I’ve talked quite a bit about growing up a predominantly Italian family, which was absolutely fabulous. My grandma made the most amazing food, and I still treasure our Sunday dinner tradition to this day. I don’t have nearly as much experience with other international foods, but I’m always looking for an excuse to experiment with new types of food. My Chief Culinary Consultant’s grandfather is Jewish, so I was thrilled when a trip to Florida a couple of years ago coincided with Rosh Hashanah. We were able to have dinner with my CCC’s parents and grandfather, and made some traditional dishes to celebrate the Jewish new year. You might remember the honey cake and noodle kugel, both of which I made for the occasion. Ever since then, I’ve been wanting to make matzo ball soup, and I figured that Rosh Hashanah, which begins this evening, would be a perfect reason.
Matzo ball soup is a very simple dish, made of chicken stock (or broth), sliced carrots, fresh parsley or dill and, of course, matzo balls. The matzo balls themselves are made of eggs, vegetable oil (although it’s said that chicken fat makes an even better matzo ball), water, matzo meal and some simple salt and pepper seasoning. The matzo balls are simmered in a pot of water until light and fluffy, then added to the stock mixture. I love how that this soup is both incredibly easy and satisfying all at once. True comfort food.
To all of my Jewish readers out there, L’shanah tovah!
If you are familiar with Jewish food, do you have any favorite recipes that are a must-try? Please feel free to share recommendations in the comments below!
Make the Matzo Balls: In a medium bowl, lightly whisk the eggs. Whisk in the vegetable oil, then the water. In a separate small bowl, stir together the matzo meal, salt and pepper. Stir the matzo mixture into the egg mixture. The consistency will initially be like pancake batter, but it will immediately begin to thicken. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour, or up to 4 hours.
Bring 4 quarts of water to a boil in a large stockpot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. With moistened hands, form 1 tablespoon of matzo mixture into balls about 1-inch in diameter. Drop the balls into the boiling water so that each falls into the pot in a different place, not crowding each other. When all of the balls are added, reduce the heat to medium-low heat and simmer, covered, for 20 minutes. With a slotted spoon, remove one matzo ball, cut in half and check for doneness. The matzo ball is done when the inside is not dark or wet. If necessary, cook 5 to 10 additional minutes, or until the color is uniform throughout and the texture is light and fluffy (I did end up cooking mine for an additional 10 minutes).
Make the Soup: While the matzo balls are cooking, bring the chicken stock to a boil in a large saucepan. Add the carrots, reduce the heat to medium-low, and cook until tender, about 6 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the matzo balls to the soup. Stir in the fresh parsley and serve immediately.
If using Streit's brand matzo meal, reduce the amount of water to 6 tablespoons.
To create large matzo balls about 2½ inches in diameter, use 2 tablespoons of raw mixture and increase the cooking time to 35 to 40 minutes.