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Matzo Ball Soup

Matzo Ball Soup
Passover, the most widely observed Jewish holiday, commemorates the exodus of Jews from Egypt. It falls on the first full moon of early spring, and the first evening is celebrated with a Seder, a ceremonial meal at which chicken soup with matzo balls is traditionally served. Seltzer water or chicken broth is used to bind the dumplings, with the seltzer yielding a lighter result.

Ingredients:

  • 4 eggs
  • 3 Tbs. vegetable oil
  • 1 cup matzo meal
  • 2 Tbs. chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/8 tsp. freshly ground pepper
  • 2 to 4 Tbs. seltzer water or club soda
  • 6 cups chicken stock
  • 8 slices fresh ginger, each about 1/4 inch thick
  • 1 leek, including 1 inch of green portion, cut into
      1/2-inch dice and carefully rinsed
  • 2 Tbs. finely snipped fresh chives or garlic chives

Directions:

In a bowl, whisk together the eggs and vegetable oil. Stir in the matzo meal, parsley, cilantro, salt and pepper. Add 2 Tbs. seltzer water and stir to form a slightly sticky mixture. If it is too dry, add 1 to 2 additional Tbs. seltzer water. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate until cold, about 2 hours.

Bring a large soup pot three-fourths full of salted water to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat to a simmer. Form the matzo mixture into balls 1 inch in diameter. You should have 12 balls total. Drop the balls into the simmering water and cook, uncovered, until they rise to the top and are cooked all the way through, 30 to 40 minutes. To see if they are ready, cut into one; the color and texture should be consistent throughout. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the matzo balls to a baking sheet. Set aside.

In a saucepan over medium-high heat, combine the chicken stock and ginger and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to medium-low, add the leek and simmer, uncovered, until tender, about 10 minutes. Discard the ginger.

Add the matzo balls to the simmering stock and reheat for 3 minutes. Ladle the soup into warmed bowls, placing 2 matzo balls in each bowl. Garnish with the chives and serve immediately.
Serves 6.
Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Seasonal Celebration Series, Spring, by Joanne Weir (Time-Life Books, 1997).