Matzo Ball Soup requires great chicken soup and a perfect matzo ball. However that is determined by whoever is eating the matzo ball!
Matzo Ball Soup is chicken soup with a matzo ball dumpling.
Cooks always argue about how to make the best chicken soup and the best matzo balls.
Matzo balls are alway open for discussion. Keep in mind there are two camps on matzoh balls. I prefer mine a bit dense so I am of the sinker camp. There are others that prefer floaters.
In other words, some like them light and fluffy and others like them dense and a bit chewy. These dumplings (which is really what they are) are always argued about.
Matzo balls are made from ground up matzo which is labeled matzo meal.
Matzo meal is ground up matzo made from flour and water, and is similar to breadcrumbs. There is no leavening in matzo.
Passover is a holiday where no rising agents are used because when we were slaves in Egypt we had to leave before our bread had risen.
Think back to when Charlton Heston as Moses was rushing everyone to leave!
For matzo to be kosher it must be made and baked in under 18 minutes.
So where to start? Learning to make a good chicken soup should be mandatory for any cook. It isn’t hard and can be adapted to your own taste.
But matzo ball chicken soup is so traditional that I don’t often vary what I do. (It took me a long time to come to this conclusion but it tends to make life easier, especially on Passover.)
And if you want to keep things really simple there is no need to make matzo balls.
Really. I admit to using Manischewitz matzo ball mix.
My mother told me about matzo ball soup mix many years ago. So let’s keep it our secret, shall we?
5 tips on matzo balls for Matzo Ball Soup:
- Save the chicken fat from the soup and use that to make your balls (whether homemade balls or not.)!
But how do you get chicken fat?You can buy chicken fat at the grocery in the frozen section or you can make it yourself by cooking chicken skin very slowly until it releases the fat.
But when you make chicken soup and chill it-which you should always do to get the clearest broth- the chicken fat rises to the surface. Just take a spoon and skim it off and you have chicken fat!
Or if you are lucky you can find frozen chicken fat at the grocery. I am not lucky so I now buy duck fat which amazingly, I can buy at the grocery!
2. Be sure to season your matzo balls well. Many do not salt them enough which makes them bland. I also like a touch of pepper and garlic powder and also add in chopped fresh dill-but that is up to you!
3. Remember not to pack too tightly into balls. They will surely be dense if you do.
4. And most importantly do not crowd your matzo balls in the pot. They need space to expand.
If you’ve never cooked a matzo ball they drop to the bottom when you drop them into the soup pot. But they quickly bounce back up where they cook, while covered for about 40 minutes. If they are too close together they don’t get cooked and then they really are sinkers.
Matzo balls also soak up liquid so I precook my matzoh balls in chicken broth made from Better than Bouillon because I don’t want to use up my chicken soup.
My mother swore by College Inn but I can’t find that here.
5. Cook the matzo balls and let them drain.
If you aren’t using them right away they can be placed in a plastic container with plastic wrap between the layers. Then freeze them and let them thaw before putting them in the actual soup to heat up.
Between all the comings and goings, I now have an empty house and that is taking some getting used to.
Passover was special. We had a perfect Seder and drank at least the requisite four glasses of wine.
Yes, we do have a lot to choose from now that my parents downsized their wine cellar, too!
Passover for the first time found me using my Abraham Lincoln dishes. Well, I have 4 pieces and my brother has the rest in a box in the garage.
The story is as follows:
My mother grew up in Danville, Illinois. When she was about 10 years old my grandfather went to an estate sale at the Woodbury’s.
Honest Abe often stayed there when he rode his law circuit and my grandfather was told that these were dishes he ate off of.
Well, when he arrived home with countless boxes of gorgeous china wrapped in linen and damask cloths, Grandma Fanny was furious.
Grandpa Burt also came home with several other pieces of china and two rings: a star sapphire and a diamond ring.
My grandma decided to use the dishes and now countless chips and evidence of dishwashing have taken their toll on them.
However my Grandpa did win her heart back when he decided to sell the diamond ring which more than covered what he paid for the dishes!
Truthfully, I don’t ever remember my Grandma using the dishes and when she died my mother got them.
She kept them on display, but I don’t remember her using them either.
Now that she has downsized, I finally received a few pieces.
Since Passover is a holiday of freedom, I thought it fitting to use them on our Passover table and I intend to make that a tradition. (They are my centerpiece in the picture.)
Field Museum later offered to buy the set from my Grandma Fanny, but she wouldn’t sell.
We don’t have many heirlooms in our family because we don’t have a lot of history here, and every heirloom counts!
So now it’s onward and upward and I feel like I need two weeks to catch up for the week I “lost”.
I am so needing this easy matzo ball soup recipe!
(If you are ready to cook, just skip down to the recipe!)
Sunday found Manservant leaving early for Sweden and almost not getting there because United wanted to hold him in the US since his passport expires in three months.
It appears that the airlines get fined if they let someone fly to a country where they violate passport rules.
Well, Manservant being Manservant, had checked with Swedish border patrol and they said no problem.
The problem was when United wouldn’t check with Sweden. After speaking with border patrol on the phone they finally let him pass but didn’t mention they managed to pull his baggage from the flight which he conveniently found out about when he arrived in Stockholm.
Alex also left on Sunday. He discovered that if you fly Southwest and don’t show for the first segment of your itinerary, they cancel the entire itinerary.
He found himself having to buy a last minute seat to LAX because Southwest canceled him on his way over.
It appears that when one is flying over the Pacific on a 6 hour delayed flight, that one should still find a way to let Southwest know they won’t be making their flight.
Now had he booked two one way flights on Southwest, his flight back to LAX wouldn’t have been canceled.
Yes, I have filed a major complaint with Southwest, who I used to adore.
Word to the wise:
Never fly Southwest if you are coming in from overseas, especially if you think your flight will be delayed.
And never, ever, book Southwest as a round trip. They may let you take free luggage but trust me, they have found ways to recoup their costs!
So after seeing Manservant off and Alex rebooking his flight, we sat down for a breakfast of matzo brei.
Matzo brei is a Jewish version of migas, and is quite good, if I say so myself.
It can be prepared sweet or savory and I should make it for you, but I didn’t.
After brunch, it was time to take my folks to the airport and luckily, they had no problems!
We then came home and Alex had numerous female visitors, which left him packing late in the afternoon.
Zoe and I took him for the 45 minute one way drive to the airport about 8pm. We then came home, where I proceeded to pass out!
Monday found us heading up to Greeley to see PUPPIES! It’s getting close and soon I will be able to take one home permanently.
I will always miss George and this isn’t his replacement; it is just one more way to add that special Skye magic back to my life.
So take a look at this, why don’t you? George was a black Skye.These pups are born black but they will change color.
I know you can only see their heads but soon they are expected to have white bodies and a black muzzle, ears and tail!
She made it with 5 minutes to spare because TSA didn’t have enough agents at security.
She said many others were in the same boat and her flight was half empty.
I’m sure glad she made it because I did not want to turn around! BUT, I would have, because it was Zoe and I love her.
So now I’m faced with catch up. My house is dirty again and the floors are gray.
I have two extra sets of sheets and towels to wash and lots of matzo crumbs to sweep up.
My heart is full, but it is a bittersweet full, because I so loved having my family around.
The time with Alex was way to short. First he headed to Salt Lake for a college ski reunion. He then came home and his friends popped out of the woodwork.
Last he went to Vail to see his old homies and I stayed here and cooked!
Don’t know when we’ll see him again, but we are planning on attending a wedding in Costa Rica next January, so I expect if we don’t see him before, he’ll manage to pop up then!
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