by Tia Douglas
The word matzoh means "unleavened bread." Its history can be traced back to the exodus of the Jews from Egypt. The dough is said to have been baked on rocks in the sun.
As long as there has been matzoh, creative cooks have been looking for a way to make the dry, cracker-like bread replacement more edible like the much coveted matzoh brei (fried matzoh). When making matzo balls, they grind it up, add eggs and make kneidlach (dumplings).
Kneidlach are served in chicken soup, especially on Passover. Enjoy this simple, fool-proof recipe for matzo ball soup. It's better than the "box" kind any day.
Prep time: 15 minutes | Total time: 1 1/2 hours | Yield: 8 to 10 servings
For the balls:
• 1/2 cup matzoh meal
• 2 eggs, separated
• 2 tablespoons chicken fat or vegetable oil
• 1 teaspoon salt
• 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
• 2 tablespoons water, chicken stock or seltzer
2 to 3 quarts prepared chicken stock
1 carrot, thinly sliced
2 celery stalks
1 small onion
A few sprigs of dill
In a small bowl, beat egg white until stiff. In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and liquid. Stir together matzoh meal and pepper. Alternately, fold egg yolk mixture and egg whites into the matzo meal. Cover and place in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
Bring 1 1/2 quarts of well-salted water or chicken broth to a boil in a medium sized pot.
Reduce the heat. Run your hands under water so they are thoroughly wet or rub oil on your hands (not too much!). Drop a spoonful of matzoh ball batter into the palm of your hand (or grab a nice sized amount with your fingers) and roll into balls, no larger than a ping pong ball (if they are too big, they won't cook correctly -- too small they'll be hard as rocks!). Drop them into the simmering salt water (or chicken broth) one at a time. Cover the pot and cook for 30 to 40 minutes.
About ten minutes before the matzoh balls are ready, bring the prepared chicken stock and sliced carrot to a simmer.
If you're able to wait those 10 long, agonizing minutes, you're ready to ladle the magical healing soup and a couple matzoh balls into each bowl. Garnish with fresh dill sprigs.
You might not have time to make your own chicken stock. Plenty of grocery stores have high quality chicken broth already prepared. Don't let Bubbe read this, but it's okay to use a packaged matzoh ball and soup mix. We just think this recipe is better.
How do you like your matzoh balls -- floaters or sinkers?