For a recipe that doesn't have a lot of ingredients, there are many variations when it comes to making matzo balls. Here are several to choose from, including one right from the Manischewitz Matzo Meal box.
All are served in chicken soup, preferably homemade, so there's a recipe for that, too. Figure on two matzo balls per person served with soup as a first course.
Let's begin with a traditional recipe from 1941's "Jewish Home Beautiful," by Betty D. Greenberg and Althea O. Silverman, published by the Women's League of the United Synagogue of America.
TRADITIONAL MATZO BALLS
2 1/2 tablespoons schmaltz
3/4 cup matzo meal (approximately)
1 teaspoon salt
Healthy dash cinnamon
Healthy dash nutmeg
Healthy dash freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup warm water
Beat the chicken fat well, add the eggs and beat again. Add the warm water, seasoning and only enough matzo meal to form a thickened batter. You want to bind the batter, but not weigh it down with matzo meal. This usually means using slightly less than the 3/4cup.
Place in the refrigerator for a number of hours. We usually make them first thing in the morning for dinnertime.
One hour before serving, wet your hands with COLD water and shape into small balls (we are not of the one gigantic matzo-ball persuasion).
Place back in the refrigerator (coldest part) for approximately 30 minutes.
Drop balls into boiling well-salted water, cover tightly and cook for 30 minutes.
Drain and serve in chicken soup (homemade, of course). Makes about 24 balls.
Note: Schmaltz is rendered chicken or goose fat. Do not substitute oil or other fats in this recipe.
BASIC MANISCHEWITZ MATZO BALLS
2 tablespoons oil
2 eggs, slightly beaten
1/2 cup Manischewitz Matzo Meal
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons soup stock or water
Mix fat and eggs together. Mix and add matzo meal and salt. When well blended, add soup stock or water.
Cover mixing bowl and place in refrigerator for at least 20 minutes. Using a two- or three-quart size pot, bring salted water to a brisk boil. Reduce flame and into the slightly bubbling water drop balls formed from above mixture.
Cover pot and let cook 30-40 minutes. Have soup at room temperature, or warmer, and remove matzo balls from water to soup pot. When ready to serve, allow soup to simmer for about 5 minutes. Recipe makes 8 balls.
ZAHAV MATZO BALLS
1/2 cup matzo meal
2 tablespoons schmaltz, rendered foie gras fat or duck fat
Ground cinnamon to taste
One ounce seltzer water
Mix everything together. Let it rest in the refrigerator for at least 15 minutes.
Roll into golf-ball-sized balls and drop into boiling stock. Cook for about 30 minutes. Add to warmed chicken soup when ready to serve. Makes 10-12 matzo balls.
Source: Michael Solomonov, Zahav.
AMY SOPER'S MATZO BALLS
1/2 cup matzo meal
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon onion powder
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon finely chopped parsley
Mix everything together. Let it chill about 30 minutes in the refrigerator. Roll balls, about 1 1/2 inches in diameter, and drop into boiling stock. Cover and cook about 30 minutes. Don't pack balls too tightly.
When they come up and float they're done. Makes about 8 balls.
REAL DEAL MATZO BALL SOUP
1 cup diced onions
1 cup diced carrots
1 cup diced celery
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 teaspoons thyme
1/2 teaspoon basil
3 bay leaves
1 whole chicken (3 1/2 to 4 pounds), cut into 8 pieces
10 cups water
1 tablespoon parsley, chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
In the bottom of a large soup pot, sauté onions, carrots and celery in olive oil over medium heat until onions are transparent. Add spices. Add chicken and water and bring to boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook for 1 hour. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Remove chicken and let cool. Pick meat off bone for soup or for other uses. Remove bay leaves before serving.
1 1/2 cups matzo meal
6 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
Mix ingredients well with wooden spoon. Let set for 30 minutes. Roll scoops of mix in hands like a meatball, then drop into simmering soup. Cook for 20 to 30 minutes. Finish with fresh parsley and season to taste. Makes 36 matzo balls.
Both recipes serve 8.
Source: Bill Hurst, Fitzpatrick's Deli.