Food courtesy of Food Network
By Emma Gottsegen
Every food has a history, but not many foods have a history like matzo ball soup. Each year, millions of Jews share in the celebration of Passover—the holiday commemorating the liberation of the Hebrew slaves from Egypt. The Passover meal, known as the Seder, is about remembering Jewish history and retelling the story of the Jews. Matzo, which is eaten for eight days in place of any grain or bread items, represents the unleavened bread the Jews ate while fleeing Egypt.
Believe me, if you ask anyone who celebrates Passover, nothing screams a Seder like a bowl of matzo ball soup sitting on your plate.
Before matzo became widely consumed in the 19th century, Jews had already begun making matzo balls. They may not have been called “matzo balls,” but they almost exactly resembled the matzo balls we know today.
There are many ways to create the perfect matzo ball soup. Many Jewish families keep their recipes hidden away until Passover time, excitedly waiting for the exact time to start the matzo ball making process. Here is one of many recipes that has perfected the deliciousness of matzo ball soup:
2 pounds of chicken wings or drumsticks 9 cups of cold water
1 large carrot, peeled
2 celery stalks with leafy tops
5 parsley sprigs
3 dill sprigs
Salt and pepper
1 tablespoon of snipped fresh dill
Matzo balls ingredients:
2 large eggs
2 tablespoons of vegetable oil
1⁄2 cup of matzo meal
1⁄2 teaspoon of salt
1⁄2 teaspoon of baking powder
1-2 tablespoon of water (for simmering)
Combine the chicken, water, onion, carrot, parsnip, celery, parsley, dill sprigs and a pinch of salt in a large saucepan and bring to boil. Partly cover and simmer for two hours. Skim off extra fat.
Matzo balls: In a medium bowl, lightly beat eggs with oil. Add matzo meal, salt and baking powder. Stir until smooth. Stir in water, and then let mixture stand for 20 minutes.
Bring salted water to boil. With wet hands, roll about one teaspoon of matzo ball mixture into a ball. Set balls on a plate. With a spatula, slide the matzo balls into the boiling water. Cover and simmer over low heat for about 30 minutes or until firm. Cover and keep warm until they are ready to serve.
To serve the soup, remove the chicken and vegetables. Take meat off the bones and add it to the soup. Add pepper to the soup and stir in the snipped dill. Slice carrot and add a few slices to each bowl. With a spoon, add a few matzo balls. Serve hot. Makes 8 servings. This recipe is from Faye Levy’s International Jewish Cookbook. Enjoy!