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Matzo Balls

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I realize I am treading on dangerous ground by sharing my recipe for matzo balls (also known as kneidel); hence only the balls and not the soup in which they reside. By publishing the soup, I risk the wrath of every Jewish grandmother who has her own ancestral recipe and I don't wish to go there.

I have to confess I have had some good and some not so good matzo balls, so I went on a quest to create my own. Here it is. I do hope you enjoy and be sure to use your best chicken soup recipe.

Some interesting facts: Not that I would ever like to try this, but Joey Chestnut holds the world record for eating matzo balls -- he ate 78 of them in eight minutes.

The world record for the largest matzo ball is held by Chef Jon Wirtis of Shlomo and Vito's New York Delicatessen, in Tucson, Ariz. In 2010, he created a 191-kilogram (426-pound) matzo ball for New York's Jewish Food Festival. The ingredients were 56.25 kg (125 lb) of matzo meal, 11.25 kg (25 lb) of schmaltz, over 1,000 eggs and 9 kg (20 lb) of potato starch.

Matzo Balls

125 ml (1/2 cup) onion, minced

5 ml (1 tsp) olive oil

2 large eggs, lightly beaten

37 ml (2 1/2 tbsp) melted butter or chicken fat

30 ml (2 tbsp) finely chopped parsley

5 ml (1 tsp) finely chopped thyme

Coarse salt and ground pepper

A pinch of grated nutmeg

170 ml (2/3 cup) matzah meal

60 ml (4 tbsp) soda water

 

1. In a small nonstick skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add minced onion, and cook until tender, about 5 minutes; let cool.

2. In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs, add the melted butter, salt, pepper, thyme, nutmeg and matzo meal. Add soda water and cooled onion; stir to combine. Cover and refrigerate at least 45 minutes.

3. With oiled hands, shape matzo mixture into 8 balls, about the size of a small walnut, place on a baking sheet. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 15 minutes.

4. Bring chicken broth to a boil; reduce to a simmer. Add matzo balls; cover, and cook until expanded, 30 to 35 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Serve immediately.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition April 5, 2014 D14

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