Matzo Ball Soup

I wasn’t raised in a Jewish family so wasn’t ever given the chance to experience some of the best, most flavorful, dishes that, thankfully, I was able to enjoy when I began visiting #TheRollAndRye deli in Culver City, CA with my father-in-law. Latkes, sweet noodle kugel, and matzo ball soup, if you haven’t had them made by a good Jewish cook, are treats you need to taste to appreciate!

When I married into the family I, not his Jewish daughter or granddaughter, was gifted with his Mother’s 80+ year old Jewish cookbook with his single request that I make noodle kugel for him. #DoneDeal

Fearing I couldn’t duplicate the soups he loved so well, until I came across this recipe in #Delish Magazine, I never attempted matzo ball soup. The lightness of the matzo balls makes them better than any I’ve ever tried.

SERVES 8 • TOTAL TIME 2 HR 30 MIN

FOR THE CHICKEN SOUP

  • 2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 Onion, quartered
  • 2 Carrots, cut into appx. 4” pieces
  • 4 stalks celery, cut into appx. 4″ pieces
  • 1 Turnip, quartered
  • 1 Parsnip, cut into appx. 4” pieces
  • 1 whole chicken, about 2 1/2 to 3 lb.
  • 6 Cups (48 oz) homemade chicken broth
  • 4 Sprigs fresh dill
  • 4 Sprigs fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • Kosher Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper

FOR THE MATZO BALLS

  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 Cup melted chicken fat (shmaltz)
  • 1/2 Cup Seltzer water
  • 1 Cup Matzo meal
  • 1 tsp. Kosher Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper

1. Soup: In a very large pot over medium heat, heat oil. Cook onion, carrots, celery, turnip, and parsnip, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are fragrant, about 2 minutes. Place chicken on top of vegetables and toss so chicken gets slightly covered in veggies and oil. Add broth and enough water to just cover chicken. Add dill and parsley; season with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, partially covered, 2 hours.

2. Remove chicken (shred for soup or reserve for another use). Reserve a few carrot pieces (to be sliced and added to soup later), then strain broth into a large bowl or measuring cup; season with salt and pepper. Discard remaining vegetables and herbs.

3. Matzo balls: In a medium bowl, beat eggs. Add fat and seltzer and mix well to combine. Add matzo meal, salt, and pepper and mix well, ensuring all matzo meal is incorporated into egg mixture. Refrigerate at least 30 minutes. 4. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Using a cookie scoop (for medium matzo balls) or ice cream scoop (for large matzo balls), form mixture into balls, smoothing by rolling between slightly wet hands. Drop each ball into boiling water. (They will sink initially but rise as they cook.) Cook until centers of balls are fully cooked through, 25 to 35 minutes. They’ll look dense and dark yellow in the center if they’re not done.

5. Add matzo balls to soup, or place into serving bowls and top with soup. Top with chicken (if using), reserved carrots, and dill.

TIP** Double the recipe and make a second batch of #MatzoBalls to freeze. After cooking the matzo balls, place them on a parchment-lined baking sheet and freeze. Once frozen, you can transfer to a resealable plastic bag. To prepare, drop frozen balls into boiling broth and cook until heated through.

TIP 2** Matzo balls are sponges for flavor: They soak up whatever is around them. All the more reason to make sure the stock they’re sitting in is as good as possible.

Recipe courtesy of JOANNA SALTZ – Delish Magazine, April 2022

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Sweet Noodle Kugel

NoodleKugel2

When my father-in-law found out I enjoyed cooking, one of the first things he gave me was his Mother’s Jewish Cookbook.  He then opened it to much used page that had a recipe for a traditional #SweetLokshenKugel.  I was behind the 8 ball for a couple of  reasons on this one: I am not Jewish, so many of the words used in the, 70 + year old cookbook were, quite literally, foreign to me and, without the benefit of a picture accompanying the recipe, I was clueless as to what the recipe was actually for.  Dad did clue me in that it was for a noodle kugel that his Mother used to make, but beyond that he was pretty much useless. 😉  Once I #googled some of the words for the kosher ingredients and, what turned out to to be brand names, I was able to modernize the recipe and create something that he loved and requested for many years.

Sweet Noodle Kugel

  • 16 oz Wide egg noodles
  • 1 Cup Sugar (I now substitute 1/2 Cup Truvia)
  • 1 Stick Butter, melted
  • 1 Large Egg
  • 1 Medium Granny Smith Apple, grated
  • 8 oz Golden Raisins
  • 1 – 20 oz Can Crushed Pineapple (mine came in heavy syrup)
  • 1-2 tsp Ground Cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp Ground Nutmeg
  • 1 tsp Vanilla

Preheat the oven to 350° F.  Grease a 13 x 9 inch baking dish with butter and set aside.

Boil the noodles for 10 minutes.  Drain and put into a large mixing bowl or return to the pan you cooked them in.  Add the butter to the noodles and toss to combine.

Combine the Sugar (or Truvia), Egg, Grated Apple, Crushed Pineapple (undrained), Raisins, Vanilla, Ground Nutmeg and Cinnamon, stirring well.

Add the combined ingredients to the noodles and toss until well distributed throughout.

Pour the noodle mixture into the prepared baking pan and bake for 45 minutes to an hour, just until tips of the noodles on top begin to brown.  Cool and cut into 16 – 20 equal pieces.  Can be served warm or room temperature.

Nutrition Information (for 16 servings using Truvia)

  • 205  Calories
  • 6.5 g  Fat
  • 26.62 g  Carbohydrates
  • 4.75 g  Protein

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