This recipe is adapted from Susan Singer (aka Gammy), my (Kelly’s) mother-in-law, who according to many in my Husband’s extended family makes the best matzo ball soup! She is certainly a fabulous cook and I’ve learned so much about cooking from watching her in the kitchen. Whenever Gammy makes her soup for Rosh Hashanah, Hanukkah or Passover, everyone stuffs themselves and there are never any leftovers. And, for every other matzo ball soup we try, the verdict is always the same: “it’s not as good as Gammy’s!”
Making Matzo Ball soup is actually quite easy, it just takes time, starting with a homemade chicken broth (find the tutorial here!). You’ll need to plan ahead -- it takes at least a day to bring out all the flavors.
For the soup
- 8 cups of homemade chicken broth
- 3-4 small carrots*, peeled, sliced ¼” thick on a diagonal
- Kosher salt
- 2 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh dill
- Coarsely ground fresh black pepper
*use your colorful cosmic carrots for the soup if you’d like for some added visual interest. The purple and yellow pop against the fresh dill.
For the matzo balls
- 3/4 cup matzo meal (available at most grocery stores)
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp garlic powder
- 1/4 tsp onion powder
- 1/4 tsp pepper
- 3 large eggs
- 3 tbsp melted schmaltz* (or substitute olive oil)
- 1 tbsp minced fresh dill
- 3-4 quarts of salted water
Make the Matzo Balls
In our family, we like light, fluffy matzo balls. The trick is to not over mix and to use a light hand when forming the balls.
In a small mixing bowl, use a fork to mix together the matzo meal, baking powder, salt, garlic powder, onion powder, and pepper.
In another bowl, use a small whisk to mix together the eggs and schmaltz/olive oil.
Pour egg mixture into the dry ingredients, and add the minced dill. Fold ingredients together with a fork or small spatula until just combined. Do not overmix!
Put the bowl of matzo ball mixture into the refrigerator and let it rest for 20-30 minutes.
Add your salted water to a large soup pot and turn the heat up to high.
Kitchen note: Some people like to cook the matzo balls in the chicken broth (they taste amazing) but your broth will become cloudy and the matzo balls will soak up all your soup. For added flavor, you can cook your matzo balls in store-bought broth or with a bouillon cube if you’d like.
As your water is warming up, take the chilled matzo ball mixture out of the fridge. Wet your hands and gently roll the mixture into walnut-sized balls (do not compact!)
When your water boils, reduce heat and simmer and drop the matzo balls gently into the liquid with a ladle.
Cover the pot with a lid and let the balls cook for 30-35 minutes till fluffy and soft (they will expand a lot!). Keep the pot covered and no peeking! If you've followed instructions carefully, the balls should be floating on the surface of the water like fluffy, delicious clouds.
Use a slotted spoon to transfer the matzo balls to a large plate. Let cool to room temperature, then cover and refrigerate until ready to serve. (Note: if you're making the matzo balls to eat immediately, you can transfer them right from the boiling water into the chicken broth soup.)
Prepare the Soup
When you’re ready to serve, bring the chicken broth to a simmer.
Next, drop the chopped carrots and matzo balls into the simmering broth. (Add the carrots while you're cooking the matzo balls if you’ll be eating them immediately.) Cook until the carrots are tender and the matzo balls are hot throughout.
Ladle the soup into bowls, giving everyone 2 balls to start. Sprinkle with fresh chopped dill and serve with salt and pepper on the side.