Party with super "bread" bowls

January 29, 2008 5:19:13 PM PST
Super "bowls!" Yummy bread bowls filled with dips, soups and chili for super bowl parties.

Here are some "super bowls" for your Super Bowl party. Leigh Glaser teams up with John Vrattos with the Colombo Baking Company to show you how to turn those bread bowls into real super "bowl" winners with fun dips and recipes that are sure get you a touchdown!

Colombo Baking Company
580 Julie Ann Way
Oakland CA
Phone: (510) 635-4343 ext: 179

Bread Bowl Bruschetta
Yield: 8 servings

    6 large fresh tomatoes, cut into bite-sized pieces
    4 small zucchini, peeled and diced (about 3 cups)
    ¾ cup chopped red onion
    ¼ cup chopped fresh basil
    2 cloves garlic, minced
    salt to taste
    black pepper, to taste
    ¾ cup olive oil
    ½ cup ricotta cheese
    ¾ cup shredded mozzarella cheese
    1 to 1 3/4-pound bread bowl


    1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
    2. Place the tomatoes, zucchini, onion, basil, garlic, salt, pepper, and olive oil in a large bowl, and mix well. Set aside.
    3. Using the back of a tablespoon, spread the ricotta on the inside of the bread bowl, then add the tomato mixture. Wrap the bowl with aluminum foil, leaving the top uncovered. Place the bowl on a baking sheet in the middle of the oven, and bake for 25 minutes or until the filling is heated.
    4. Carefully remove the foil. Sprinkle the top with mozzarella cheese, and place under the broiler for 2 to 3 minutes, or until the cheese melts and is golden brown.
    5. Spoon the bruschetta onto individual plates, and serve with pieces of the bread bowl.

Brunch Style Chili
Yield: 6 servings

    12 ounces ground beef
    12 ounces ground breakfast sausage
    5 large fresh tomatoes, chopped
    2 stalks celery, chopped
    1 medium yellow onion, chopped
    2 cloves garlic, minced
    4 jalapeno peppers, seeded and finely chopped*
    2 chipotle peppers, finely chopped
    2 Tbsp. pure maple syrup
    1 t. chili powder
    1 ½ cups canned red kidney beans
    1 to 1 ¾ pound bread bowl *When preparing the peppers be sure to wear gloves and be careful not to touch your eyes.


  • Preheat the oven broiler.
  • Brown the ground beef and sausage in a large pot over medium heat until no pink remains. Remove the fat. Add enough water to cover the meat, and bring to a boil.
  • Add the tomatoes, celery, onion, garlic, jalapeno and chipotle peppers, ample syrup, and chili powder to the pot. Reduce the heat to low. Stirring occasionally, simmer over low heat about 15 minutes, adding water as necessary to maintain a stew-like consistency.
  • Increase the heat, bring the ingredients to a boil, and add the beans. Continue to simmer another 20 minutes.
  • Spoon the chili into the bread bowl and serve.

Fisherman's Wharf-Style Clam Chowder
Yield 6 servings

    2 Tbsp. diced salt pork or 1 strip of bacon
    1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
    1 stalk celery, diced
    2 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
    1 medium potato, peeled and diced
    ¼ tsp. dried thyme
    1 cup fresh or canned chopped clams
    1 cup heavy cream
    salt to taste
    balck pepper, to taste
    2 drops Tabasco sauce
    1-1 ¾ pound bread bowl


  • Place the salt pork in a medium pot over medium heat. While stirring, cook the pork for 2 minutes or until crisp. Transfer to a plate and set aside.
  • Without cleaning the pot, add the onion and celery. Saute over medium heat-low heat for 5 minutes or until the onions are translucent add the celery begins to soften.
  • Sprinkle the flour over the onion-celery mixture, and stir to form a paste. Add the clam juice, potato, and thyme. Increase the heat and bring the ingredients to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, and simmer covered for 15 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender.
  • Add the clams to the pot, and stir in the cream. Continue to simmer (do not allow the mixture to boil) for 5 minutes, or thick and creamy. Add the salt, pepper and Tabasco sauce.
  • Spoon the chowder into the bread bowl, garnish with salt pork and serve.

Spinach Dip with Portabella Mushrooms & Pine Nuts
Yield: 8 servings

    2 Tbsp. olive oil
    1/4 cup chopped onions
    2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
    3/4 cup minced portabella mushrooms
    1 1/2 cup heavy cream
    1/4 cup cream cheese, softened
    1/4 tsp. salt
    1/4 tsp. black pepper
    1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
    10-ounce pkg. frozen chopped spinach, thawed and well drained
    Bread from the hollowed-out bowl or loaf for dipping
    1/4 cup ground pine nuts
    1 loaf round or long French bread


    1. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat.
    2. Add the onions and garlic, reduce the heat to low, and sauté about 2 minutes, or until onions are translucent. Add the mushrooms, spinach and pine nuts, and continue to sauté and additional 2 minutes.
    3. Add cream, cream cheese, salt, pepper to the skillet, and gently stir until cream cheese is melted and the mixture is well blended.
    4. Remove from the heat and stir in the Parmesan cheese.
    5. Spoon the warm dip into the bread bowl. Serve with pieces of sourdough bread.

Warm Baja Shrimp Taco Dip
Yield 8 servings

    2 Tbsp. olive oil
    ¼ cup chopped scallions
    1 glove garlic, thinly sliced
    12 ounces cooked shrimp, chopped
    ¾ cup mayonnaise
    ¾ cup sour cream
    ¼ cup coarsely chopped cilantro, loosely packed
    2 Tbsp. finely chopped jalapeno or Serrano pepper*
    1 Tbsp. lime juice
    ¼ tsp. salt
    ¼ tsp. white pepper
    ¾ cup shredded fresh cabbage
    Bread from the hollowed-out bowl for dipping
    1 to 1 ¾ pound bread bowl
    *When preparing the peppers be sure to wear gloves and be careful not to touch your eyes.


    1. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat.
    2. Add the scallions and garlic, reduce the heat to low, and sauté for 1 minute. Add the shrimp and continue to sauce another minute.
    3. Transfer the shrimp mixture to a large bowl.Add all of the remaining ingredients except the cabbage and bread, and mix gently until well blended. Fold in the cabbage.
    4. Spoon the warm dip into the bread bowl. Serve with pieces of sourdough bread.

Oyster Ham Hock Stew
Yields Stew for 12 bowls

    Oysters rank up there in my 10 most sexy things to cook and eat. This stew is one that embodies a special occasion. It is a luxurious soup often made at New Year's and sometimes at Thanksgiving. There is an old myth in the south about eating oysters only in the months that have an "R" in them. The other months, May/ June/ July/ August generally are months of brutal heat and humidity. Maybe this is because during these Non "R" months the oysters tend to spawn and are generally harder to handle for freshness, or maybe it is too warm during these hot months to promote the kind of freshness that is associated with people after eating oysters.

    1 Large Smoked Ham Hock to shin ( If only knuckles are available use 2) have the butcher cut them in half on the saw
    1/2 gallon Light Chicken Stock
    3 Tbsp. Olive oil
    3 Tbsp. Butter
    2-3 cloves Garlic smashed
    1 large Onion coarsely chopped
    ½ Jalapeno seeded
    1 small Yukon Gold Potato peeled and coarsely chopped
    1 bulb Fennel, coarsely chopped
    2 blades Celery coarsely chopped
    1 ea. Leek, use white only and clean carefully of sand
    1 Bay Leaf
    1 tsp. Kosher Salt
    ½ tsp. Toasted and Ground Cumin Seed
    ¼ tsp. Toasted and ground Coriander seed
    ½ tsp. Cayenne Pepper
    ½ tsp. Ground White pepper
    2 cups White Wine
    5 cups Fish Fumet

    2 Tbsp. Olive oil
    1 Small onion Peeled and finely diced
    1 Carrot peeled and finely diced
    ½ bulb Fennel finely diced
    30 Small oysters shucked and stored in their natural liquor
    2 tsp. Lemon juice
    1 bunch Chives sliced thin
    1 tsp. Chili oil


  • Sauté the garnish vegetables in a small amount of olive oil.

  • Place the ham hock into a sauce pot with the light chicken stock. Cover it and simmer until tender over low heat, approximately 1-1/2 hours. Add water as necessary to keep the hocks mostly covered with liquid. Turn the hocks occasionally to promote even cooking. The meat should be falling off of the bone when done. Cool the hocks reserve for later and reserve the delicious resulting liquid. When hocks are cool, pull the meat off of the bones and cut them into bite size garnish pieces. Reserve for later.

  • In a hot 6 quart soup pot heat the oil then add the butter and allow it to bubble until the bubbling stops, add the cloves of garlic and allow it to soften until beginning to brown on the edges. Add the onions, and Jalapeno and cook until soft and just beginning to brown. Add the potato, fennel, leek and celery. Cook gently until all veggies are softening.

  • Add Bay leaf, cumin, coriander, salt, cayenne and white pepper. Cook for 1 minute to release the oils from the spices. Add the white wine and cook it until nearly dry. Add the fish fumet and allow to reduce by about half. Add the Ham hock stock in now. Allow to simmer until all is tasting delicious. Remove the bay leaf and carefully puree the entire soup in a high speed blender (A food processor will not do this job, use a blender.)

    All of this work can be done in advance.

  • Return the soup to a fresh soup pot, add the ham hock meat and return to gentle simmer. The stew wants to be slightly thick but what makes it especially sexy is that it not be too thick. If necessary add a small amount of stock too thin it.

  • Just before you are ready to serve the stew. Remove it from the fire add the oysters with their liquor and allow them a minute or so, stirring occasionally, to cook just until they begin to curl. Divide the vegetable garnish amongst 12 hot bowls or one large soup terrine and pour the hot soup over it. Sprinkle the top chives and drizzle very small amounts of chili oil on top of the stew.

The Story the Creation of the Spinach Dip Appetizer:

    "Spinach dip served in a sourdough bread bowl has become almost as American as apple pie. What Super Bowl party is without it? Believe it or not, John Vrattos was instrumental in its creation. In 1985*, while working in sales for a major sourdough bread company, he became part of a team that created the now famous "spinach dip appetizer" as a winning supermarket promotion for that year's Super Bowl. The idea of carving out a sourdough round and filling it with a luscious dip scored an instant touchdown with the public.*
    *The Sourdough Bread Bowl Cookbook by John Vrattos & Lisa Messinger

    Statistics for Super Bowl 19 (XIX)

    Final Score:
    Dolphins: 16
    49ers: 38

    Date: January 20, 1985
    Stadium: Stanford Stadium
    City: Stanford, California
    MVP: Joe Montana, Quarterback
    Favorite: 49ers by 3
    National Anthem: San Francisco Boys Chorus and San Francisco Girls Chorus
    Coin toss: Ronald Reagan (via satellite from the White House) and Hugh McElhenny
    Referee: Pat Haggerty
    Halftime Show: "World of Children's Dreams" with the USAF Tops In Blue[1]
    Attendance: 84,059
    Network: ABC
    Announcers: Frank Gifford, Don Meredith, and Joe Theismann
    Cost of 30-second commercial:$525,000