Our first virtually submitted recipe is Jacob Mandel's Matzah Ball Soup!
Credit goes to: Tova Braun (for the soup recipe) and Ida Rosenspan (for the matzah ball recipe)
The soup is from my Aunt, Tova Braun, who learned to cook from my grandparents on my dad's side. She made it every time I would visit her and it was my favorite. When she passed away my Uncle Paul took over soup responsibilities and it's been his ever since. The matzah balls are my grandmother's on my mom's side, Ida Rosenspan. My mom makes these every Passover and I look forward to them every year. I love cooking and always helped a bit with the matzah balls but never made the soup before this year. Due to coronavirus I couldn't be with my family. A week before Passover 2020 my grandfather, Sheldon Rosenspan, died of complication from coronavirus so making these dishes as close to what my family does was super important. Soup has always been my favorite food. It's ancient, every culture has some form of soup. This is what I grew up eating. This recipe is from different parts of my family and different generations. It tastes like home."
Below is Jacob's description:
This recipe sounds like it might be hard but it was honestly one of the easiest and tastiest things I've ever made. It makes about 12 v large bowls of soup and like 15 medium sized matzoh balls. Honestly, most of this recipe is chilling out while everything simmers.
There's nothing fancy about any of it, even cutting the veggies, do it large and rough. I def recommend a pre-butchered chicken, makes prep really quick and easy. This is a recipe you can eat for days. It takes maybe about 4 hours, start to finish. Start the soup around lunch and take your time with it. This is not a rushed and complicated recipe, just relax and enjoy the process.
Kosher, Heart-healthy (low in fat, low in sodium), can be adapted to vegetarian, halal.
- 4 turnips
- 4 carrots
- 3 parsnips
- 4 celery stalks
- 2 onions
- 1 head of garlic
- Fresh Dill
- Fresh Parsley
- 1 whole chicken (Raw but not frozen! Defrost it first) (also, doesn't have to be whole, can be just thighs, or breasts, you just want about a whole chickens worth of meat and bones. I did this with a chicken that was prepackaged and already cut into thighs wings and breasts cuz idk how to butcher a chicken)
- Salt & Pepper to taste
- A large stock pot
- A colander or something to strain the soup (this is for the step I added, if you don't have a colander you can just like fish out the bits with a slotted spoon or something like that. Email me at [email protected] if you want the more classic recipe that doesn't involve this step)
- A medium sized stock pot or a large bowl that can accommodate the stock we're gonna make
THE MATZOH BALLS:
- 2 cups Matzoh meal
- 4 eggs
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1/2 cup water
- lots of salt and pepper
- A large mixing bowl
- A pan good for boiling pasta
- A little bit of fridge room for the bowl
Start with the soup!
- In a bowl: Peel and medium chop 2 each of the turnips carrots parsnips and celery.
- Cut 1 onion in half down the middle, leave the skin and everything just toss it in the bowl.
- Cut the whole head of garlic across the middle like a bagel, leave skins and all just like the onion.
- Throw a few sprigs of dill and parsley in there.
- We're gonna save the rest of the veggies for later, you'll see whats up.
- Remove skin from chicken and rinse/remove any fatty bits. This soup would normally be made with a kosher chicken which is salted. If you're not using a kosher chicken, generously salt the chicken on all sides and let it sit for a few mins.
- In a large pot: Add all the veggies you've prepped and the chicken on top. Cover about an inch over the chicken with water. Bring to a boil then simmer. Check it occasionally while its simmering and skim the foamy stuff off the top.
WHILE ITS SIMMERING MAKE THE MATZAH BALL DOUGH!
- Okay so like you're chillin w a solid hour to hang, grab a big mixing bowl! In the bowl, add the eggs, water, and oil. Whip them up with plenty of salt and pepper.
- Mix in the matzah meal, a little at a time while stirring, to make sure you avoid clumps. The texture of the matzah ball dough should be like thick pancake mix. Just keep adding some extra water until its mostly drippy off the fork or whatever utensil you're using.
- Remember to add a little extra salt and pepper whenever you add a lot of extra water.
- Cover and put in the fridge for at least an hour before boiling.
BACK TO THE SOUP:
Okay so it's been about an hour and a half and your chicken should be fully cooked.
- Take the chicken out and put on a tray or baking sheet or even a big plate, just put it all to the side to cool before shredding.
- At this point the veggies have given all their nutrients and texture and color to the stock so they're not really ideal for eating. Scoop out as much as you can and throw them away.
- Strain the stock through the colander into another pot or large bowl. You should be left with a beautiful (and concentrated) golden stock.
TAKE A BREAK OR SOMETHING, DRINK SOME WINE OR A NICE ICE COLD COCA-COLA, DEF SOME WATER AND MABE A LIL SNACK.
Okay so we back. It's almost dinner time, you hungry.
- Shred the chicken and throw the bones away. Leave the shredded chicken to the side.
- With the left over celery, parsnips, carrots, onions, honestly whatever veggies you have that you wanna eat in the soup, cut them all up nice into bite sized pieces.
- Add all the fresh veggies and some extra sprigs of dill and parsley into the stock.
- Add salt and pepper to taste
- I like to leave the herbs on the stem, I eat them whole in the soup but it's your call if you'd rather cut them up.
- The stock you made is (hopefully) very concentrated, we want to bring out more of the veggie vibe. Add water to the stock, about half as much as you made after you strained it (just eyeball it. If the stock goes up a third of the way of the pot, make it go a little above half.
- If you want to be precise and you measured the amount of stock you made.... for every 2 cups of stock add one cup of water. The fresh veggies will impart a lot of flavor.).
- Bring to a boil and LIGHTLY simmer on low while you finish the matzah balls.
FINISHING THE MATZAH BALLS & THE SOUP
The dough at this point should be a bit thicker than it was and quite sticky. If it's too runny just add a bit more matzah meal.
- Put a medium sized pot of water (fill about 2/3rds the way up) to boil on the stove. Add some oil to the water and a little extra salt.
- Once it's boiling, WITH WET HANDS, scoop, ball, and drop the matzah balls in the water. They should be about twice the size of a ping-pong ball. Boil for 20 minutes.
- They like to float around so use a wooden spoon to gently push them down.
This soup stays very well in the fridge for several days and so does the matzah ball dough! Make them fresh! Basically what I'm saying is, make as many as you plan on eating (maybe a few extra cuz they're fire) and put the rest of the dough in a container in the fridge. I suggest 2 matzah balls per bowl/serving.
- Once the 20 mins is up, strain the matzah balls like you would pasta. 5 mins before you serve put all the chicken back into the soup, just to heat it up.
In a big ol' bowl. Unless you're feeding an army of hungry jewish grandchildren (me) you'll probably have a bunch left. Refrigerate or freeze the soup! The matzah balls are also not bad if you have some left, I would reheat them in the soup the next day so they don't get dry. Best thing is if you make the leftovers again, boil some fresh matzah balls. The dough is good in the fridge for probably 4 days at most. The soup in the fridge is good for like 5ish days?
"Frozen it's probably good for a few months but don't quote me on that."
*In regards to it being heart-healthy, my Uncle can't eat salt because of some health issues. He usually makes the soup completely salt free and we add our own to our individual bowls. If you want to make it vegetarian just follow the recipe without the chicken and add veggie bouillon to get it nice and rich (I recommend the Better Than Bouillon brand). Idk if they sell gluten-free matzah meal but they def sell gluten free matzah sheets. If you have a food processor you can pulse them in there until they're the texture of french-press ground coffee and u good to go.
Something to share about Jersey;
"I don't live in JC but I am there often. I am greatly concerned with gentrification and lack of support for working class people in Jersey City, Newark, and all of the surrounding areas. I LOVE the people in JC, the energy, and the support everyone has for each other. I just recently learned this dish because of being quarantined from my family and wanted to share this. I CANNOT WAIT until we can all come together again, I am absolutely bringing this to the next 9th Haus [local artist collective] potluck (unless its too hot in there like that one time we all sweat through our clothing)."