Matzoh Balls: Sinkers or floaters, I love 'em all

Discussion in 'Food & Cooking' started by schmoozer, Mar 30, 2010.

  1. schmoozer

    schmoozer

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    Bet you didn't know that matzoh had any <LOL>

    So, has anyone got a few good ideas for these delicious and sometimes all-too-seasonal little jewels?  I'm running out of ideas and my recipe computer is in the shop.  I've got chicken broth and plenty of schmaltz, and of course, matzoh.
     
    Last edited: Mar 30, 2010
  2. boar_d_laze

    boar_d_laze

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    (Ghost of Passovers Past:  Re-posted from a March, 2009 thread, Matzoh Ball Soup)

    Matzo balls can be dense or light, herbed or plain, richly flavored or simple. These are light, herbed, and richly flavored. The richness (and some of the mouthfeel) comes from the use of schmaltz instead of oil. Unfortunately, fat breaks down the egg whites which takes away some lightness. I try to limit the effect by getting the dumplings into the pot as soon as possible after the egg whites are incorporated, but if you want supreme lightness you’ll eliminate the fat.

    Almost all recipes call for some fat – and most American recipes call for oil. My feeling is that if you don’t have schmaltz, forget it and take the lightness.

    I’ve included optional baking powder in the recipe. It will lighten the matzo balls. It’s not technically “leavening,” at least not in the sense that it’s possible to find “Kosher for Passover” baking powder. However, if you don’t want it you don’t have to use it.


    MATZO BALLS and MATZO BALL SOUP
    (About 12 meal, or 18 soup course portions)


    Ingredients:
    4 eggs, separated
    2 tsp schmaltz, melted butter, margarine, or vegetable oil (optional)
    2 tbs finely minced fresh chives
    1 or 2 tbs grated or finely minced onion
    1 tbs finely chopped fresh dill
    1 tsp finely chopped fresh tarragon
    1/2 tsp finely chopped fresh thyme
    1 tsp salt
    1/2 tsp fresh ground black pepper
    1/2 tsp baking powder (optional)
    2 tsp chilled seltzer, club soda, or chicken stock
    1 cup matzo meal (4 or 5 matzos, ground to meal in blender)

    Technique:
    Make chicken stock in the usual way. When you separate the fat, reserve 2 tsp. Consider it magically converted from fat to schmaltz.

    Set a kettle with 1 gallon water on the stove. Bring to the boil. Turn heat down to simmer.

    Meanwhile, separate the eggs.

    Beat the yolks with the (optional) schmaltz, herbs, salt and pepper until thickened. Chill.

    In a separate bowl, beat the whites to soft peaks.

    Set a sheet pan, covered with parchment or wax paper on your workspace.

    Remove the yolk mixture from the refrigerator, and beat in the seltzer and baking powder.

    Fold in the egg whites as gently as possible. Then sprinkle the matzo meal on top of the mix, and fold the meal in -- also as gently as possible. Allow to set up, about 10 minutes. During this period the whites are collapsing from the action of the fat on the bubble walls, as well as time itself. Consider the evanescent nature of existence.

    Turn on the cold water tap, and wet your hands thoroughly, leave the tap running.

    Use a 1 or 2 tbs (1 oz, 1/8 cup) scoop, to scoop a portion of matzo ball into your palm. Gently form it into a ball. Set the ball on the paper, rinse your hands again, and repeat the process until all of the mixture is used. Somewhere between 14 - 20 knaidlach (Yiddish for “dumplings,” a single dumpling is a knaidl).

    With wet hands, put a ball into a slotted spoon or spider, then place it into the simmering water. Repeat until all dumplings are in the water. Cover the pot and allow to simmer for 20 minutes. Note: Dumplings which cook covered are lighter than dumplings that cook in an open pot. Check the pot to make sure the water is simmering, and not boiling.

    While the dumplings simmer, bring 3 quarts of stock to the boil, then reduce the stock to a simmer. When the dumplings have simmered for 20 minutes in the water, transfer them to the stock and allow to simmer for another 15 minutes.

    The dumplings may be refrigerated in just enough stock to cover, and held several days; or may be used immediately. If the knaidlach are held, the stock used to finish cooking them may be strained through a fine sieve and held as well. If the stock is meant to be used immediately (see below), straining is a very nice touch but not absolutely necessary.

    To make matzo ball soup: Add a few fresh carrots, celery, etc., to the remaining stock and cook until the vegetables are almost tender. Then, add the matzo balls, the stock in which they were held, and heat just until warm.

    Hope you like,
    BDL

    PS. The usual rigamarole. This is an original recipe. You have my permission to share it as long as you cite me, Boar D. Laze, as its creator. I'd consider it a kindness if you would mention my eventually forthcoming book, COOK FOOD GOOD: American Cooking and Technique for Beginners and Intermediates.
     
  3. phatch

    phatch Moderator Staff Member

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    I've only had the  big sinker style, large AA egg sized. I had to take it in small bites. The rest of my family are big starch fiends and loved them.  I'd eat it again too
     
  4. kyheirloomer

    kyheirloomer

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    I've probably mentioned this before, but I prefer the chewy, sinker types. In short, the kind that are made wrong.

    My MIL was, unquestionably, the worst cook in the United States. I loved her matzoh balls precisely because she didn't have the knack, and they were dense, and chewy, and unloved by everyone else.

    Her roast chicken, on the other hand, was the next best thing to inedible. /img/vbsmilies/smilies/frown.gif  And it was unbelievable what that woman could do to a steak.

    First time Friend Wife made matzoh balls she had no idea what she was doing. How could she, with that example? Anyway, she didn't realize that the balls expanded in the liquid, and formed them full sized. You guessed it: Softball sized matzoh balls sitting in a soup bowl in a bare puddle of broth.

    We still laugh about that.
     
  5. petalsandcoco

    petalsandcoco

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    Chef BDL,


    I think your recipe its just about the best one I have ever seen. Using the schmaltz is a great idea. When Chef Charron asked about rendered fats in one of his threads, schmaltz was what came to my mind and being having it used in a great soup like this.

    Thank you , Merci
     
  6. boar_d_laze

    boar_d_laze

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    Thanks Chef Petals.  You are a goddess of good taste.

    BDL
     
  7. schmoozer

    schmoozer

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    I like your idea of adding herbs.  My experience with adding club soda has not been as good as when adding seltzer.  Generally, I like white pepper over black, mostly for the asthetics, although a good black tellicherry can add some interesting flavor dimensions.  Thanks for the link.  BTW, schmaltz has always been my fat of choice.  It's only since hanging out on cooking forums that I learned oil is sometimes used.

    Joyce Goldstein, one of my favorite chefs and cooking gurus, has a neat little video on making matzoh balls: 
    http://www.chow.com/stories/11997
     
    Last edited: Mar 31, 2010