The Passover Meal, Northern Spain
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Matzoh Ball Soup (continued)



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“Yes, this is quite a bother to make… but there is nothing more
 comforting to eat. This isn’t tribal sentiment; for all that it’s known
as Jewish Penicillin, I wasn’t raised on it, but eating it makes me
feel I should have been, that indeed we all should have been.”

~ Nigella Lawson, on Chicken Soup and Matzo Balls,
in “Nigella Bites”

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Jewish Passover, from Provins
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 The Passover Meal
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La Belle Cuisine


Matzo Ball Soup

Splendid Soups:
Recipes and Master Techniques
for Making the World's Best Soups

by James Peterson, 1993, Bantam Books/
Revised 2000 John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

“Matzo balls  - or kneidlach – are made in much the same way as any dumpling except that matzo meal replaces flour and, in keeping with Jewish tradition, no
butter or dairy products are allowed in the batter. There are at least as many
matzo ball recipes as Jewish grandmothers; some insist the matzo balls should
be firm and chewy, while others, who claim lightness the ultimate goal, include seltzer water or even beaten egg whites to contribute the essential airiness. This recipe falls between the two schools; the beaten egg whites seem a bit recherché
and are left out, but plenty of whole eggs are used so the matzo balls puff up
when they’re poached. Since I’m not a fan of chicken fat [!], I suggest duck or
goose fat as a tastier alternative.
Matzo balls in chicken broth are served as part of the traditional Passover
seder. Because most of the flavor comes from the broth itself, you must have
a good  broth. If you’re willing to spend the time, your best bet is to make a
double brown broth – broth cooked with broth instead of water. The first
broth can be made with chicken bones, but the second broth should be made
with chicken legs or wings for the fullest flavor. If you have the time, make
the broth the day before so it will be easier to remove any congealed fat.”

Makes 12 servings

The Double Chicken Broth:
5 pounds chicken legs or wings
1 medium-size onion, coarsely chopped
1 medium-size carrot, coarsely chopped
1 bouquet garni *
3 1/2 quarts brown chicken broth [stock]

The Matzo Balls (makes bout 36):
1 medium-size onion, finely chopped
1 cup duck, goose, or chicken fat
2 cups water
1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
4 teaspoons salt
2 cups matzo meal
6 eggs

* A bouquet garni is best made by tying fresh herbs together in a little bundle
with a short length of string [can also be made in a cheesecloth bundle].
The size of the bouquet garni will depend on the amount of soup you’re
making but most people make them too small. For 4 quarts of soup I use
about 10 thyme sprigs, a large bunch of parsley, and a whole bay leaf. If
you don’t have fresh thyme, use 1 teaspoon dried thyme.

Preparing the Double Chicken Broth: Preheat the oven to 450 degrees
F. Spread the chicken legs or wings in a heavy-bottomed roasting pan or
large skillet with the chopped vegetables. Roast until the meat and vege-
tables are well browned, usually in about 45 minutes. Add a cup or two
of water to the roasting pan if you notice the vegetables or the bottom
of the pan starting to burn.
Remove the roasting pan from the oven, transfer the chicken and vege-
tables to an 8- to 10-quart pot, and pour or ladle off any grease in the
bottom of the roasting pan. Discard the grease. Pour 2 cups of the broth
into the roasting pan and scrape the bottom with a wooden spoon to dis-
solve the juices sticking to the bottom.
Put the bouquet garni in the pot with the chicken and vegetables and pour
the contents of the roasting pan oven them. Add the rest of the broth or
slightly more or less if necessary to barely cover the chicken parts.
Put the pot on the stove over medium heat until the broth comes to a sim-
mer. Turn the heat down low enough to keep the broth at a low simmer
and cook for about 3 hours. Every 30 minutes, skim off any fat or froth
that comes to the surface. Add water or broth as necessary to make up
for evaporation.
If you’re using the double broth the next day, strain it into a clean pot or
heat-resistant plastic container. Let it cool, uncovered, for an hour before
putting it in the refrigerator. The next day, remove any congealed fat with
a spoon.
Preparing the Matzo Balls: Cook the onion in 1 tablespoon of the fat
until it softens, about 10 minutes.
Combine the water, remaining fat, nutmeg, and 1 teaspoon salt and bring
to a simmer in a 4-quart pot. Stir in the matzo meal and work the mixture
over medium heat for about 1 minute, until it pulls away from the sides of
the pot.
Turn the mixture out into a mixing bowl and work the eggs into the mixture one by one with a wooden spoon. Because the size of the eggs varies, you may need to add slightly more or less. To know when you’ve added the
right amount, dip a wooden spoon sideways about an inch into the batter,
then pull it to one side to make a crevice. The crevice should slowly close
in on itself. If it remains rigid, add more egg. Season the batter to taste
with salt and pepper.
Fill a wide pan or pot with about 6 inches of water. Add the remaining salt
to the water and bring it to a simmer. Shape the batter into egg or ball
shapes by dipping two soupspoons into a bowl of cold water and forming
the batter with them. Slide the matzo balls into the simmering water. Sim-
mer them gently for about 25 minutes, then turn them over and simmer
them for 25 minutes more. Transfer them to an oiled sheet pan and cover
them with a damp kitchen towel. (You can keep them this way overnight.)
When it comes time to serve, heat the matzo balls (still covered with the damp kitchen towel) in a 250-degree F oven for 15 minutes.
Bring the broth to a simmer, season with salt and pepper, and ladle it into
hot soup bowls. Arrange 3 matzo balls in each bowl.

Matzoh Ball Soup page 1

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