Texans don’t mess with chili. Not even Chris Shepherd, the creative chef behind Underbelly and the brand-new One Fifth in Houston, the host city for this Sunday’s Super Bowl. And when it comes to game-day eats, you can’t do better than a batch of the good stuff. “Some things you just can’t touch,” Shepherd says. “When I want chili, I just want chili.” (In Texas, that means no beans, thank you, and plenty of heat.) He does have one secret ingredient: Maseca, a readily available corn flour that adds body to his easy recipe. But he didn’t learn that trick in culinary school. “Growing up, I’d buy those three-alarm chili packets,” he says. “There’d be dried masa in the mix, and I’d always be like, What the hell is masa, and why is it in my chili? Later on, it made sense.”
Another one of his go-to party snacks is also a riff on a childhood favorite. “I grew up on chips and dip,” Shepherd says. “French onion dip was king in my world.” Today, he makes his own by melting down chopped green onions with garlic, butter, and white wine before mixing in sour cream and mayonnaise. His dipper of choice? A good old gas station pork rind.
For best results, make the chili and the dip a day ahead of time, but throw a skillet of cornbread in the oven right before you sit down to watch the game. “If you’re eating chili,” Shepherd says, “You’ve gotta have cornbread.”