We ate out a lot growing up and in many great high end hotel restaurants, but the mention of going to the R & L Deli was at top of my list for a special night. I always ordered the same thing. Matzo ball soup and a corned beef sandwich on rye bread, slightly steamed with cole slaw and Russian dressing. And, a kosher dill pickle. And, yes, I know that’s a lot of food for a little girl, and I can assure you I ate it all.
Jewish Deli’s are smart. They know they make the food so tasty, you just can’t replicate it at home, nor would you even try. So never in my life would I dare to make my own matzo ball soup. But, when my step-daughter, Rachel, told me she was making her own, I had to have the recipe. And, a new world was opened up.
She sent me the copied pages from her cook book, and after making the soup twice, I immediately went to Amazon and ordered the book, What’s Cooking, Jewish by Elizabeth Wolf-Cohen. The book has beautifully photographed each recipe collected from all over the world. Beet borscht, babka, piroshki, latkes, oodle kugel, brisket are some of the expected dishes, but there are the unexpected dishes, such as Sicilian caponata, Mexican tzimmes and Moroccan carrot salad. I look forward to making many of these dishes, especially after trying the matzo ball soup.
When I served this soup to my book club, I noticed they took three helpings, which was, of course, a great testimony to the recipe. The matzo balls were light, fluffy, satisfying and not heavy at all. You can make these for any favorite chicken soup recipe or use the one in the book.
I simply used my own chicken stock added carrots, onion and parsley and served approximately two matzo balls per bowl, making them the size of golf balls. You could opt to make them much smaller. I made them one day with chicken fat and one day with canola oil and we liked the ones with the canola oil much better.
You can also add the matzos to this easy recipe for chicken noodle soup.
- Recipe for Matzo Balls
- 3 eggs
- 6 tablespoons of chicken fat or canola oil.
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2/3 cup cold water
- whole nutmeg for grating
- 1 1/3 cup medium matzo meal
- Beat eggs, oil (I prefer the oil over chicken fat) and salt together. Whisk in water. Mix matzo meal and salt together, add to egg mixture and mix well.
- Cover, refrigerate for two hours or until firm.
- Using a scooper, make even sized balls, using wet hands to prevent sticking.
- Bring large pot of water to boil. Add matzo balls. Simmer for 25 minutes. They will swell and bob to top. Transfer gently to the soup. You could add them directly to the soup. I prefer to cook them separately.
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