Sophisticated Super Bowl Chili Pairings with Alcohol

NEW YORK (MainStreet) Chili is the perfect Super Bowl dish. It can be prepared a day or two ahead and only improves as it sits simmering on the stove in the afternoon hours leading up to the game. Jean-Luc Le Du, owner of the wine store of that name in Greenwich Village, New York, procured two very different recipes for the classic American stew. One comes from Daniel Boulud, at whose restaurant Daniel Le Du was the sommelier from 1995 to 2004. Boulud's rendition tones down the heat in the dish, which the chef finishes with cilantro.

Jonathan Waxman, whose restaurant Barbuto is just a few blocks north of Le Du's Wines, uses habaneros, jalapenos and poblanos as well as ancho, cascabel and pasilla chili powders and chipotle pepper puree in his fiery chili, which incorporates both sirloin and pork butt. New Yorkers can compare the two versions at a tasting at Le Du's store this Saturday afternoon; home chefs can stage their own taste test at their leisure.

Le Du recommends pairing Boulud's chili with a red wine from Chateauneuf-du-Pape, a region that lies on the Rhone River two hours south of Boulud's hometown of Lyon, France. Based on the Grenache grape, the wines are hearty and robust, Le Du says, perfect for a cold winter night.

The former sommelier has a more surprising pairing for Waxman's chili: bourbon. Le Du says that the flavor profile and intensity of young American whiskey matches the dish's heat and multiplicity of flavors. Those who prefer beer with their chili can enjoy the end of the Super Bowl with what Le Du calls a "whiskey of meditation," one whose age and complexity demand contemplation.

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