Entertaining a large crowd can be intimidating. Really! Which is why it wasn’t until about five years that I made my peace with the occasions that involve hoards of birthday celebrators, crowds of holiday carolers, or, in this case, masses of starving sports fans.
Making peace involved a small set of rules that I closely follow when serving and a crowd:
1. Recruit your slow cooker as a sous-chef.
2. Keep serving dishes and utensils to a minimum.
3. Related to #2, serve finger foods when possible.
4. Offer food and drink that is as equal opportunity as possible, in other words, restrict spicy, bitter, or particularly divisive foods to optional toppings or garnishes.
5. Don’t forget the beverages! Soda, juice, and beer or wine for the adults is great, but I also like to make up a pitcher or two of lightly flavored water to store in the refrigerator; snacking food can often be especially salty, which means that your guests may need something simple and refreshing to wash everything down.
Luckily, I’ve collected a few recipes over the years that fit these big game/big crowd guidelines perfectly: enter this Savory Chorizo & Cheese Monkey Bread.
My KitchenAid® Stand Mixer is a lifesaver when it comes to preparing this recipe, because this is not your usual monkey bread dough; monkey bread is typically comprised of small balls of yeasted dough which are arranged and baked into a loaf and then covered with caramel or another type of sweet sauce. I like to stuff my monkey bread balls, which means I need a dough that can stand up to being stretched around a filling – this dough recipe holds up extremely well to the extra handling, and my dough hook attachment makes easy work of slowly incorporating the necessary flour and kneading.
Even though the dough for this monkey bread is less tacky than a conventional monkey bread dough, you’ll still want to have a good amount of all-purpose flour on hand for both your work surface and your hands.
I find that setting up a little production line of my dough, the fillings, melted butter for brushing, and then a lightly buttered Bundt pan makes easy work of assembling my monkey bread. You still need to be careful to gently stretch and wrap your dough around your filling, but if you have everything set up in advance the process goes quickly.
Don’t be concerned if your pan is only filled halfway – this monkey bread puffs and rises like crazy! You also don’t need to be concerned if you end up with an uneven number of balls: simply pack them into the pan as tightly as you can, doing your best to create as symmetrical of an arrangement as possible.
Baked and perfect! And it gets even better: this monkey bread can be assembled in advance, stored (covered) in the refrigerator, and baked off just before your guests arrive. You can serve straight or with an optional salsa or marinara dipping sauce.
And now you have nothing to worry about. Even if your team doesn’t win, you’ve certainly scored a touchdown in the eyes of your hungry crowd of guests. Enjoy!
Savory Chorizo and Cheese Monkey Bread
Makes 10-12 servings
For the dough
3 cups Greek yogurt (I recommend using a full-fat variety of yogurt here, not nonfat.)
3 3/4 cups self-rising flour
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon mustard powder
1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper
All-purpose flour (for dusting your work surface and your hands)
For filling and assembling
1 1/2 cups cooked pork chorizo (I recommend draining your cooked chorizo.)
1 1/2 cups Monterey Jack cheese, shredded
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
Preheat your oven to 350°.
Lightly brush the inside of a 12-cup capacity Bundt pan with the melted butter and set aside.
To prepare the dough, place the self-rising flour and yogurt into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook. Mix ingredients together on low speed to blend, scraping down the side of the bowl as necessary. Once the dough has come together, continue to mix on low for 3-5 minutes to knead. Ultimately you’re looking for a shaggy, sticky, cohesive dough that has come together into a solid ball.
To assemble your bread, dust your work surface and hands liberally with all-purpose flour (you may even choose to coat your ball of dough completely with all-purpose flour upon removing it from the mixer bowl, just to make it easier to handle). Pull off a golf ball-sized piece of dough and flatten it with your hand. Top the flattened dough with a teaspoon of chorizo and a teaspoon of cheese. Note that the amount of filling that you use for each piece of monkey bread is somewhat subjective: you’re going to need to fold the edges of the dough up and over the filling and pinch it shut. If you overstuff your dough it will tear, so just eyeball it and do the best you can. Once you’ve folded and pinched your dough ball shut, brush it liberally with butter and place it, seam-side up, in the prepared pan. Repeat with the remaining dough and filling. Your finished, packed pan will only be approximately half full. Note that I ended up with 22 stuffed balls; don’t panic if you end up with a few more or a few less. Just pack your pan as tightly and evenly as possible.
Bake for approximately 50-60 minutes; finished monkey bread will be puffed and golden brown on the top and sides. Set aside to cool before unmolding. Serve hot or at room temperature, optionally, accompanied by a tomato sauce or salsa for dipping.
*The Contributor of this post has been compensated by KitchenAid for this post, but this post represents the Contributor’s own opinion.*