How awesome are lazy Saturdays?!? I lounged around all morning in my PJ’s, did some baking, worked out, and spent the afternoon eating, drinking, and relaxing with friends.
This afternoon, Mal and I hosted a chili party at our apartment to cheer on his alma mater’s basketball team, who were playing in a “bracket buster” game. I really enjoyed the afternoon!
While I squeezed in a quick workout in our building’s gym (15 minutes lifting + 3.5 mile run), Mal started making the chili, using a recipe from Real Simple: Chili for a Crowd. We followed the recipe exactly, using all of the ingredients called for, including two bottles of Sam Adams Boston Lager.
This chili recipe was so easy to make and didn’t require much prep time– only about 20 minutes. However, the cook time, which was supposed to be 20-25 minutes of simmering over medium heat, turned out to be more like 50-60 minutes. The juices took forever to boil-off, but honestly, this batch of chili was well worth the wait!
With the chili, I served homemade whole wheat bread that I baked this morning. I used Zesty’s Quick and Easy Whole Wheat Bread recipe.
Ever since a failed homemade pizza crust, I have been very intimidated about making bread from scratch. Zesty’s recipe made it really simple and the ingredients were healthy and all natural. The only substitution that I made to his recipe was adding ground flaxseed meal instead of wheat germ, which didn’t seem to negatively affect the recipe. The bread turned out excellent– thick and grainy with a crusty outside, soft inside, and a slightly sweet honey flavor.
For our gathering, Mal picked up a couple of growlers from John Harvard’s Brew House:
- JOHN HARVARD’S PALE ALE: A tribute to the great British brewers of Burton-upon-Trent, Pale Ales are copper colored and hoppy.
- OLD WILLY INDIA PALE ALE: Originally made with extra hops and body for the long voyage to India from the U.K., this is an ale with a kick.
Of course, we used our UVM Catamount pint glasses to drink our beer.
When our guests arrived, I enjoyed a small pour of the Pale Ale.
While we waited for the chili to thicken, we snacked on appetizers that our guests brought. Our friend, Danielle, made two varieties of Pillsbury Crescents: pesto & cheese and pepperoni & marinara. I shared one of each with Mal– both were delish! I love those Pillsbury Crescents rolls, all buttery and flaky… mmmmm!
The Main Event
When the chili was finally done cooking, I poured myself another small serving of the Pale Ale to drink with it.
Neither Mal or I had ever made chili from scratch, so we were both nervous about how this recipe would turn out. We were especially concerned that it would be flavorless or just way too spicy. But, EVERYONE loved it!!! It had a ton of flavor with a slight kick, but not too spicy. Mal doesn’t like spicy food all that much, and he thought it was just the right amount of spiciness. I topped my portion with shredded cheddar and a little hot sauce.
The whole wheat bread was the perfect compliment to the chili. I sopped-up every last bite of my portion with a second slice of bread.
The chili was beyond delicious! Seriously. This is a VERY, VERY good chili recipe! Definitely try it!
By the way, Mal’s team won the basketball game!