Matzo Ball Soup

I went to college far away from home, and while I enjoyed almost everything about the university I chose, there were some times when I would have traded it all to be back home.

Getting sick was the worst. No one to bring you 7-up, put the television by your bed, or genuinely feel bad for you. Yeah, you may have some sympathetic friends, but secretly they are just happy it isn’t them. No one but your mother truly feels as bad as you do when you are ill.

That said, I do remember a time during my junior year when I had a terrible head cold. My roommate and best friend Joanna was an excellent nurse, her primary treatment being a big pot of matzo ball soup. She was quite convinced this was the best way to fix any ailment, and I think she (and all of the Jewish grandmothers out there) are definitely on to something.

Ever since then, I’ve had a great fondness for this soup, and make it frequently during fall and winter–especially when anyone is feeling rundown.

While I typically make my own chicken stock, until recently I had not found a matzo ball recipe that I really liked. Most turn out too heavy. But Deena over at Mostly Foodstuffs has a recipe that turns out perfectly. Find her full soup recipe here, along with a great article on hosting a soup swap.

Matzo Ball Soup

For the matzo balls (adapted from Mostly Foodstuffs):
1/2 cup vegetable oil
5 eggs
3/4 cup plus 2 T matzo meal
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp salt
handful fresh parsley and chives, finely chopped

Whisk the oil and eggs together, and then add in 3/4 cup matzo. Continue adding matzo meal until the mixture is thickened, but still loose. Stir in baking powder, salt, and herbs. Chill for at least 10 minutes.

For the soup:

2 quarts chicken stock
3 large carrots, cut however you wish

Bring stock to a rolling boil. Add in carrots, and lower to a simmer. Form matzo mixture into balls about the size of a small walnut (they will expand while cooking), and drop into simmering soup. Cover, and cook for about 15 minutes.

Sometimes I add in wide egg noodles, chicken breast meat, or other vegetables and herbs, but when I’m sick I like it nice and simple. This is a soup where it is great to use homemade chicken stock.

Making stock is easier than you might think. Anytime I have some leftover chicken bones or vegetable odds and ends (carrot peels, celery stalks, tough onion layers), I simply stick them in a container and keep them in the freezer. When I’m home for an afternoon, I brown the veggie bits in a little vegetable oil, add several quarts of water, the chicken bones, a bay leaf, some pepper corns, smashed garlic cloves, and a pinch of salt. Bring to a boil and then simmer for at least an hour, longer if you want a more concentrated flavor. Stock can be frozen flat in ziploc bags and used in all sorts of things. Try it! Added bonus: you can skim off the chicken fat when the stock is cool, and save it for your matzo balls. Replace the oil with rendered chicken fat (aka, schmaltz) for added flavor.

Comments 5

  1. Joanna Valeri wrote:

    It was a pleasure to make soup for you! You should know though, that neither I nor my Jewish grandmother ever made matzoh balls from scratch. Manischevitz matzoh ball mix in a box is where it’s at. I never knew that you made your own! I am very impressed.

    Posted 18 Nov 2010 at 7:29 am
  2. Anna wrote:

    That’s actually why it was so hard for me to find a homemade recipe I liked – the Manischevitz you first introduced me to was sooo good! I have consumed many, many boxes since college.

    Posted 18 Nov 2010 at 7:09 pm
  3. Mintzgirl3 wrote:

    This is my Mom’s recipe and I promise you will switch if you try these matzo balls!
    5 eggs well beaten
    1 1/2 Cups Matzo Meal
    Salt to taste
    1/2 Cup freshly rendered chicken fat ( this is very important )
    1/2 cup cold club soda (colder the better)
    Pinch of nutmeg
    Beat the eggs till foamy, add the matzo meal (folding in the salt and nutmeg) Add the club soda. Refrigerate for 3 hours. Bring salted water to a boil and wet your hands, take a meatball size dollop of the mixture and add to boiling water and cook till lite and fluffy. OMG, the best, I promise!

    Posted 29 Nov 2011 at 1:17 am
  4. Mintzgirl3 wrote:

    Ooops forgot, add the chicken fat the same time as the water!!!!

    Posted 29 Nov 2011 at 1:18 am
  5. Anna wrote:

    @Mintzgirl3: I’m planning on roasting a few chickens soon, so I’ll have some schmaltz to work with. I will absolutely try these, thank you for sharing!
    -Anna

    Posted 29 Nov 2011 at 5:00 pm

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