Alzheimer's Association Celebrity Champion and acclaimed chef Andrew Zimmern raises Alzheimer's awareness in honor of his grandmother through Around the Table, focused on shared experiences with food to raise awareness of Alzheimer’s and its impact on communities across the country. Here, Chef shares his matzoh ball soup recipe.
This is the only recipe I’ve come across that measures up to my grandmother’s. The matzoh ball has the perfect balance: light enough to float, dense enough to be a good “sinker.” When I make it as a main course, I serve the chicken in sixths with the skin and bone, adding kasha or noodles and leaving the vegetables in bigger pieces so it’s more like a poulet pot au feu than a first course for Passover seder. For the uninformed, the seder is a ritual feast that marks the beginning of the Jewish holiday of Passover. It is held at sundown on the 14th day of Nissan in the Hebrew calendar and on the 15th by observant Jews living outside Israel. It’s basically Thanksgiving for Jews, and it’s my favorite holiday of the year.
Passover Matzoh Ball Soup
Servings: 8 to 10
Total time: 2 hours
The Matzoh Balls
4 large eggs, separated
1/4 teaspoon of cream of tartar
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
Freshly ground white pepper
1/4 cup melted chicken fat (schmaltz)
1/3 cup grated yellow onion
1 1/4 cups matzoh meal
3 quarts rich chicken broth
One chicken, about 2 1/2 to 3 pounds, washed and dried
1 large onion, diced
2 large carrots, thinly sliced
2 celery ribs, thinly sliced
1 small rutabaga, peeled and diced
4 large parsley sprigs, plus more for garnish
4 large dill sprigs, plus more for garnish
1 tablespoon vegetable oil, for forming the matzoh balls
In a large bowl, beat the 4 egg whites and cream of tartar with an electric hand mixer until stiff peaks form.
In a separate bowl, combine the garlic powder, onion powder, baking soda, salt, the 4 egg yolks, and pepper. Whisk to incorporate. Add the schmaltz, onion, beaten egg whites and matzoh meal. Fold together until fully combined. Press a sheet of plastic wrap directly onto the surface of the batter and refrigerate for 8 hours or overnight.
In a large pot, bring the chicken broth to a simmer. Add the whole chicken and return the stock to a simmer. Cover and cook for about 70 minutes at a delicate simmer. Remove the chicken with 2 large serving spoons and let cool for 30 minutes on a large plate, then shred the meat; discard the skin, cartilage and bones.
To the pot of enriched broth, add the onion, carrot, celery, rutabaga, chicken meat, parsley and dill sprigs tied with a loop of kitchen string. Bring to a simmer. Remove the matzoh ball batter from the fridge. Using the vegetable oil to keep your hands moist and prevent the batter from sticking, roll golf ball sized matzoh balls and gently place in the soup. Cover and cook over medium-low heat for 25 minutes.
Serve, garnishing with chopped dill and parsley.
About: As the host of “Bizarre Foods” and “What’s Eating America?,” Andrew Zimmern has eaten his way across the globe, visiting more than 150 countries. Back at home in New York City, the James Beard Award winner sharpened his culinary skills with the help of his two grandmothers. Find more of Andrew’s recipes on his website.
Learn more about Around the Table.