Monday, January 26, 2009

"Floaters" -- or -- the best possible matzo ball soup

My secrets for authentic matzoh ball perfection? Fresh dill, proper seasoning, chicken fat instead of olive oil and egg whites beaten to stiff peaks. Go forth and float, meine kinder...

1 cup matzo meal
4 large eggs, separated
1/4 cup oil (For maximum flavor, I like use the chicken fat that congeals on the surface of my homemade stock here, but olive oil works just fine too.)
1/4 cup water (some people use seltzer. I don't see a noticeable difference.)
1 scant tablespoon salt
4 dashes fresh ground pepper
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/3 cup chopped fresh dill

10 cups homemade chicken stock
1 chicken bouillon cube
2 carrots, peeled and cut into large chunks
1/4 cup chopped fresh dill

Mix matzo meal together with the salt, pepper and garlic. Taste the mixture. It should taste slightly overseasoned at this point. In a small bowl, beat the egg yolks and oil until doubled in volume and mix into the matzo meal mixture. Add the chopped dill and water. In a separate bowl beat the egg whites to stiff peaks with an electric mixer, making sure that both the bowl and the beaters are very clean and have no trace of grease on them before beginning. Fold the beaten egg whites into the matzo meal mixture in three batches, folding the last batch in very gently so the mixture maintains its volume. Refrigerate for 1/2 to 1 hour.

Bring chicken stock to a boil and add the boullion cube.
Moisten the palms of your hands with cold water before forming each matzo ball. Form the matzo balls - approximately walnut sized in diameter, and as perfectly round as possible - and drop them directly into the boiling stock. They should float to the surface within thirty seconds or so. If they stick to the bottom, gently dislodge them with a spoon so they can float freely. When all of the matzo balls are formed, carefully drop the carrots into the pot. Cover and cook at a rolling boil for ten minutes. Reduce heat to low, cover, and continue to cook at a simmer for at least 30 minutes more. Taste a matzo ball to make sure that they are entirely cooked through. Add the rest of the chopped dill to the pot, adjust for seasoning and serve.
(This recipe yields 12 perfect matzo balls)

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