Chicago Bears’ Bye Week

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From Food Network by Geoffrey Zakarian

The First String: Game Day Chili and Beer Bread

To make both of these dishes, you’ll need two beers: a lager for the chili and an ale or stout for the bread. I would encourage you to drink this dish with one of these two beers; heck, you could even conduct a beer tasting to see which one goes better with the chili and bread combination.

Now, the chili is a recipe from an Iron Chef, specifically, Geoffrey Zakarian, which calls for three pounds of ground beef; I would recommend using whatever you like: all three pounds could be ground beef (I would suggest using two lean and one with more fat), or use part ground beef and part ground pork, or even incorporate some ground turkey or chicken into the mix if you desire. The flavors of this dish relies on the chile powder, so be sure to get a good one. The chile powder I use is the bulk kind found at a Sam’s Club or I’ve even found some specialty ones at the local grocery store. You may want to try a smoked chile powder for a change. Be sure to take note of the chiles that are in the spice blend to make sure you don’t scorch the taste buds off your tongue.  To keep the beer train going, why not serve this chili with beer bread? This recipe is an easy one that does call for a little bit of whole-wheat flour, but don’t make the extra effort to buy this special type if you have while flour in your pantry; the bread will come out just fine. I like that this recipe calls for dill and cheddar cheese, which gives the bread a great flavor, but feel free omit whichever you don’t care for.

From Sprinkle Bakes

Ball Carry to the End Zone: Sweet and Salty Guinness Chocolate Pie

For this final installment of the beer celebration, this recipe calls for a fifth beer, a classic Irish beer known as Guinness. This recipe is featured in a Huffington Post article about Guinness Dessert Recipes, so feel free to check the others out.

This pie features a pretzel/graham cracker crust (be sure to pick-up the Honey Maid Honey Grams brand – it’s the best one, trust me). The crust is baked and topped with a chocolate-beer filling that is incorporated with sugar, egg yolks and heavy cream. Then, like a grown-up s’more, topped with another layer of the Guinness blended with marshmallows.

Since this menu calls for five types of beer, most stores that sell beer do offer a make-your-own-six-pack, so you don’t have to buy five different packs or cases and wonder when you will drink all of these varieties, even though I am sure there would be volunteers who would line-up to help dispose of these beverages, if needed. May this menu give you the energy needed to go the distance to finish up the season.