Sunday, April 24, 2011

Seder Cooking Part 2: Matzo Ball Soup and Apple Kugel

After Friday's epic day of cooking, we only had to make a few things on Saturday: matzo ball soup, apple kugel and the second edition of the layer cake.

My family has always  made our Matzo Balls from scratch.  My grandmother and great grandmother both had recipes.  My grandmother's recipe called for Nyafat, which, to my mother's and my great consternation, was discontinued a few years ago. When we tried to sub oil, we got more matzo chunks than matzo balls.  So, we switched to my great grandmother's recipe, which calls for oil.

Making matzo balls can be a time consuming process, but I love it.  I have fond memories of my grandmother walking up to our front door in a little black hat, while my grandfather followed behind with jars of home made chicken soup.   My grandmother, mother and I would always make the matzo balls together, so I've had about 20+ years of practice at this point.

The "rules" ok making the matzo balls are as follows:
  •   When doubling the batch, make each batch in a separate bowl.  No one knows why this is.
  •   The mixture must chill in the fridge for at least 1 hour
  •   When forming the mazto balls, you must barely touch them lest they become the dreaded "hockey pucks."
  •   Any recipe of my great-grandmother's that says parsley is "optional" really means that parsley is mandatory.  We added in some chopped fresh stuff, since we had it handy for the seder anyway.
  So, here is the step by step process of the making of the family Matzo Balls:

You can see here the two bowls for the two batches.  I can get about 13 matzo balls from each batch, which was perfect for our 11 seder guests, plus leftovers.  While some people do put seltzer in their Matzo balls, it's a McGuffin here.  It just happened to be on our counter.  You don't want to make your Matzo balls too big, as they will swell mightily when cooking.  Mine are a heaping dinner spoon full.
Fill a LARGE (I'm serious here - it should be huge) stockpot with water.  We use my grandmother's stockpot for this purpose.  Once your water is at a rolling boil, lower in your Matzo balls.   The best tool to have on hand for this is a flat skimmer with a sturdy handle.  It doesn't have to be expensive.  My skimmer was $2 at Ikea.

When you first lower your Matzo balls into the water, they'll sink to the bottom.  When they rise to the top, lower the heat and cover.  Cook for thirty minutes.  The water should be barely bubbling - if the boil is too heavy, your Matzo balls will break.  After 30 minutes, remove the Matzo balls with the skimmer.  When your soup is ready, reheat them in the soup.  I used a combination of low salt Pacific Organic vegetable broth and the leftover broth from when we made the veg mixture for the vegetable kugel.

One note - have lots of salt on hand.  I like my Matzo balls to be very salty, and even with the salt in the recipe, there wasn't enough salt for my taste, especially since we used low sodium veg broth.

The other thing we knocked out was the apple kugel.  You can see the recipe on the Maneschewitz website.  We did not include walnuts, and we soaked the raisins prior to cooking, per my mother's suggestion, so that they would not sink to the bottom of the kugel.  I'd make this even for non-passover meals - it's a pretty tasty side dish.

1 comment:

  1. i Love chicken substitute, it is healthy as well as tasty that give us taste like chicken.