Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘matza ball’

With the weather getting really cold here in Chicago already, my mind starts to go towards stews, braises, and soups. Being Jewish, a good chicken soup with matza balls is always a winner (at least the way I make it), but I wanted to do something different. Since my mom lives in Mexico I thought I’d make a Mexican-Jewish soup. I made a relatively classic chicken pozole verde but dropped some matza balls in the soup instead of tortilla chips. 

Most of the recipes I found online used a combination of store-bought chicken broth and water with chicken breasts. Making a simple chicken broth is really easy so I opted to use plain water and chicken thighs. Dark meat has much more flavor than white meat and I never use breasts when making a soup. What I did was bring 10 cups of water to a boil and then put 2 pounds of skin-on bone-in chicken thighs in. Once it came back up to a boil I turned the heat down to medium and let it simmer for about an hour. Every 10 minutes or so I skimmed the surface to remove the muck and some of the excess fat. Once I had gotten all of the chicken flavor into the broth I removed the chicken, took off the skin and bones, and shredded the meat. I set the meat aside while I prepared the verde part of the soup.

The verde part is really just a simple salsa verde, much like you’d be served at a taqueria with chips. I used 1 pound of tomatillos, 2 poblanos, 2 jalapenos, 5 garlic cloves, 1/2 cup of cilantro, 1 small onion, and 1 tablespoon of dried oregano. I gave everything a rough chop and tossed it into my processor. I processed it into a smooth salsa and added a ladle of the broth to make sure everything mixed nicely.

I heated up a soup pan and poured in 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil and then added the verde. As you can see from this picture it started off a nice bright green. About 10-15 minutes later with occasional stirring…

…you can see it took on a much more drab color. That’s what you want in order to get rid of the raw flavors of the garlic and jalapeno and whatnot. Then I poured it into the broth and made the matza balls.

The last time I made matza balls my mom called me out for using matza ball mix. So, this time I did it from scratch. Honestly, there really isn’t much difference. I used 1 teaspoon of salt, 1 cup of matza meal, 3 eggs, 3 tablespoons of olive oil, and some cracked black pepper to taste. I mixed everything thoroughly in a glass bowl, added about 4 tablespoons of cold water and mixed that in, then covered the bowl and threw it in the fridge for about 45 minutes.

Then I got the accoutrements ready for the soup. I got out the shredded chicken, 3 radishes thinly sliced, 1 avocado, a 28 ounce can of hominy drained and rinsed, and a large handful of watercress chopped. I added the chicken and hominy to the soup and slowly brought it back up to a low boil while the rest of the ingredients stood aside and waited their turn.

When the soup was at a low boil I got the matza ball mix out and turned it into matza balls. With moist hands I rolled out balls about the size of silver dollars and dropped them in the soup. A lot of people cook theirs in plain boiling water and then add them to the soup. I’ll never understand why as that prevents them from absorbing the broth’s flavor. I want tasty balls! Once my balls were all swimming in the soup I covered it up and let them cook for about 30 minutes.

For a side I just made a simple tomato and watercress salad. I quartered a bunch of cherry tomatoes, laid them on a bed of watercress, and drizzled some sesame dressing on top.

To garnish the soup I added the sliced radish, the watercress, I diced the avocado, and squeezed some lime juice in.

Read Full Post »

After Tuesday night’s overly complex debacle of a meal we wanted something clean and simple for dinner last night. Yuki had requested my matzo ball soup, so that’s what I gave her. (feel free to insert any number of jokes)

The ingredients I use for my chicken soup are 1 diced onion, 3 medium carrots chopped, 3 stalks of celery chopped, 5 garlic cloves peeled but left whole, and 1.5 pounds of skin-on bone-in chicken thighs.

There are two basic ways to make chicken soup. One is to throw all of the ingredients into a stockpot, cover it with cold water, and bring it all to a slow simmer for a couple of hours, usually with a whole bird instead of just thighs (I think white meat in chicken soup is a waste as it doesn’t have nearly as much flavor as dark meat). That’s they way my dad makes it and his soup tastes pretty good. I do it a little different.

I heat up my stock pot and pour in about 3 tablespoons of olive oil. Then I dump in the onion, carrots, and celery and let them sweat for about 5 minutes. I don’t want them too translucent, I just want the sweetness drawn out a little. After the veggies are slightly cooked I lay the thighs in skin-side down. A minute or two later I pour in 2 quarts of hot water, add the garlic, a bay leaf, and a couple pinches of salt.

After it’s been at a low boil for a few minutes a foamy grit will surface. I take a large spoon and skim that off. I do that 6 or 7 times. This gives the broth some clarity. The muck isn’t bad for you, it’s just bitter and unnecessary. Skimming broth is the key to a clean soup. Once the foam stops surfacing I turn the heat to medium-low, cover the pot, and let it slowly simmer for about 2 hours.

Once the soup has cooled a little I take out the chicken, skin it, and shred the meat. At this point the chicken should be relatively flavorless as hopefully all of the taste is in the broth. I like to put the chicken back in for the substance.

There’s absolutely nothing wrong with using the Matzo Ball Mix for your mazto balls. While it isn’t that difficult to do it from scratch, the mix ensures the perfect texture every time. You just need one packet of mix, two eggs, and two teaspoons of oil. I also add a tablespoon of dried oregano for a little more flavor.

Mix everything in a bowl and put it in the fridge for 15 minutes to harden up a tad. While it’s in the fridge bring the soup to a light boil again. The package says to boil them separately in water, but matza balls should absorb some of the broth flavors.

Keeping your fingers wet, the mix is sticky, form balls about the size of a quarter and drop them into the boiling soup. There’s absolutely no need to make them any bigger. They do expand as they cook and if you make them too big the soup flavor won’t penetrate all the way through. I’ve never understood why some people make their balls so damn big. Maybe to compensate I guess. At any rate, that’s it. Let the balls cook for about 15 minutes and the soup is ready.

I made my wonton crisps while the soup was simmering. I used 1 package of shiitake small diced, 5 eggroll wraps cut in half diagonally, 2 cloves of garlic minced, 6 green onions sliced, and some fresh shiso leaves (the same ones our friends gave us, they are pretty damn delicious!).

I heated some oil to 375 degrees in my little Cuisinart deep fryer and fried up the skins. I let them drain on paper towels while I prepared the mushrooms.

In a heated pot I poured in 2 tablespoons of sesame oil and added the garlic. I let the garlic go for about 45 seconds and then I threw in the shiitake and green onions. I sort of stir-fried them for about 5 minutes and then poured in 1.5 tablespoons of soy sauce and a pinch of black pepper. I let the soy sauce absorb into the shiitake for about 3 minutes and then turned of the heat.

To serve, I laid the crisps down on a plate. On top of them I placed one shiso leaf. Then I spooned some shiitake mixture on top of that. That’s all she wrote, a great Jewish-Japanese dinner.

Read Full Post »