Matzoh Ball Soup Competition
Growing up, my dad always told us his mother (my paternal grandmother Irene), made the BEST matzoh balls. Legend was that they were as big as baseballs and her secret ingredient was a little streak of cinnamon in the middle.
Since I never did get to try them, I had to vote for my maternal grandmother Dorothy's matzoh balls being the best (or kneidlach in Yiddish).
The funny thing was years later, when Dorothy was gone, I found out that they were made from a Manischewitz mix in a box. Oh well.
I have tried matzoh balls that were heavy like lead and ones that were light and pillowy, it's a personal choice, and each matzoh ball recipe is unique.
You are going for an airy dumpling here, don't be heavy handed, I was told.
Here I attempted to make my own legendary matzoh balls along w/ homemade chicken soup for Passover. Bittman's recipe, using a grated onion made these balls the best we have ever tried.
You be the judge.
Matzoh Ball Recipe for Chicken Soup: (adapted from Mark Bittman)
10 cups good chicken stock
1/4 cup minced or grated onion
1/4 cup melted rendered chicken fat or vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 cup matzoh meal
a sprinkle of cinnamon (optional)
Mix all ingredients together with a fork. Cover and allow the mixture to rest in the fridge for at least 4 hours.
With wet hands, shape into small balls about the size of 1" ping pong balls (they will triple in size when you cook them in the soup).
Cook in simmering soup or salted water for 30 minutes or until the dumplings float to the top.
Since I had my surplus of homemade chicken stock from the winter, this was easy!
I added cilantro at the end for an unconventional version of chicken soup, but feel free to add some fresh parsley or dill (as my grandmother did).
The nice thing about these is that you can make these well in advance.
You can freeze the balls separately (as per Joan Nathan from the NYT) on a cookie sheet, then transfer to a ziploc bag (just plop them in the soup to reheat when ready to serve), or freeze the entire soup with the matzoh balls and defrost.
So the judges have come to a decision (my husband and 7 year old neighbor), and we have a winner! Mine won for the best matzoh balls (though they had nothing to compare them too!).
Two balls are better than one. Have a happy Passover.