matzoh ball ~ soup for the soul
Matzoh ball soup is comfort food at its finest and a great use for your homemade chicken stock!
Food sustains physical life and yet is greater than the nourishment it brings to the table. Food gathers people and traditional foods – passed from generation to generation tell a story. These generational foods – shrouded in history, symbolism and ritual tell the story of peoples and their journeys of life and in that category Matzoh Ball Soup definitely tops the charts.
The Matzoh is probably one of the best known Biblical foods and one that has humbly stood the test of time. It is a food which tells the story of the exodus of a chosen people and the guiding Hand that frees them from bondage in Egypt.
Matza is unleavened bread – and one of the three biblical culinary components of the Jewish Passover Seder – it is also called the bread of affliction. For Jewish families, Matzo is the only type of bread eaten throughout the Passover festival. The generational story of the matzo is one of slavery and freedom. The last shared act that every Israelite performed before being freed from slavery in Egypt, as well as the very first act that the entire nation shared as free people at their first stop, was eating matzo. (Encyclopedia of Jewish Food).
The first time my family ever tried matzoh ball soup was last year, visiting grandparents in Florida. We went their favorite Deli, TooJays in Orlando. Such a simple dish, utilizing the most basic and unassertive ingredients – chicken broth, seasonal vegetables, eggs, schmalz (saved chicken fat – from your stock) salt and pepper. This is quintessential comfort food!
Traditionally, matzo balls are served in a broth only served with carrots – but you can make it your own with whatever favorite vegetables you love! This recipe doubles and triples nicely! It also freezes well if you make a big batch. We portion it into servings for two or four and freeze. That way it is on hand, ready to thaw, heat and nourish on those busy school nights laden with activities and little time!
Matzoh Ball Soup – it brings nourishing comfort to the body and as the old saying goes – the soul too!
9 cups chicken stock
1/4 cup grated onion
1/2 cup melted chicken fat (Note: Jewish families would not substitute butter as that is prohibited during the Passover. We used butter (preferably pasture raised).
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated black pepper
1 cup matzo meal (you can make your own by placing Matzo crackers and pulse in food processor or blender. The other option is to buy it ready to use)
4- 5 diced carrots, sauteed
2 talblespoons chopped parsely and/or chives (optional)
Beat the eggs together and 1/2 cup of stock.
Stir in the grated onion, salt, pepper and fat.
Add the matzo meal. The dough will be moist. Cover the mixture and refrigerate for one hour or overnight.
Shape into matzo balls – about 1 inch in diameter.
Now, you can either heat a pot of salted water or heat your chicken stock (which is a personal preference.) Drop matzo balls into boiling broth. The matzo balls will expand and absorb a lot of liquid. Turn the heat ti medium and let the balls cook for about 30 minutes to set.
Serve one to two matzo balls with broth and sprinkle with chopped parsley and or chives.
“Real humility is light and buoyant, not weighted down by insecurity, self loathing or an obsession with being known and admired. Humility spends the time and energy freed up by not agonizing over one’s self reveling in the grace of everyday blessings big and small. Humility genuinely rejoices with those who rejoice and weeps with those who weep. Humility retains forever its childlike sense of hope and wonder.” ~ Molly Sabourin