Monday, December 2, 2013

Matzo Ball Soup

Light and airy, floating in a pool of clear broth, surrounded with turkey breast and vegetables, matzo balls are pure delight in this traditional Jewish soup. In a nutshell, it's a Jewish version of chicken noodle soup and one of the kid's favorites.

Blog's Category: International




Intro

IMHO, soups with any kinds of balls, be it meatballs (Italian wedding soup) or matzo balls, are destined to be kid's favorite soups. Isn't it fun to play with them around a plate, fish them out and then gulp'em, sending flavorful broth right after? The problem is to make great soup and yummy balls to keep your kid playing :) The recipe below is just like this - neutral, flavorful, without any extremes, soup and wonderfully textured and pleasantly tasting matzo balls in it. Your kids will be asking to make this soup over and over again.



What is it?

It's very simple soup with basic mirepoix vegetables (carrots, celery and onion), cubed cooked turkey breast, chicken stock and matzo balls made of crushed matzo, egg and olive oil. Flavors are boosted with a green onion and fresh parsley.

Taste Description

This soup is very mild, pleasant and softly flavored to suit kids palates as well as those who are sick and weak. It has amazingly fresh and herb-y aroma from parsley and vegetables, turkey breast adds substance and matzo balls are soft and fluffy, with a great smoky undertones from a baked matzo.


How to Serve

Add matzo balls into individual bowls, right before serving and don't forget to sprinkle fresh parsley on top.

Keep matzo balls and soup in a separate containers in a fridge (don't worry - matzo balls don't stick together).


Matzo Ball Soup

 
For 24 matzo balls:
 
  • 5 to 7 sheets of matzo to get 1.5 cups matzo crumbs
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
 
 
Soup:
  • 1 liter chicken stock
  • 2 cups diced cooked turkey (or chicken) breast
  • 2 small carrots, diced (1/3"x1/3")
  • 2 celery ribs, diced (1/3"x1/3")
  • 3 green onions, chopped
  • 4 parsley spears, finely chopped
  • salt to taste
  • 2-3 tbs olive oil

- Using kitchen processor, process matzo sheets into medium-fine crumbs. Some crumbs will be very fine and some coarse and that's all right. In a separate bowl, combine and beat nicely all ingredients for matzo balls. Cover bowl with a plastic wrap and pop in a fridge for at least 0.5 hour.

- Meanwhile cook soup: in a medium size pot, in an olive oil cook carrots, celery and turkey breast for 5-7 minutes, stirring.

- Add half of chopped onion (white parts), chicken stock and 1 quart of water. Bring to a boil and simmer for 10 minutes.

- Add salt to taste, remaining green onion and parsley (leave a little bit parsley and green onion for garnishing). Turn heat off - soup is done.

- Cook matzo balls separately: bring 2 quarts of water to a boil, add 1 tsp of salt. Get matzo ball mix out of a fridge - it has to thicken to a point to be able to roll 1.5" balls with your hands (have a small bowl of cold water to wet your fingers to make balls). If matzo ball mixture is still somewhat runny, add 2-3 tablespoons of ground matzo to get right consistency, although do not make it too thick.

- When water for matzo balls starts to boil, turn heat down to simmering point and start make matzo balls and dropping them, one by one, into simmering salted water (it's better to keep water barely simmering all the time). When you done rolling and dropping matzo balls, wash your hands, wait until all your matzo balls will float to a surface, let them barely simmer minute or two and then scoop them out into a glass container. All the process, from a throwing a first matzo ball to "scoop-out" point, takes approximately 12-15 minutes.

- Serve pouring soup into individual bowls first, then adding 3-4 matzo balls, and then garnishing with some green onion and parsley. Enjoy!


Notes

- I like to make matzo crumbs from sheets of matzo (versus matzo meal). It's easy to make your own matzo meal/crumbs but results are much better - you will never have dense and tasteless matzo balls. Your matzo balls will be fluffy, puffy, with a great texture and will retain wonderful baked flavor good matzo sheets have.

- Of course, you can use raw meat instead of cooked one. It is practically the same process as above if you chop your meat finely enough (about 0.5" cubes).

- I rarely use chicken stock. Instead I use chicken stock cubes. In this recipe, to make 1 quart of chicken stock, I used 2 (0.5") cubes of chicken stock per 1 quart of boiling water.

- Traditionally, chicken fat is used for matzo ball mix. I like to use ghee or flavorless olive oil (as in this recipe).

- Presumably, seltzer water, used instead of plain water, makes matzo balls fluffier. In my experience, it does not make a difference. What makes a huge difference - it's whether store bought matzo meal or homemade one used.

- If your are not big fan of cooked carrot, use green peas, asparagus, bell pepper or other vegetables of your choice.



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IN PICTURES

There is so many kinds of matzo nowadays - whole wheat, "everything", onion and so on. I prefer plain good quality fresh matzo (check the "used by" date on a box).

Uneven crumbs will make great texture. Though make sure there are enough fine crumbs as well.

Mix thoroughly to make sure eggs evenly stirred.

Mixture will be pretty runny. After 30 minutes in fridge, it will thicken.

It's two days after thanksgiving and it's a great way to utilize turkey leftovers ;)



To get 1 quart of chicken stock, I've dissolved 2 chicken stock cubes in a hot water.



Those first, afloat, are probably cooked already, but they will wait those "latecomers" still resting in a bottom.


These matzo balls are jumpy and spongy a bit. Let them cool down, uncovered, first. Then shake a bit, cover with a lid and keep in a fridge. I smuggled three or four as a side to a piece of salmon I took today for a lunch.. unconventional use but so yummy.



 

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