13 September 2013

Maggie's Vegan Matzo Ball Soup

If it's not clear already, we love soup. Over 10% of the recipes in this blog are soup. Since we knew the weather was going to be fall-like today, we planned for soup. This soup, though, isn't just any soup. This soup is an homage to my wife's Jewish heritage and allows her to tell me that I'd make a wonderful Jewish grandmother (because apparently to be one I'd need a recipe for matzo ball soup and a penchant for feeding people - and technically, I'd need to be Jewish, too).

To be honest, I don't remember why I started making matzo ball soup. Perhaps it was a Seder we shared with friends while I was in grad school, as we shared many. Maybe it was me trying to figure out foods we'd both love. Maybe I was just feeling adventurous. In all likelihood, I probably saw some ingredients at the store (Manischewitz Matzo Ball mix) and decided I should buy some. Whatever the reason, this a soup recipe that makes both of us incredibly happy.


Although I've tweaked the recipe a bit over time, this is a fairly straightforward recipe for matzo ball soup. It uses some convenience ingredients and things you can easily find at a grocery store. FYI, my matzo balls are a bit on the dense side of the spectrum, as is my preference. If you feel like being a master chef, you can always try the recipe from Vegan With A Vengeance, as this recipe makes matzo balls that are supposed to be fluffier.



Maggie's Vegan Matzo Ball Soup
Ingredients
2 envelopes Manishewitz Matzo Ball Mix (one box)
4 "eggs" (I use Ener-G Egg Replacer here)
4 T. vegetable oil
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
6 c. "no chicken" broth (or other veggie broth)
3 c. water
2 T. dried parsley
1/8 tsp. black pepper
1 tsp. onion powder
1 T. soy sauce (optional)
dash paprika

Directions
1. In a small bowl, mix together contents of matzo ball envelopes, 4 "eggs," and veggie oil. Stir well with a fork and let sit while you gather other ingredients.
2. Prepare other ingredients, put in a large stock pot, and bring to a boil.
3. Make small balls of matzo mix, wetting your hands before forming each ball.

This is a salad fork next to the matzo balls as a size reference.

4. One at a time, rapidly drop matzo balls into boiling water.
5. Turn down heat and cover tightly.
6. Simmer (NOT MORE THAN A SIMMER) for 20 minutes, without lifting the lid at all.

Helpful Hints
  • It's traditional to make the matzo balls in a separate pot of salted water, but I didn't know that. Once I tested that out, I decided I like that way the matzo balls tasted when they cooked in the broth. 
  • This is salty, which is why it calls for 6 c. broth and 3 c. water. Feel free to use a low-sodium broth if you prefer. 
  • I find that the matzo meal can be a bit dry after resting. It's also sticky. For both of those reasons, I wet my  hands before forming each ball. The water helps (though doesn't prevent) the dough from sticking to me and it also helps form a nice solid ball shape. 
  • You will find that there's some matzo ball "fluff" above the liquid on the walls of your pan, as well as some "fluff" that's in the broth. Don't panic, as long as you simmered and didn't boil, your matzo balls are perfectly fine. 
  • If you wanted to use fresh onion in this, I'd say use one small onion. I like the onion powder for flavor and only have the carrots and matzo balls as texture, but do what's right for you. 
  • For what it's worth, we almost never have leftovers of this soup and always serve it with another dish. Tonight we had chicklets - yum!

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