Light as air Matzo ball soup

Light as air Matzo ball soup

For those of us who grew up on chicken noodle soup, we will almost with certainty reach for it when we need some warm delicious comforting meal. But trust me – and one day give this a try instead.

Fluffy, light as air matzo balls are basically sponges and are an amazing broth delivery system! They are basically the lightest, most delicious and fluffiest dumplings you can imagine, infused with the delicious broth.

I didn’t grow up on this soup, but I discovered it and became obsessed with it when I lived in Toronto, as my favourite chain restaurant had it on their menu. What a disappointment it was when after we left Toronto, I was not able to find a local restaurant that served a comparable soup.

I quickly learned that a lot of pre-made mixes use MSG as a flavour enhancer in this soup. I also, sadly, learned that a lot of restaurants actually use these MSG riddled mixes. Obviously, not all restaurants do that, but the mixes with added MSG deliver big flavours at low cost, compared to traditionally made stock that relies on the use of an obscene amount of chicken (feet, wings, bones, etc.,) and are, therefore, much more expensive to make.

I started working on perfecting my matzo ball soup recipe from scratch to deliver the fluffiness of the matzo balls and the richness of the broth.

I didn’t have to go far as the nearly a perfect recipe was printed right there on the Matzo Meal container! However, for additional fluffiness, I add baking powder to my matzo balls and, for extra flavour, I simmer them in broth (not water) so they come out extra flavourful!

Traditional matzo balls recipes call for shmaltz, rendered chicken or goose fat. I omit this in my recipe, simply because for home cooks, especially the ones who don’t make matzo ball soup that often, it’s not a very practical step.

In my recipe, I use fortified stock to deliver bold flavours and rich luscious mouthfeel to the soup. But feel free to make matzo balls and simply toss them in your favourite chicken soup, instead of making the suggested fortified stock.

DifficultyIntermediate

Yields5 Servings
Prep Time45 minsCook Time1 hrTotal Time1 hr 45 mins

For Matzo Balls:
 2 tbsp oil
 2 eggs
 ½ cup Matzo Meal
 ¾ tsp kosher salt
 2 tbsp chicken broth, water or sparkling water
 ¼ tsp baking powder
 6 cups chicken stock
For Flavoured Stock:
 6 cups chicken stock
 1 cup water plus more as needed
 2 medium carrots
 2 celery stalks
 1 yellow onion
 1 bay leaf
 2 lbs chicken feet, optional (you may get these at a reasonable cost from your butcher)
 1-3 lbs chicken legs, drumsticks, thighs or wings
 salt and pepper to taste
To put the Soup together:
 flavoured stock we just made
 couple of carrots, peeled and sliced on a bias
 any other veggies of choice (eg. cubed parsnips, celery)
 dill or parsley, for garnish, optional

For Matzo Balls:
1

Beat eggs in a bowl. Add oil and beat. Add Matzo Meal, baking powder and salt. Blend together. Add broth, water or carbonated water and mix until uniform. Chill in the fridge for 30 minutes.

2

In the meantime, bring 6 cups of stock to a boil. Form Matzo meal with wet hands into 5 balls. Roll them gently without packing them too hard to avoid tough Matzo balls. Rinse your hands in cold water after rolling each ball. Drop the balls into simmering stock after you roll them.

3

Cover the pot tightly tightly, reduce heat to maintain steady simmer and simmer for 40-60 minutes. Whatever you do, do not uncover them for the first 40-50 minutes!! The matzo balls should double in size, rise to the surface and be very light and fluffy. If your matzo balls are ready before your stock is, just keep them warm right in the broth until you are ready to serve.

For Flavoured Stock:
4

Place all of the ingredients into a large pot, add water as needed to ensure that it just covers all of the chicken. Bring to a boil, reduce to simmer and continue simmering for about 45 minutes to an hour. Strain and discard the vegetables. Reserve chicken meat for another use, or to add to your soup.

To prevent the chicken meat from becoming tough, you may need to remove it after it's cooked through - about half an hour of cooking (check - the internal temperature needs to be around 170°; remove gently with two forks, as the chicken will be very hot), while placing the bones back into the pot to finish simmering.

Note: the amount of chicken is not specified exactly. Use as much or as little as desired. Feel free to make a lot more stock than needed, the flavour and the rich mouthfeel from all the gelatin extracted from the bones will amaze you (you can use it later in another recipe, it can also be frozen.) I usually use about 10 drumsticks at a minimum. But if I make it to impress my guests, I go to the butcher and get lots of flavour and gelatin-rich chicken feet and wings as that produces the best results.

To put the Soup together:
5

Bring your flavoured strained stock to simmer. Add sliced carrots and simmer for about 15 minutes until tender. You can also add celery, parsnips or other cubed veggies at this point.

6

Place one large Matzo ball right in the middle of each individual serving bowl. Place some of the carrots (and other veggies, if used) to the side of the matzo ball. Add reserved chicken, if desired. Ladle hot fortified stock on top. Garnish with dill if desired and serve immediately.

7

NOTES:

I'm strongly suggesting simmering matzo balls in another pot in stock. They are huge sponges that will absorb the flavour. And although it may seem wasteful to simmer them in stock, if you simmer them in water - they will taste like, well... water. So it's crucial to simmer them in all or at least, in part, in stock. Simmer your matzo balls in a separate pot, not directly in your soup, to avoid muddy-looking soup.

Ingredients

For Matzo Balls:
 2 tbsp oil
 2 eggs
 ½ cup Matzo Meal
 ¾ tsp kosher salt
 2 tbsp chicken broth, water or sparkling water
 ¼ tsp baking powder
 6 cups chicken stock
For Flavoured Stock:
 6 cups chicken stock
 1 cup water plus more as needed
 2 medium carrots
 2 celery stalks
 1 yellow onion
 1 bay leaf
 2 lbs chicken feet, optional (you may get these at a reasonable cost from your butcher)
 1-3 lbs chicken legs, drumsticks, thighs or wings
 salt and pepper to taste
To put the Soup together:
 flavoured stock we just made
 couple of carrots, peeled and sliced on a bias
 any other veggies of choice (eg. cubed parsnips, celery)
 dill or parsley, for garnish, optional

Directions

For Matzo Balls:
1

Beat eggs in a bowl. Add oil and beat. Add Matzo Meal, baking powder and salt. Blend together. Add broth, water or carbonated water and mix until uniform. Chill in the fridge for 30 minutes.

2

In the meantime, bring 6 cups of stock to a boil. Form Matzo meal with wet hands into 5 balls. Roll them gently without packing them too hard to avoid tough Matzo balls. Rinse your hands in cold water after rolling each ball. Drop the balls into simmering stock after you roll them.

3

Cover the pot tightly tightly, reduce heat to maintain steady simmer and simmer for 40-60 minutes. Whatever you do, do not uncover them for the first 40-50 minutes!! The matzo balls should double in size, rise to the surface and be very light and fluffy. If your matzo balls are ready before your stock is, just keep them warm right in the broth until you are ready to serve.

For Flavoured Stock:
4

Place all of the ingredients into a large pot, add water as needed to ensure that it just covers all of the chicken. Bring to a boil, reduce to simmer and continue simmering for about 45 minutes to an hour. Strain and discard the vegetables. Reserve chicken meat for another use, or to add to your soup.

To prevent the chicken meat from becoming tough, you may need to remove it after it's cooked through - about half an hour of cooking (check - the internal temperature needs to be around 170°; remove gently with two forks, as the chicken will be very hot), while placing the bones back into the pot to finish simmering.

Note: the amount of chicken is not specified exactly. Use as much or as little as desired. Feel free to make a lot more stock than needed, the flavour and the rich mouthfeel from all the gelatin extracted from the bones will amaze you (you can use it later in another recipe, it can also be frozen.) I usually use about 10 drumsticks at a minimum. But if I make it to impress my guests, I go to the butcher and get lots of flavour and gelatin-rich chicken feet and wings as that produces the best results.

To put the Soup together:
5

Bring your flavoured strained stock to simmer. Add sliced carrots and simmer for about 15 minutes until tender. You can also add celery, parsnips or other cubed veggies at this point.

6

Place one large Matzo ball right in the middle of each individual serving bowl. Place some of the carrots (and other veggies, if used) to the side of the matzo ball. Add reserved chicken, if desired. Ladle hot fortified stock on top. Garnish with dill if desired and serve immediately.

7

NOTES:

I'm strongly suggesting simmering matzo balls in another pot in stock. They are huge sponges that will absorb the flavour. And although it may seem wasteful to simmer them in stock, if you simmer them in water - they will taste like, well... water. So it's crucial to simmer them in all or at least, in part, in stock. Simmer your matzo balls in a separate pot, not directly in your soup, to avoid muddy-looking soup.

Matzo Ball Soup
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