With Passover fast approaching, I thought it appropriate to post my favorite matzo ball soup recipe. The problem is that my usual recipe is not Passover friendly because it uses soda water which is considered a leavening agent and not suitable for Passover. This is a quick fix, however, because you just leave out the soda water. So, what do you lose? I am convinced that the soda water keeps the matzo ball fluffier – not as dense. So, when it’s not Passover, try the recipe using the soda water, and you be the judge. There’s a lot of argument over how long to let the dough rest, and whether it should be refrigerated or not. I’ve read a ton of reviews and everyone has a different opinion; I’ve always let my dough sit in the refrigerator for 30 minutes. People also disagree over the proper size for a matzo ball; to that I say “it’s all a matter of preference.” The above picture features average size matzo balls (about golf ball size), and I usually serve three per person. Below is a picture of a giant matzo ball (my son’s favorite), only one per person necessary. Another optional ingredient, which I did not include when I made this batch, is chicken cracklings. I have included a picture of cracklings, which are pieces of fried chicken skin. Sounds gross? They are delicious and add great flavor and an occasional surprise crunch to the matzo balls. Finally, if you have homemade chicken stock, use it (I will be posting a recipe for homemade stock, but not until a later date). Otherwise, buy a good quality chicken broth.
- 2/3 Cup Matzo Meal
- 2 Large Eggs
- 1 TBS. Canola Oil
- 1/4 Cup Club Soda (during Passover substitute with chicken stock)
- 1 tsp. Salt
- 1/4 tsp. White Pepper (black is an OK substitute)
- 2 Scallions (green parts only) or chives -finely chopped
- 1 TBS. Fresh Dill- medium chopped
- 2 Qts. Homemade Chicken Stock or Prepared Broth
- Optional: 3 TBS. Chicken Cracklings – crumbled
Combine club soda (or broth), oil and eggs in a medium sized bowl- stir well. Add matzo meal, scallions or chives, salt and pepper (and cracklings, if using) and combine until a dough is formed. Chill for 30 minutes in refrigerator. While dough is chilling, bring broth to a simmer over medium heat. Remove matzo from refrigerator and form balls into the size desired (wet your hands if you find the dough to be sticking to your hands) . Add matzo balls and dill to broth. Simmer matzo balls in broth for 30-40 minutes.
Chicken cracklings are easy to make if you happen to be cooking chicken and will not be using the skin. Remove the skin from the chicken, cut into 2 inch pieces and season generously with salt. Add a small amount of oil to a saute pan and fry the chicken skins in the oil until they reach a golden color – like bacon, they will crisp up once removed from the pan. Do not overcook them (to brown) or they will taste burnt. When cooked, remove from pan and drain on a paper towel. The picture below shows cracklings golden brown and one that is overcooked.