I kind of wore myself out this past weekend with long days and lots of exciting activity. So when I finally made it home to New Orleans, I was feeling tired, achy, and in the need of a warm cozy meal. Matzo ball soup has been on my “to do” list for a looooong time, so I thought this was the perfect opportunity.
I’ll readily admit, I’ve never made matzo ball soup before this week. I read through some fantastic tutorials and myth busters about matzo balls over at Serious Eats, looked through a bazillion matzo ball soup recipes, and then I finally felt confident trying it myself. I created a hybrid recipe between what was on the package of my matzo meal and the tips given by Serious Eats. They were surprisingly simple to make and the final soup was like a big, warm hug. Success!
Never had matzo balls? Well, they’re yet another cultural rendition of dumplings. It’s a simple dough made of cracker (matzo) meal, eggs, fat, and a little water or broth. They’re steamed right in a pot of soup where they soak up all the soup’s delicious flavor as they cook. Like most cultural dishes, there are many variations of matzo ball soup and each chef has their own spin or secret touch. If you’re a matzo master, feel free to share your favorite tips and secrets in the comments below. We can all learn from each other! :)
Matzo Ball Soup
- 1 Tbsp vegetable or canola oil ($0.04)
- 2 cloves garlic ($0.16)
- 1 yellow onion ($0.37)
- 3 carrots ($0.32)
- 3 stalks celery ($0.56)
- 1 chicken breast (about 3/4 lb.)* ($1.33)
- 6 cups chicken broth** ($0.76)
- 2 cups water ($0.00)
- Freshly cracked pepper ($0.05)
- Few sprigs fresh dill ($1.19)
- 3 large eggs ($1.13)
- 3 Tbsp vegetable or canola oil ($0.12)
- 3/4 cup matzo meal ($0.80)
- 1 tsp salt ($0.05)
- 1/2 tsp baking powder ($0.02)
- Freshly cracked pepper ($0.02)
- 3 Tbsp water ($0.00)
- Mince the garlic and dice the onion, celery, and carrots. Sauté the garlic, onion, celery, and carrots with the vegetable oil in a large pot over medium heat until the onions are soft and transparent (about five minutes).
- Add the chicken breast, chicken broth, 2 cups water, some freshly cracked pepper, and one or two sprigs of dill to the pot. Place a lid on the pot and let it come up to a boil. Once it reaches a boil, turn the heat down to low and let it simmer for 30 minutes.
- While the soup is simmering, mix the matzo ball dough. In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs and vegetable oil. Add the matzo meal, salt, baking powder, and a little freshly cracked pepper to the eggs and oil. Stir until well combined. Finally, add 3 Tbsp water and stir until smooth again. Refrigerate the mixture for 30 minutes to allow the matzo meal time to absorb the moisture.
- After the chicken soup has simmered, carefully remove the chicken breast and shred it with a fork. Return the shredded chicken to the soup. Taste the broth and adjust the salt if needed.
- Once the matzo ball mix has refrigerated and stiffened up, begin to form it into ping pong sized balls. Drop the balls into the simmering soup as they are formed, returning the lid to the pot after each one. Once all the matzo balls are in the soup, let them simmer for 20 minutes without removing the lid. Make sure the soup is gently simmering the entire time.
- Add a couple sprigs of fresh dill just before serving.
Matzo Ball Soup
Step by Step Photos
I made a very simple/quick chicken soup as a vehicle for my matzo balls. It begins with 2 cloves garlic, one yellow onion, three carrots, and three stalks of celery. Mince the garlic and dice the onion, carrots, and celery.
Sauté the garlic, onion, carrots, and celery with 1 Tbsp vegetable or canola oil in a large pot over medium heat until the onions are soft and transparent (about five minutes). Once the onions are soft, add one chicken breast (about 3/4 lb.). You can buy skin on and bone in chicken, just be sure to remove the skin first. The bones can be removed when you shred the chicken and will give the soup great flavor.
Also Add six cups of chicken broth and two cups of water (or all chicken broth, if you prefer). Also add a couple sprigs of dill and a little freshly cracked pepper. Place a lid on the pot, let it come up to a boil, then turn the heat down to low. Let the soup simmer for 30 minutes. I use Better Than Bouillon to make broth because it has great flavor, is quite inexpensive compared to boxed or canned broths, and it keeps in the refrigerator for just about forever.
While the soup is simmering, mix the matzo ball dough. Add 3 large eggs and 3 Tbsp vegetable or canola oil to a bowl. Whisk until smooth.
Add 3/4 cup matzo meal, 1 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp baking powder, a little freshly cracked pepper, and 3 Tbsp of water to the bowl. Stir until smooth. Let the mix refrigerate for 30 minutes so the matzo has time to absorb water and plump up.
This is what the matzo meal looks like, BTW. Kind of like bread crumbs, but it’s cracker crumbs. Take note, this is plain matzo meal, not matzo ball “mix”.
Once the soup has simmered for about 30 minutes, remove the chicken breast and use two forks to shred it. Return the shredded chicken to the soup. Taste the broth and adjust the salt if needed.
After the matzo ball mix has refrigerated, it should be more stiff and dry.
Start forming the matzo ball dough into small balls, about the size of ping pong balls. Keep in mind that they’ll puff up a little as they cook. I got about 15 balls out of my mix. Drop the balls into the simmering soup one by one as they’re formed, making sure to return the lid after each one (to keep the broth simmering).
Once all the matzo balls are in the broth, let them simmer for about 20 minutes. Make sure the broth is simmering the whole time and the lid is not removed.
Once the matzo balls are puffed and cooked through, add a few more sprigs of fresh dill, then serve!
Mmmm, so warm and delicious!
You can’t go wrong with chicken and dumplings… in any form!