Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Anytime Matzo Ball Soup



This is the second time I've held a Passover Seder in June. I'm clearly not the world's most observant Jew, or I might clear my schedule at the appropriate time in March or April. But I'm juuust Jewish enough not to be able to go for a year without a bowl of Matzo Ball Soup. My new resolution is to make it a lot more often than that because it's an incredibly easy way to jazz up vegetable broth. Which we always have too much of on hand, because we always have plenty of aging veggies on hand, because our eyes are always bigger than our stomachs at the farmers' markets.

This year I tried out Molly Katzen's recipe from her Still Life with Menu cookbook. (I figured who better to trust Jewish veggie food to?) She swears her broth is the closest thing to chicken soup you'll get, the secret being tons of garlic. The broth was easy and tasty, but honestly a little plain for me. (No herbs?) The matzo balls were good but too dense. (Too many eggs?) And she doesn't specify adding any vegetables to the soup, which I took to be an oversight... plain broth and matzo balls? That seems just a tad TOO cucina povera.

I made another batch today with my own leftover broth (heavy on the leeks, broccoli, and marjaram) and a variation on my old matzo ball recipe. YUM!!! The balls were light and fluffy, the broth hearty, the vegetables cooked to perfection. Here's the recipe:

2 quarts homemade vegetable broth.
Molly's recipe is a good one to start with, throw in any old veggies in your fridge. Whatever you do, don't skimp on the onions, garlic, and herbs.

8 cups water
1 teaspoon salt
1 8-inch parsnip, cut into chunks
2 large carrots, cut into chunks
2 medium onions, quartered
8-10 garlic cloves, crushed
2 stalks celery, cut into chunks
a handful of mushrooms
1/2 teaspoon turmeric (this gives it a more chickeny color... but watch out, it will stain your plastic.)
generous amount of freshly ground pepper

Cover veggies with cold water in large pot. Bring to boil, lower to simmer, partially cover. Cook until veggies are mushy, about 1.5 hours. Turn off heat and cool to room temp. Strain out and discard veggies. You can do this up to a week in advance. Store in glass jars or other tightly sealed container in fridge.

Matzo Balls
2 large eggs
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup matzo meal
1 teaspoon salt
handful chopped parsley
1/4 cup plain or sparkling water or as needed

Break eggs into bowl, beat gently with oil. Stir in matzo meal, salt, and parsley. Add water slowly until mixure is just wet but not runny. The sparkling water is a trick to make the balls lighter... everyone seems to have their own secret... I've seen recipes that use Sprite or baking soda. Store covered in refrigerator for at least half an hour, up to a couple of days.

Soup
Soup veggies of your choice, for example:
2 carrots
1 parsnip
3 stalks celery
handful mushrooms
1/2 cup chopped scallions

Bring broth to boil. While it heats, chop carrots, celery, mushrooms into bite size pieces. Chop scallions, set aside. When soup is boiling, add vegetables. Bring back to boil. Form matzo batter into balls by rolling a spoonful loosely between your hands. Don't squish them. The size should be somewhere between marble and golf ball. Drop them one at a time into the boiling soup. They should rise to the top as they cook. Once all the balls are in, continue to boil for about 20 minutes, until the vegetables are tender. Taste, add salt if necessary. Ladle a few matzo balls into each bowl, top with soup and a sprinkle of scallions. Serves about 6.

It's so pretty, let's go in for a close up.

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1 Comments:

  • At April 19, 2017 at 5:49 PM , Blogger Rebecita said...

    Notes to myself on the new and improved batch 2017:

    Serious eats tested out all the ways to lighten your matzo balls Great pics of how the consistency of the batter should look. Add more seltzer than my recipe for a lighter ball. http://www.seriouseats.com/2015/04/how-to-make-the-best-matzo-balls.html

    Try simmering balls in separate broth than veggies - strain to remove crumbs. Also would help avoid overcooking veggies.

    Add fresh garlic to the broth when simmering balls. 1 clove per quart or so. Magical. Optional: Drizzle lemon olive oil in soup to finish.

     

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