Sunday, April 13, 2014
Vegetarian Matzoh Ball Soup
For best results, crumble the matzoh crackers to the consistency of cracker crumbs either by using a food processor or by placing the crackers in a large zip-top plastic bag and crushing with a rolling pin. When soaking the crackers, use the least amount of water possible, just barely enough to cover the crumbled crackers. Finally, it is crucial that you not add too much matzoh meal to the mixture, or else the balls won't float and will likely disintegrate while cooking in the broth. And because the dough will be sticky, you may want to coat your hands with olive oil before forming the balls.
1 10oz package matzoh crackers
1/4 cup olive oil
3 eggs (and possible an extra one)
2 shallots, very finely chopped
1 small carrot, finely grated
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 Tbs finely chopped fresh parsley OR 1 tsp dried parsley
1 tsp Kosher salt
1/4 tsp ground pepper
Matzoh meal (probably no more than 1 Tbs)
2 quarts vegetable broth
To make the matzoh balls: Start a large pot of salted water boiling on your stove. Finely crumble the matzoh crackers into a large bowl. Pour just enough water over the crumbled crackers to barely cover, and let soak until softened. Drain/press off any excess water.
While the crackers are soaking, heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Saute the shallots, carrots & garlic for a couple of minutes until softened. Add drained/pressed cracker crumbs and saute until the mixture is lightly golden, crumbly and somewhat dry (it will still be moist, like a dough). Remove from heat and transfer to a clean, dry bowl. Add parsley, salt, pepper & 3 eggs, then stir together until thoroughly combined. Mix in a little bit of matzo meal, just barely enough to allow the mixture to hold together -- the texture should be like that of ground meat for meatballs, fairly sticky but able to hold a ball shape. Adding too much matzoh meal will prevent the balls from rising when cooking and will cause them to fall apart in the broth.
Now it's time to test your mixture: Take a small handful and shape into a golfball-sized ball. Gently drop it into the boiling water. It will sink at first, and if your mixture is just right it will rise and float after a couple of minutes of boiling. If it doesn't rise, or if it breaks apart, add a beaten egg to the remainder of your matzo mixture and work it in thoroughly, then form another test ball and repeat the test. Once you have the mixture right, i.e., the test ball rises when boiled, you're ready to form all your matzo balls and make the soup.
For the soup: Heat the vegetable broth (and any added sliced or chopped vegetables, if desired) to a gentle boil. Carefully add the matzoh balls and cook at a low boil until all have risen -- this should take around half an hour or so. Serve and enjoy! Makes 4 to 6 servings.
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