Saturday, December 25, 2010

Perfectly Fluffy Matzo Ball Soup: Hannukah Part Three

Now that it's Christmas, I think it's finally high time for me to wrap up my Hannukah series. And what better way to stick it to the man (and by the man I mean Santa) than to post a matzo ball soup recipe on Christmas?

Ha ha, score one for Hannukah Harry!

If you have never had real matzo ball soup before, you are missing out. For the goyim out there, matzo balls are fluffy, delicious dumplings made from matzo meal. Known as the Jewish penicillin, this hearty, warming soup will cure whatever ails you. Especially if what ails you is being a Jew on Christmas.


  • 3 large boxes chicken broth. If you have the time to make your own chicken broth, obviously that's always going to be better than store bought. But if you don't have a chicken carcass to boil, this will do just fine, especially when simmered with fresh vegetables.
  • 1 large carrot
  • 2 celery stalks
  • 1 medium onion
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley. Some for the balls and some for the soup.
  • 1 cup matzo meal
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/4 cup chicken broth. Just take this from your pot of broth once it is simmering.
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil. If you happened to make your chicken broth from scratch, 1/4 cup of the rendered chicken fat works here, too. But rendered chicken fat sounds kinda gross.
This recipe yields about 10 matzo balls and tons of soup. Feel free to adjust the quantities depending whether you are making the soup for a family get together, or just to treat yourself to some comfort food!


Peel and chop your carrot, onion, and celery (though you don't have to peel the celery, obviously) into nice, small, evenly sized pieces. If the idea of this makes you want to claw your eyes out, feel free to substitute frozen mirepoix (bag of cut up carrots, celery, and onion). I won't judge.

Add a drizzle of vegetable oil to a large pot set to medium high heat. Stir in your vegetables and cook until they are softened, about two minutes.

Pour in your chicken broth and add about half the chopped parsley. Let it come up to a boil, and then turn the heat down to low to let it simmer.

Now it's time to get the action going with your balls (yes, yes, that's what she said). I am going to let you choose your own matzo ball adventure here based on personal preference:

A) If you like denser matzo balls, skip the next step and simply beat your eggs whole into the matzo mixture.

B) If you think denser matzo balls taste like hockey pucks and you like yours nice and fluffy, proceed with my given recipe.

Choose wisely!

Personally, I think separating your eggs is the single greatest trick for perfectly fluffy matzo balls. If you agree, go ahead and separate your egg yolks and whites using your method of choice. I like just cracking the egg in two and passing the yolk back and forth between shells, letting the whites drip down into the bowl. If this is scary to you, you can just crack the eggs into a strainer or colander and let the whites drip through into a large bowl.

Below is a picture of someone else's fingers:

Put the yolks in a bowl with the matzo meal, vegetable oil, remaining parsley, and 1/4 cup of your simmering chicken stock and whisk to combine.

Now it's time to beat your egg whites. This is how souffles are made so nice and fluffy: beaten egg whites are folded into the batter and the air gives it lift. Make sure your bowl is large enough, cause that pile of slimy egg whites is going to magically transform into a fluffy cloud of delight.

With a hand mixer, beat the egg whites on low until they are frothy but not stiff. What the hell does that mean? The whites should look like beer foam.

With a spatula, fold the egg whites gently into the matzo meal mixture. They should be nice and combined, but not overmixed cause that will deflate the egg whites.

Pop the mixture into the fridge for at least 15 minutes, but longer is fine too if you are making this ahead of time.

With an ice cream scoop or large spoon, scoop out equal size lumps of batter, roll them in your hands a bit to smooth them out, and drop them into the simmering chicken broth.

Cover the pot and let the matzo balls cook for about 40 minutes, turning them over halfway through to let the other side cook.

Spoon the balls into a bowl and pour in the chicken broth and veggies. Enjoy your delicious homemade matzo ball soup!

I will be off on an adventure in Argentina and Uruguay for the next couple weeks, so there will be a brief blog hiatus. I will be eating lots and lots of beef and drinking lots and lots of wine. Hasta luego, my friends!

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