Monday, October 12, 2009

Cheaters Handbook: Matzo Ball Soup

It seems everyone has a cold these days.  I've given up trying to prevent myself from getting it, because I think it's inevitable that we're all going to get it no matter what.  This past week my mum was sick with a cold, and of all weeks for her to be sick, this was certainly not a good one!  On Wednesday evening we attended (well, I worked the event, she attended) the Chilean Wine Festival in the Historic Distillery District's Fermenting Cellar, and on Thursday evening we attended Grapes for Humanity's A Chocolate and Wine Fantasy at the Four Seasons Hotel.  Two spectacular events that she could not be sick for!  How awful to have the opportunity to attend such incredible events, and not even be able to taste what is being served!  So to get my mum back into top form, I whipped up some Matzo Ball Soup for her. 

Matzo Ball Soup is very easy to make no matter which way you make it.  Matzo Ball Soup from scratch is delicious, but it is just as tasty when made from a package, you just need to know the right tricks and cheats to step it up a notch.  Let's face it, who really wants to slave over a hot stove making broth from scratch when you can easily spice up a bought broth in a matter of minutes.

Making matzo balls is insanely easy using a packaged mix (Manischewitz is one of the best brands), and they taste great.  Although packaged mixes only tell you the very basic way to make matzo balls, it is important to take the recipe a tiny step further by seasoning up your matzo balls with salt and pepper, and even go beyond that by adding some fresh parsley.  You may also add some texture and nutty flavour to your matzo balls by adding some chopped toasted walnuts.  If you would prefer to make your matzo balls from scratch, here is a a recipe from Cooking On the Side  that has been adapted from an episode of Bobby Flay's Matzo Ball Throwdown.  Also note that when you are forming your matzo balls, make them about half the size you want them to be once cooked.  The matzo balls puff up to double their size once cooked in the broth.

Additional Matzo Ball Add-Ins:
chopped fresh parsley
salt and pepper
chopped walnuts

After you have made your matzo balls, (it is at this point that the matzo ball batter should be chilling in the fridge), it is time to kick up your broth.  When using any type of packaged broth, it is important to build on the basic flavour that they have provided you with.  Make the broth your own by chopping up some additional vegetables and fresh herbs.  Add the additional ingredients to the simmering broth 10 minutes prior to adding the matzo balls.  The additional ingredients add flavour, texture, and nutrients to your soup.  This time, I chose to add an extra hit of ginger, as ginger acts a fabulous natural cold remedy.   Below are some suggested additional ingredients to use as a guide:

Additional Broth Add-Ins:
chopped carrots (and/or heirloom carrots)
chopped green onions
chopped dill
chopped parsley
grated ginger
chopped leeks
chopped turnips
shredded cooked chicken


Hilary said...

Love love love matzo ball soup! It's the best when you're feeling under the weather. I always have big chunks of carrot in mine, too.

Christina said...

I have never tried matzo ball soup and really want to. I'll be trying your recipe!

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