 (14-ounce) cans fat-free, less-sodium vegetable broth
2 (15-ounce) cans navy beans, rinsed and drained
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons ground cumin
1 cup (4 ounces) shredded queso chihuahua or Monterey Jack cheese
2 1/2 tablespoons reduced-fat sour cream
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 1/2 pounds Italian sausage (bulk or with casings removed)
2 onions, finely chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons oregano
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes
6 cups chicken broth
2 bay leaves
8 ounces fusilli pasta
1/2 cup finely chopped fresh basil
8 ounces ricotta
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
1/4 teaspoon salt
Pinch of pepper
2 cups shredded mozzarella
Makes 12-16 servings
Prep time: 25 minutes
Cook time: 6 hours
1 pound ground beef
1 pound ground turkey
2 large onions, diced
2 (15 1/2 ounce) cans pinto beans, drained & rinsed
1 (15 1/2 ounce) can kidney beans
1 (15.25 ounce) can sweet white corn, drained
1 (14 1/2 ounce) can Mexican-style stewed tomatoes
1 (14 1/2 ounce) can diced tomatoes
1 (141/2 ounce) can tomatoes with chilies
2 (4.5 ounce) cans mild diced green chilies
1 (4.6 ounce) can sliced black olives, drained
1 (1 1/4 ounce) package taco seasoning mix
1 (1 ounce) package ranch salad dressing mix
Fritos, sour cream, grated cheese & pickled jalapeños for serving
(Source: Adapted by Lori Lange from a recipe by Paula Deen; recipegirl.com)
Jan Swoope is the Lifestyles Editor for The Commercial Dispatch.