You play like you ain’t had no food in ‘bout four or five days.
Yep… Gotta be hungry to play a Jew’s harp. Gotta eat it up.
Then, what happened?
No, he didn’t?
He got a lot of gravy on them chitlins.
Like it greasy, Christian. Give me some grease…
I can hear that.
-Christian McBride feat. Gina Gershon, "Chitlins and Gifltefish," Conversations with Christian McBride, 2011.
It all started with a box of Whole Wheat Matzo Meal on clearance at my neighborhood grocery store. That got me thinking. I thought back to all the times I've been denied and excluded from the matzo ball soup experience.
I suddenly got this throbbing ache in my stomach. I cried. I was overwhelmed with emotion. I could barely even stand up. The mass discrimination against vegetarians and pescetarians was just too much to handle on that somber Saturday morning. Lol. I figured that $2.97 was a low risk investment for my own little foray into matzo ball soup.
A couple months later, I came down with an awful cold and my mom was nowhere to be found. Can you believe the nerve of her to think that Mississippi is too far away (from Baltimore) to come and tend to her youngest child during my feeble moments of sickness? I pushed on. I took lots of drugs to no avail, and finally decided that a warming, comforting broth would be the perfect antidote. Aha! The perfect opportunity for my random, obsessive experiment with matzo ball soup. I did a little preliminary research and discovered numerous matzo ball soup aficionados who insisted on things like seltzer water in the matzo dough, schmaltz over oil, floaters vs sinkers, and a large singular matzo ball vs several small matzo balls. The purists also agreed, no egg noodles.
I decided to do my own thing since I wasn't vying for a gold ribbon in authenticity. I simply wanted a delicious, filling matzo ball soup that could cast away my cold virus. To that end, I made a homemade broth using leftover vegetables and the leftover smoked turkey necks I had in the freezer from this recipe for Spicy Southern Collard Greens w/Aunt Fadrie's Chow Chow. For the matzo balls, I simply used the recipe on the back of the matzo meal box. Then, I decided to beef up the final product with carrots, celery, no yolk egg noodles, and fresh dill.
Final Verdict: OMG, this soup is absolutely delicious. Somehow, I ended up with both light and fluffy matzo balls and the heavier, more dense variety. I much prefer the light and fluffy ones.
On another note, matzo ball soup just might be the most suitable substitute to satiate my never ending chicken and dumplings cravings. My mom made the flat noodle type. She would combine them with fresh pepper, seasonings, and the leftover bony chicken parts such as the back, neck, and wings in a medium saucepan. There were no broth or vegetables. The final result was an explosion of flavor that doesn't lend itself very well to vegetarian & pescetarian cooking.
Matzo Ball Soup
- 3 red onion, peeled and quartered
- 6 carrots, washed and cut into chunks
- 6 celery sticks, washed and cut into chunks
- 2 tablespoon fresh ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoon sea salt
- 6 or 7 sprigs each of fresh thyme and parsley
- 4 bay leaves
- 1 head garlic, cut horizontally in half
- 3 smoked turkey necks
- 8 quarts cold water
Note: Add or substitute whatever vegetables you have on hand.
Combine all ingredients in a 12 quart heavy pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and gently simmer, uncovered for about 3 hours.
Strain stock into a large bowl using a fine-mesh sieve and discard the solids. Set aside.
- 1 cup Streit's Whole Wheat Matzo meal
- 1/2 cup seltzer
- 4 eggs at room temperature
- 2 tablespoons oil at room temperature
- salt and pepper to taste
- 5 quart pot
Beat eggs. Add seltzer, oil, salt and pepper to taste. Mix well. Add Matzo Meal and stir thoroughly. Refrigerate for one hour.
Moisten hands and form (matzo batter) into balls about 1" in diameter. Drop carefully into a pot with 3 quarts salted boiling water. Cover pot and cook on med-high flame for 30 minutes or until done. Makes 18-20 matzo balls.
- No Yolk Egg Noodles
- 5 carrots, washed and thinly sliced
- 4 celery stalks, washed and cut into small chunks
- 8 quarts of turkey stock
- 18-20 Matzo balls
- Fresh dill
Cook egg noodles according to package direction. Allow to cool and store noodles in a separate container from the soup to keep them from getting mushy. In a 12 quart heavy pot, combine turkey stock with carrots and celery. Bring to boil and cook until the vegetables are just soft, about 5-6 minutes.
Fill a serving bowl half full with egg noodles. Add two matzo balls. Add stock and vegetables. Garnish with fresh dill. Enjoy!