A blog about eating, drinking, and making things - one small batch at a time

Delicious {albeit sacrilegious} Matzoh Ball Soup

Delicious {albeit sacrilegious} Matzoh Ball Soup

You may not know what matzoh ball soup is, but let me assure you that it’s basically just really, really ridiculously tasty chicken soup.

With the fluffiest dumplings.

It’s perfection.

M-Boh comes from Jewish routes, so naturally when we started dating we began learning about one another’s backgrounds. At the time, we also lived in an extremely Jewish neighborhood. My first experience with matzoh ball soup was at the famous Zaftigs Delicatessen in Brookline, MA, and I was immediately smitten. The texture of the matzoh balls was silky, fluffy; not at all what I expected when I saw the massive ball appear in my soup.

Fast forward a few years later, I started collecting lots of cook books to satisfy what had become an addictive cooking hobby. My sister gifted me this Soup book from Williams Sonoma and skimming through it, I found a matzoh ball soup recipe! It reminded me of my early twenties and I had to give it a shot. After trying the recipe a few times (as the recipe instructed) I realized doubling the recipe for the matzoh balls was necessary.

And then I did a stupid, sacrilegious, accidentally wonderful thing.

One of the key ingredients to really good matzoh balls, is “schmaltz,” which is rendered chicken fat. It is really easy to make by sautéing some fatty chicken pieces and skin on medium-low to render out the fat. When I decided to double my matzoh balls, I ended up with not enough schmaltz.

I did however, have bacon fat. The least kosher ingredient in the world.

Luckily, M-Boh’s not kosher, and by supplementing the schmaltz with a little bacon fat I made the most delicious matzoh balls I ever had.

But now you see why they’re called “sacrilegious”. . . Of course, if your bubbie is coming over, just use vegetable oil or traditional schmaltz.

Sacreligious Matzoh Ball Soup

  • 3 carrots, large dice
  • 1 large onion, medium dice
  • 3 celery stocks, large dice
  • 1 small bunch dill, chopped
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 12 cups, or 3 quarts chicken or turkey stock (preferably homemade)
  • 2 cups shredded chicken or turkey meat

For the matzoh balls (this is a technically a double batch):

  • 4 tbsp bacon fat (strained), schmaltz, or vegetable oil (or a combination)
  • 4 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup matzoh meal
  • 4 tbsp unflavored seltzer water or sparkling mineral water

Loosely adapted from the Soup book from Williams Sonoma

With your favorite Dutch oven, or large soup pot on medium low, add olive oil, onion, celery, and dill. Put the Dutch oven lid on so that just a tiny sliver of steam leaks out. This way the vegetables steam a little bit, but still brown. It really intensifies their flavor. Stir occasionally and adjust the temperature down if they start to brown too quickly. This process will take a solid 30-40 minutes, but it’s worth it.

In the meantime, make your matzoh balls! Start by whisking the bacon fat with the eggs and salt until well combined. Next, mix in the matzoh meal and sparkling water. Refrigerate for ~ 20-25 minutes. While you’re waiting and stirring your soup vegetables, get your matzoh ball cooking liquid heated up** in a large stock pot.  Measure 1 rounded tablespoon of dough into lightly greased hands and form into balls. You should get about 16-18 balls in a batch. In 20-25 minutes the balls should puff up nicely, not quite doubling size.

**You can do one of two things – cook the balls in simmering salted water, or I prefer to make my matzoh balls right in my stock, which gives them another layer of flavor. It does end up taking another step because some tiny bits of the balls break off and because of that I like to strain my stock after ward.

If you cooked the balls in your broth, gently return the broth into the vegetables and add the shredded meat to combine the flavors and heat through on medium heat for about 5 minutes. To serve, put one or two matzoh balls in a bowl and cover with as much delicious turkey or chicken soup as you’d like!

Enjoy!



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