Homemade Matzoh Ball Soup
As some of you might know, or might have guessed by my last name, I am in part Jewish. Not religiously, but culturally. My dad was raised Jewish and my mom wasn't raised as any religion and while we weren't raised in any relgious way, I definitely identify with the Jew thing culturally. I went to a Jewish summer camp for 7 years, I love food, and I complain a lot. I am extremely neurotic and my grandma goes by her Hebrew name. I think that all counts for something right?
Anyways, despite not celebrating the holidays, as Passover approached this year and as I heard rumblings of others making all sorts of Jewish dishes I felt the need to connect with my heritage and make a big ol' pot of Matzoh Ball Soup.
I've never made it before but here's what I knew:
- My grandma always said the key is that when you let them boil you do NOT lift the lid, never peek.
- Everyone says you should use homemade chicken stock (spoiler alert I didn't)
- There are about 1000 ways to apparently make these seeminly simple little nuggets
So I turned to a yoga student who is Jewish, and has become a pal of mine at the gym, we often bond over food chit chat. She sent me this recipe which she had used before and I figured I'd follow along as best I could.
I did pretty much follow the recipe but made a few adjustments for ease which I have added below.
What I used:
- 4 eggs, beaten
- 1/4 cup seltzer water (happened to have a can of plain LaCroix in the fridge)
- 1/4 cup Schmaltz (rendered chicken fat) or neutral oil (I used 1/4 cup of Grapeseed Oil)
- 1 cup matzo meal (I bought a box at Whole Foods)
- 1/8 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/8 tsp Freshly ground black pepper
- 3 quarts Chicken Stock - of course the recipe called for homemade but I swear by Better Than Boullion
- Finely diced carrot (2-3) and celery (4-6 stalks)
- 1 cup egg noodles (optional)
In a large mixing bowl, combine eggs with seltzer, and schmaltz or oil. In a small bowl, stir together matzo meal with baking powder, salt, and pepper. Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and stir to combine thoroughly. Refrigerate uncovered for 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, divide stock evenly between two pots, season both with salt, and bring to a simmer. Add diced carrots and celery and to one pot and simmer until just tender; keep warm.
Using wet hands, and re-wetting hands as necessary, form matzo-ball mixture into 1- to 1 1/2-inch balls (they grow when they cook!), and add to simmering pot of stock that doesn't have the carrots and celery. When all matzo balls are added, cover and simmer until matzo balls are cooked through, 1 hour. Cooked matzo balls can be kept warm in their broth until ready to serve. ** If you are adding the egg noodles, remove the matzoh balls and put them in a warm dish with a ladlefull of broth and cover. Then bring their broth to a boil and cook the egg noodles in that per the package instructions.
Using a slotted spoon, transfer matzo balls to serving bowls; add a couple ladles full of the matzo-ball-cooking broth to the carrot & celery broth. Ladle the soup with carrots and celery into each bowl and garnish with dill springs. Serve.