Here is a comforting Halloween tradition, a meal of hot soup or chili in sourdough bread bowls watching a favorite movie of the season. For our family, since 1985 when “Mummy Daddy” first appeared in Spielberg’s Amazing Stories, every Halloween we have gathered around the TV to eat and watch this hilarious movie.
While the hush that falls over the group as young family members watch with rapt attention, Harold, the actor playing the part of Ra Amin Ka and dressed for the part, gets a call on set telling him that his wife had gone into labor. And with that, the tale records his struggles traveling through a rural community whose citizens are convinced of the legend of a mummy who haunts their nearby swamps.
And they want him dead. But just in time the father, still dressed as a mummy, makes it to the hospital in time to catch his wife and new daughter coming out of the delivery room. Watching this 30 min short story is worth the final punch line: “It just proves what they say…”
The mystery of a funny mummy captivates the little ones, while adults quote lines from throughout the move they have seen it so often. It is one of our “Family Cult” movies along with Hudsucker Proxy and Singing in the Rain.
For our family, this is just as central to Halloween as Santa Clause is to Christmas—far-away family members have purchased their own copies and continue the tradition. With the COVID-19 pandemic here, and to help keep down the spread, it looks like everyone is going to have to do it on their own this year.
However, for us competition chili, sourdough bread bowls, and “Mummy Daddy” all work to make the season complete. Usually, before the night is over, I would have packed up leftovers to send home. And I’d do it with pride because my brother’s competition chili is even better reheated the next day. But first, before getting to the chili, let’s make some sourdough bread bowls.
Sourdough Bread Bowls
Directions for making Sourdough Bread Bowls
- Stir down your mature starter before measuring 1⅓ cup (300g) into a mixer’s large bowl. (Remember to feed the remaining start before putting it away.)
- Add the starter to a mixing bowl with water (2¼ cups/ 540 g/mls), reserving one tablespoon for later.
- Mix in the flours until there is nothing left dry. Then rest this for 30 minutes. Known as the autolyse, this rest help release the full flavor of the grain and assists in gluten development.
- After the rest, add the one and a half tablespoons (26g) of salt and water (1 Tbls/20 g/ml). Stretch and fold the dough, mixing in the water and salt.
“With lightly wet fingertips, grab a portion of the dough and stretch it upward. Fold the dough over toward the center of the bowl. Give the bowl a one-quarter turn and repeat: stretch the dough upward and fold it over toward the center.”—How to Stretch and Fold Sourdough | The Clever Carrot
- Cover and let the dough rest for 30 more minutes. Then repeat the stretch and fold process for a total of three sets during the next 90 minutes.
- Then put the dough in a lightly oiled container, cover, and let rise overnight, until doubled in bulk.
- In the morning preheat the oven to 465°F (240°C) while you turn the dough on to your oiled or lightly floured surface.
- Then, divide the dough into six equal parts (about 285 g) each and tension them into round balls (or boules).
- Place in large cereal bowls covered with tea towels dusted with flour for 30 to 45 minutes.
- Just prior to baking, score the bread and place on parchment in preheated oven.
Bake with steam for 10–15 minutes, then vent steam and continuing baking for another 10–15 minutes until they are golden brown and the internal tempereature reaches 205°F/96°C.
“To bake with steam, place a metal (not glass) pan in the bottom of the oven while it is preheating. After putting the boules in the oven, carefully pour 1 cup of boiling water in the pan and quickly close the oven door. Be careful not to spill any water on the glass window of the door as there are reports of shattered glass with this method …You can also put a towel over the glass of the door while you pour the water – just take it out before you shut the oven.”—Bread Bowls Made With Sourdough |
- To ready the bread bowls, cut around the edges of each boule and into the center, making sure not to puncture it all the way through. Pull out the soft bread center forming a bowl. (You can save these pieces iof bread from the middle dipping on the side or toasted as croutons.)
Randyl’s Competition Chili
My younger brother has won several chili cook-offs with this recipe and I have won once. It seems complicated, but honestly, I just grabbed stuff around the house this morning and it was ready by noon.
Meat Base Directions
- In a large pot or slow cooker, brown meats in the olive oil. Add onions, garlic, and broth. Simmer for 1 ½ hours until meat is falling apart. (Keep enough broth to cover the meat and make a rich, moist stew.)
- Once this is the consistency desired, taste-test for flavor. Some broths and bouillons have varying degrees of salt. It is critical the base has enough, but not too much salt. You can add more as needed, but only 1/2 teaspoon at a time. If it is too salty, you can add a peeled and cubed potato until it tastes right.
- Rinse the beans and add them to the base. (In competition beans and/or rice are usually served on the side and not mixed into the base.)
- Add tomato paste and diced tomatoes. Cover and simmer for 15 more minutes.
- Mix the chili powder, cumin, paprika oregano, ancho chili, and cocoa powder together. Add half to the base and tomato mixture, stirring it in well.
- For more heat add white pepper, but only 1/2 teaspoon at a time.
- If you are after more heat, half jalepeños and add them, seeds and all to the chili, but remove them before serving
- Chili should be thick enough for a wooden spoon to initially stand upright and then slowly fall to the side.
- Before serving, add more of the chili powder, cumin, paprika oregano, ancho chili, and cocoa powder mixture to bring the flavor back up to taste. However, if there is too much heat, stir in some brown sugar or shredded Monterey Jack cheese. Also, you may add the juice of a lime and more cheese, before serving.
What will you put in sourdough bread bowls tonight? Tell us about your Halloween in the comment section below