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April 22, 2005

The Best Matzo Ball Soup

Yeah, I really think it is.

This recipe is based on the standard box o' matzo meal recipe with onion and ginger additions suggested by Bernard Clayton in his Complete Book of Soups and Stews. I decided to use fresh instead of dried ginger.

The best utensil for grating the nutmeg, onion and ginger is a Japanese ginger grater. If you grate the ingredients in the order listed (driest to wettest) it will be the most efficient - each cleans the previous ingredients’ residue out of the grater.

I won’t give a recipe for chicken broth here, but this soup requires two quarts of homemade chicken broth. The chicken fat used in the matzo balls is also a byproduct of broth making.

Break the eggs into a large mixing bowl; lightly beat them. No, I don't separate my eggs and beat the egg whites. I like a slightly firmer matzo ball. Slightly firmer. Not a cannonball.

Stir in melted fat and broth.

Mix all matzo ball ingredients together, adding enough water to make a stiff loose paste. [update 4/24/05: see above – I think too little water was the problem with the batch I made] Let stand or chill for at least twenty minutes to stiffen.

Bring a large pot (with a tight fitting lid) of salted water to the boil.

Form the stiff paste into balls about an inch and a half in diameter or the size of a large walnut.

Drop into the boiling water, which should be at a gentle, not a hard boil. Cover tightly and let the matzo balls cook in their own steam for about 40 minutes until cooked through.

Meanwhile, in another large pot bring the chicken broth to the boil with the other broth ingredients and cook at a gentle boil until vegetables are tender.

When matzo balls are cooked, remove with slotted spoon and transfer to broth. Simmer together at least 15 minutes before serving.

Posted by Leigh Witchel at April 22, 2005 11:55 PM

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Mmm, I love matzo ball soup and want to make some this week for me & Victoria. So does the stupidmarket have chicken fat & matzo meal?

Posted by: eve at April 23, 2005 9:55 AM

Matzo meal will be all over the supermarket this week. Look in the Kosher foods section - it will be enlarged because of Passover.

Chicken fat - Maneschewitz and other brands may sell it, but if you're making chicken broth you should get sufficient and better chicken fat from broth making. I buy chicken legs and thighs when they're on sale and use them for broth. Don't pull out all the fat, let it render into the broth. After you've strained the broth, let it cool in the refrigerator and lift the fat off the top to use for cooking.

Posted by: Leigh Witchel at April 23, 2005 10:01 AM

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