SCRANTON — The Super Bowl is no ordinary game, so neither should the food served at the accompanying party be ordinary chow.
You’ll want to impress your visiting fans with a spread they’ll be talking about until next season.
That’s where Chef Paul Comishock of Wegmans can help. He visited the Scranton Cultural Center at the Masonic Temple recently and demonstrated how to make “Super Bowl Super Snacks.”
The specialties? Pork sliders and turkey chili. A crowd of 63 people paid $10 each to watch — and taste. He demonstrated how to make the chili after his staff sushi chef, Winn Aung, offered a step-by-step demonstration of how to assemble sushi rolls, their work projected onto a big screen behind them. As the chefs demonstrated, cultural center executive director Michael Melcher narrated and asked questions.
“Chili is a staple of any Super Bowl party,” said Comishock, who is new to Wegmans’ Scranton-area store in Dickson City. “I keep it healthy with turkey.”
Deciding what to cook also has a lot to do with the season, he said.
“We’re in that cold season,” he said. “You want something hearty.”
Comishock, 29, a Frackville native who graduated from the Culinary Institute of America, loves braised meat, so he loves his slow cooker, especially for his pork sliders. But the pork also can be roasted, as he suggested during his presentation.
But first, Chef Winn showed how to make cooked sushi. He made a California roll, using avocado, crab meat and cucumber and — most important — rice, on a nori seaweed wrap. Placing the wrap on a sushi-making mat, he noted it is important to keep the rice moist by sprinkling it with vegetable oil. That holds the sushi together when it is rolled and then sliced into eight pieces.
“The key to sushi is its freshness,” Comishock pointed out.
He cautioned not to buy ordinary fish at a store fish counter to make sushi because it’s not sushi-grade fish.
Fish used for raw sushi must be frozen to kill the bacteria.
For the pork sliders, Comishock said he uses an 8 1/2-pound pork shoulder that will feed about 12 to 14 people.
“This recipe is a two-day process,” he explained.
So the first day, he said, make diagonal scores 1/2-inch to 1-inch deep both ways on the top and bottom of the meat then marinate it in the refrigerator for 24 hours. It should be coated in a mixture of barbecue seasoning, brown sugar, salt and basting oil and covered with a plastic wrap to marinate. The next day, preheat the oven to 275 degrees, remove the plastic wrap, of course, then let the meat rest for half an hour before baking it in a shallow roasting pan, uncovered, for seven to eight hours.
When it’s done, place it on a cutting board and pull apart the meat with tongs. Add barbecue sauce, mix to combine, then serve on rolls. He said you could incorporate the meat’s juices into the barbecue sauce.
The leftovers store simply in a plastic container.
“Sometimes it tastes better a day or two later,” Comishock said.
In demonstrating how to make the turkey chili, Comishock heated some olive oil in a large stockpot before adding ground turkey. He said the hot oil locks in the moisture.
He browned the meat then added the other ingredients — white onion, green and red peppers, chili powder, Worcestershire sauce, diced tomatoes, cloves, cumin, chicken culinary stock, northern beans and six fresh or two dried bay leaves, which are later removed.
An audience member asked if it is OK to keep the beans on the side for those who don’t like them. Comishock said that was fine, but they should be kept at room temperature or cooked in a bean-tomato mixture.