Saturday, January 26, 2008

How to... Make Matzo Ball Soup

I first mentioned making matzo ball soup in this recent post. Here is now I made it...


chicken stock of some sort (from a can, box, bouillion cube, etc.)
baby dill (to garnish)
black pepper
Matzo meal (out of a box)

Pictured above: a box of matzo meal

I do not know what the differences between the various brands of matzo meal mix, but my personal preference is Manischewitz simply because of familiarity sake. Oh, and something some of my readers may find annoying about my recipe style, I just make shit up as I go along. I do not really measure anything and I just add until it "tastes good enough". There are some drawbacks to cooking like this, but its how I do things in the kitchen, because I just can't get away with doing this in a science lab.

First, start heating up the water in the pot and add in however much chicken broth, black pepper and garlic you want. Don't look at me, its your soup! If you are making matzo ball soup for somebody who is sick with a cold or the flu, add a lot of black pepper, it helps clear up the sinuses. While the broth is heating up, you can use this time to chop up however many carrots, celery and parsley you want to add. I typically do thick slices of the carrots and celery and merely tear up the parsley with my hands out of laziness. Whatever size they end up being was out of apathy. I typically avoid adding in parsley stems, but very few often tend to sneak in.

When the broth starts to boil, add in the vegetables. Not sure why exactly, I think I may have read it somewhere but I can't cite my sources on that.

While the broth is heating up, use this time to make the matzo balls. Just follow the instructions on the box. But in short, in a large bowl, mix in eggs, vegetable oil, and the matzo meal with a fork. The instructions on the box will not tell you to mix in some parsley and garlic. But I do. Then you will get something that looks like this:

After you have evenly mixed the matzo meal and other ingredients, let the bowl sit in the refrigerator for 20 minutes. This helps the flavor set in, and the matzo meal firm up a little before making them into balls.

If you are concerned about overdoing the garlic, just add the garlic to the matzo balls or the broth. Otherwise you risk making the soup inedible to the person you are making it for who isn't into intense garlic flavors then you have to water it down and you may risk accidently watering it down too much.

And with wet hands, dig in and start making balls about an inch in diameter thick. -Or so, thats what the instructions on the box say. I made them anywhere from 1-3 inches in diameter. Keep in mind that the balls will swell about... oh... I say... maybe 30% of its volume after its been sitting in the broth for a while?

My arm looks way hairier in that picture than it does in real life.

Set each finished matzo ball on a clean flat surface, until you get a little army of 'em in laying down in rows. I forgot to take a picture of what this would look like. When you are done, then start to quickly put them in so that they can all start cooking roughly around the same time. At first they matzo balls will sink when you put them in the soup, and then they will rise to the top about a minute later.

If the water is boiling at this point (make sure it is when you start putting in the matzo balls), they should be ready to eat in about 15-20 minutes at the earliest. But I would recommend about 45 minutes so that the matzo balls can absorb the surrounding flavor of the broth.

This is a good example on how to unevenly cook your matzo balls. So make sure you keep an eye on 'em and stir.

I personally like to let them simmer with low heat for about an hour or so before eating. After you serve yourself a bowl of soup, garnish with some baby dill. I forgot to take a picture of the final product in a bowl.

Advice for vegetarians: Instead of chicken stock, add a ton of vegetable stock. Let me know how it tastes because I never tried it.
Advice for vegans: Maybe vegetable oil is sufficient to make the mazto meal stick? I kind of doubt it. But if you figured something out that works let me know.

Recipe to cover someday: masa ball soup, sephardic chicano style.


Foodeater said...

There are plenty of good egg substitutes, but one I like to use in baking which I think would work well in a matzo ball as well, is soft "silken" tofu (the kind that comes in the little vacuum packed box) that has been whipped in blender with a little bit of water. It's virtually tasteless (no weird tofu flavor) and works just like eggs. Enjoy!

Ellen Bloom said...

Yummmmm! Your m.b. soup looks delicious!