Sunday Soups: Chili + Cornbread Matzo Ball

Chili and matzo balls are two of my greatest comfort foods and when the Tennessee temperatures dipped into the 20s this week, I had a craving for both... at the same time. I usually eat my chili {which I prefer sans beans} with a side of cornbread, so I spiffed up these balls with a little corn meal which gave them a little extra bite and flavor.

Chili --

1 lb ground beef
1 lb Italian pork sausage
1 Tablespoon beef seasoning (salt, black pepper, coriander, dill, red pepper, garlic, paprika)
1/2 medium onion
3 cloves of garlic
1 carrot
2 stalks of celery
1 can or bottle of beer
1 cup chicken or beef stock
1 can diced tomatoes
1 can tomato paste
1 Tablespoon flour
1 Tablespoon cornmeal
1/4 cup water
Cayenne pepper to taste

1. In a pot, brown the ground beef and sausage with 1 Tablespoon of the beef the beef seasoning When cooked through, remove meat and strain fat into another bowl. Put it in the fridge to reserve fat for later.
2. Finely dice the onion, garlic, carrot, and celery. In the remaining fat that you couldn't quite get out of the pot, saute the vegatables on low until a nice aroma fills the room -- or about two minutes.
3. Put the meat back into the pot and stir to combine with veggies. Add the beer, stock, diced tomatoes, tomato paste, and second Tablespoon of beef seasoning. Stir to combine and simmer on low for 20 minutes.
4. Make a roux with the cornmeal, flour, and water. Add to pot and stir until chili thickens. Add cayenne to taste.

Cornbread Matzo Balls --

1 packet of matzo meal
1/4 cup of cornmeal
2 Tablespoons of fat from the meat cooked earlier (aka, schmaltz. You just want the thick yellow fat that rose to the top and solidified.)
2 eggs
2 cups chicken stock

1. Combine matzo meal, cornmeal, schmaltz, and eggs in a bowl with a fork. Refridgerate for 15 minutes.
2. Put stock in a pot on the stove to boil.
3. With wet hands, form 1 inch sized balls and drop into the boiling stock. Reduce to a simmer and cooked covered for 20 minutes.

Spoon the chili into a large bowl and top with a few matzo balls, shredded chedder cheese, avocado, cilantro, sour cream, tortilla chips, or whatever else you prefer on top (bacon??) and enjoy!


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