It has been a dull grey rainy day. And I think I'm fighting a cold. I totally agree with the 'Chicken soup for the soul' thing. Just something hot, steamy, light, and brothy was in order. I haven't still made it to the grocery store, but thanks to my online organic delivery service, I have some things around. The freezer never fails to come through for me -- I managed to fish out some dinner rolls and homemade turkey broth (from when I dutifully made broth from the turkey carcass the morning after thanksgiving). Had some fresh carrots and celery in the veggie drawer and you have it! Soup it would be for dinner!
Back when I was in grad school in Ohio, there was a freshman kid called Amy who did the dishes in the Molecular Biology lab I was working at. Amy brought a steaming bowl of Matzo Ball soup at least a couple days of the week in winter. I still remember how longingly I used to look at her soup while I ate some greasy Hot Pockets or a ham sandwich with pretzels, or PB & J sandwiches - basic crappy grad student time and budget friendly fare. Thank god I've come a long way from those culinary masterpieces :-) Anyway, I once asked Amy how she made the soup and she told me she really had no clue. Her Grandma used to make it. At least one of the perks of living at home during college I guess. After pestering her for the recipe on many an occassion, I finally managed to get some sort of recipe out of her...but not really. Anyway, over the years I have tried a few different things and what results below is my version of Matzo Ball soup. I'm sure its not the authentic Jewish recipe, but works well for me. BTW, the dill is Amy's grandma's secret ingredient...
Now, I've since tried Matzo Ball Soup at Jewish delis in NYC and I have to admit, I still like mine better. I think I like the freshness of the veggies. My apologies to those of you who think this is blasphemy..
So if one of these cold rainy days you're feeling down, sick, icky, or just plain lazy and want a quick meal, try this out! I hope we don't have too many such days till winter is actually due. But then again, this is Seattle right ??
Matzo Ball Soup
1 packet Matzo Ball soup mix
2 tbsp canola oil
2 quarts chicken broth (I used turkey broth) *** Homemade is best!
1 quart water
1 tsp dried dill
3 carrots, chopped in 1/4 inch coins
2 ribs celery, chopped
1/2 onion, chopped
1/2 tsp fresh ground black pepper
Salt to taste
1 cup egg noodles (I like the wide ones)
1. Add carrot, celery and onion in a 4 quart pan along with broth and water. Bring to boil. Add dill and pepper. Ok, one caveat here. Since this is a broth-based clear soup, its only as good as the broth you make it with. If you don't have homenade broth (shame on you :-)), just use a good quality organic chicken or turkey broth. I like Swansons Organic and Pacific brand organic chicken broths.
2. Meanwhile prepare Matzo Balls. Crack 2 eggs in a bowl and whip gently with 2 tbsp oil. Add the Matzo meal and mix gently with a fork. Leave to rest in fridge for 15 minutes.
3. Shape the matzo mixture into 1 inch balls. You'll end up with 10 - 12. Wetting your hands helps shape the balls easily as the mixture is quite sticky.
4. Add egg noodles to the pan. Bring the broth back to a boil and gently slide in the matzo balls. Bring soup back to a boil, cover tightly, and simmer 20 minutes. Absolutely no peeking!
5. After 20 minutes, open the lid and you will be rewarded with delicious fluffy matzo balls floating in the soup. Check for salt and pepper, add if needed. Ladle into soup bowls and enjoy!