From the Kitchen: Matzo Ball Soup
When we were in New York City last year, we would run into these deli+salad bar+soup shops at almost every corner and we absolutely LOVED it. We’re total soup, salad, and sandwich types, and in a city where nothing is cheap, to eat a satisfying meal that doesn’t break the bank is priceless. Needless to say, we ate at our local deli quite often. And at the top of our soup list was always matzo ball which can be so hit or miss for me, but luckily our deli made a good one. Often, we would order our food and find a park bench to eat at…it felt so quintessential New York. Even though I can remember eating my first matzo ball soup with my dad at Junior’s in West LA, this soup will ALWAYS remind me of our stay in NYC. Recipe after the jump. xoxo!
P.S. The fancy dishes above were Evan’s parent’s wedding china! They passed them on to us a few years ago…cute, right? They’re so fragile feeling that I’m always afraid that they’ll break, so we never use them. It was nice to be able to bring them out for this shoot.
Matzo Ball Soup (I followed this Smitten Kitchen recipe EXACTLY and I wouldn’t change a thing! BEST CHICKEN STOCK I’VE EVER MADE)
Serves 4 comfortably with a little leftover.
Yield: Approximately 3.5 quarts
3 1/2 to 4 1/2 pounds chicken necks, backs and wings
3 celery ribs, cut into big chunks
3 carrots, scrubbed and cut into big chunks
2 parsnips, scrubbed and cut into big chunks
2 onions, unpeeled and quartered
1 head garlic, cut horizontally in half
1 Turkish or 1/2 California bay leaf
1 tablespoon black peppercorns
1 tablespoon Kosher salt
4 quarts cold water
Bring all ingredients to a boil in an 8- to 10-quart heavy pot. Skim froth. Reduce heat and gently simmer, uncovered for 3 hours.
Pour stock through a fine-mesh sieve into a large bowl and discard solids. If using stock right away, skim off and discard any fat. If not, cool stock completely, uncovered, before skimming fat, then chill, covered. Reserve a few tablespoons of the skimmed fat if you wish to use them in matzo balls (below).
Stock can be chilled 3 days in the refrigerator or frozen 1 month.
Matzo Ball Soup
If you can’t find matzo meal, pulse a few pieces of matzo in your food processor until it is a coarse powder.
Makes 8 to 12 matzo balls (note: I ground matzo in a food processor to make the matzo meal and I was able to get about 12 matzo balls)
1/2 cup matzo meal
2 eggs, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons reserved chicken fat or vegetable oil
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
2 tablespoons chicken stock or seltzer (which both of our mothers swear by for making the balls extra light)
2 to 3 quarts prepared chicken stock (recipe above)
1 carrot, thinly sliced
A few sprigs of dill
Mix all matzo ball ingredients in a bowl. Cover and place in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
Bring 1 1/2 quarts of well-salted water to a brisk boil in a medium-sized pot.
Reduce the flame. Run your hands under water so they are thoroughly wet. Form matzo balls by dropping spoonfuls of matzo ball batter approximately 1-inch in diameter into the palm of your wet hands and rolling them loosely into balls. Drop them into the simmering salt water one at a time. Cover the pot and cook them for 30 to 40 minutes.
About ten minutes before the matzo balls are ready, bring prepared chicken stock to a simmer with the sliced carrot in it. Ladle some soup and a couple matzo balls into each bowl and top with a couple snips of dill. Eat immediately.