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Potato-Leek Matzo Balls

Potato-Leek Matzo Balls

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 pounds russet potatoes, peeled, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 4 cups chopped leeks (white and pale green parts only; from 4 large)
  • 1 1/2 cups canned low-salt chicken broth
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

Recipe Preparation

  • Steam potatoes until very tender, about 15 minutes. Transfer potatoes to large bowl and mash well.

  • Combine 2 cups leeks and broth in heavy medium saucepan; bring to boil over medium-high heat. Cover and cook until leeks are tender, about 5 minutes. Uncover and boil until mixture is reduced to scant 1 1/4 cups, about 7 minutes. Transfer to processor and blend until smooth. Add to mashed potatoes. Add matzo meal, oil, and pepper and blend very well. Using electric mixer, beat eggs, and salt in medium bowl until thick, about 8 minutes. Fold egg mixture into potato mixture in 3 additions; fold in remaining 2 cups leeks.

  • Brush 15x10x2-inch glass baking dish generously with olive oil. Bring large pot of salted water to boil. Using wet hands, form 1 rounded tablespoon potato mixture into ball; place on sheet of moistened foil. Make about 17 more and drop into water. Cover tightly, reduce heat to medium and boil until matzo balls are cooked through and tender, about 35 minutes. Using slotted spoon, transfer matzo balls to prepared dish. Refill water in pot if necessary, add more salt and return to boil. Repeat with remaining potato mixture. DO AHEAD Can be made 2 days ahead. Cool slightly, cover with foil and chill. Steam 10 minutes or bake covered in 350°F oven 25 minutes to rewarm.

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One of the weird things about the internet is the premium put upon revealing as much as humanly possible about yourself to total and complete strangers all day and every day forever in an endless stream of content. It’s fucked up, really. While I try to be mindful of this and show only as much as I feel comfortable, I still often ask myself if I am putting too much out there. Maybe? But I do like to think I’m leaving enough to the imagination. I must be because it always seems to shock (or surprise?) people when I tell them this one thing, and that is that I am Jewish. Half Jewish (Russian Jew), if we are being picky. That caveat is typically followed by, “mom’s half or dad’s half?,” and when I tell them it’s my father’s side, they reply, “you know that means you’re not really Jewish,” to which I reply “I love dill, leave me alone!” and that settles that.

Sure, maybe my loving dill is the most Jewish thing about me, but that’s not an insignificant part. I wouldn’t go so far as to say it’s character-defining, but it DOES define my character. This isn’t a new thing. For me, to know dill is to love it. The first food I remember becoming obsessed with that wasn’t milk from a boob was matzo ball soup (must have dill), followed closely by kosher (dill) pickles and my late Grandpa Bob’s Dilly Bread (not Jewish, but wow, did the man love dill).

So, for those dying to know: What’s so great about dill? For me, dill is more of a feeling than anything, but if I had to rattle off a few things, okay fine, uhm….. well, it tastes like the inside of a flower, or what I imagine the inside of a flower to taste like. It’s sort of sweet and maybe a little anise-y. It’s almost salty, like seaweed. Dill tastes like laying in the grass, like rolling around in the sun. The texture of dill is gentle and suggestive, never overbearing or obtrusive. Delicate without being annoyingly wispy to too feathery. While this is not a looks-based obsession, I would be remiss to ignore that aesthetically, it’s definitely the most stunning herb I’ve ever seen.

Weirdly, dill and I have a lot in common. We aren’t for everyone, but the people we are for, we really seem to be for (conversely, the people we aren’t for….we REALLY are not for?). We certainly don’t go with everything, but when we’re not there and should be, something seems missing (I truly am a blast at parties, remember those?).

Another thing dill and I have in common is the way we like to be treated: with care! Dill will turn its back on you in a damn second if it senses you are not tending to its specific needs. Not because it’s fragile but because it’s particular. Treat it well, and it’ll last forever (or at least 1 week, refrigerated). Don’t you dare let it die in that clamshell it came in, and if you think it’s cool hanging out in a plastic bag next to the other herbs instead of gingerly wrapping it in a slightly dampened paper towel, you are mistaken. Dill also hates to be tied down can’t stand to be smothered. When sold by the bunch, it will most always come bound in a rubber band, which is great for transport, but dill needs to be set free from its confines as soon as you bring it home lest it becomes bruised and wilted.

FIVE TIMES I COULD NOT IMAGINE MY LIFE WITHOUT DILL

I use herbs prescriptively, not superfluously. I suggest where things can be swapped or traded or mixed and matched, but sometimes there’s an application so specialized that no other herb will do. Dill is one of those herbs. (Cilantro is also one, but this is dill’s day.) It bears mentioning I am speaking strictly of fresh dill and will not be taking questions about dried dill at this time.

1. Dan Roman’s gravlax

My dad got “really into making gravlax” a few years ago and while the salt:sugar ratio kind of comes and goes depending on how my dad is “vibing” with the salmon, there’s always a ton of dill. By definition, gravlax contains dill, so no, there is no substitute here and no, I cannot imagine me (or my dad) making or eating this without dill .

2. Matzo ball soup

Don’t you dare serve matzo ball soup to me unless those balls are absolutely swimming amongst a veritable forest of dill.

3. Tuna salad

Whether it’s a tuna salad salad or a tuna salad sandwich, tuna salad in any form needs plenty of dill. Chives should also be included, but those can be replaced with scallions or shallots the dill, however, is simply nonnegotiable.

4. Mixed greens

When I was 18 I worked for a farm that sold lettuces and herbs at the Santa Monica Farmers Market. They bagged a lettuce mix that they called “stellar mix” which dovetailed nicely with my Incubus obsession. The mix had edible flowers and mixed herbs, like parsley, chives, and dill. I hate to sound like “that person,” but I truly can’t even *look* at a salad if it’s not bursting with dill. (This is not true, but I do put dill in my mixed greens whenever possible and think you should, too.)

In my book, potatoes are always “fine.” Until they are showered in dill. Then, they immediately skyrocket to the top of my “things I would die for” list. Many of my potato recipes call for “herbs,” but I’m asking you to please read between the lines here and know that when I say herbs I mean DILL. Potatoes without dill are like making love in a canoe. In this essay, I will--

Anyway, next time you want a very pure expression of this iconic duo, do yourself a favor and boil a few small, waxy potatoes (these tend to be thin-skinned and don’t need to be peeled), crush them while they’re still warm, toss them with a little butter, flaky salt, and coarsely ground pepper and then DESTROY THEM WITH DILL. Latkes? Wouldn’t dream of experiencing them without dill. Baked potatoes? Need more dill, probably. Imagine eating a potato salad without dill? What an absolute bore. While we’re on the topic, it should be mentioned Diane’s Potato Salad as seen on Beverly Scofield’s Instagram was the first time I saw the hashtag #lotsofdill, which has inspired a lot of dill-forward recipes and also this bracelet my friend Chris made me. I’ve not had Diane’s potato salad, and I can see from the photo that she’s in the mayo camp, but regardless of our agreeing to disagree on that one, we can both agree that a good potato salad simply must have #lotsofdill.

This brings me to potato soup. Because I have lost a sturdy grip on reality, I spent about 9 hours last week just. thinking about potato soup. For literally no reason. Why was I thinking about potato soup? Have two more boring words ever been put together in the history of the world? I’m pretty sure the last time I even had potato soup was when I was 16, sitting across from my mom at the Lamplighter Diner in the San Fernando Valley of Los Angeles, awkwardly telling her that I had lost my virginity.

Potato soup: Does it have to be pureed? I hope not, I hate pureed soup. It should be vegetarian, right? I think so. Can it look. good? Beige is beautiful! Does anyone but my friend Clayton refer to it as PLS (potato leek soup)? We are about to find out!

Creamy Potato Soup with Greens and Lots of Dill

Serves 4

I am irrationally thrilled with this soup. It has so few ingredients that I feel like it has no right to be as delicious as it is. I attribute that mostly to the dill, of course, but also the Better Than Bouillion vegetable bouillion (I also love their chicken bouillon) and the small amount of vinegar at the end. It’s definitely heavy on the leeks which are not only great for *flavor* but also texture. Inspired by all the times I’ve eaten twice-cooked pork at a number of Szechuan restaurants (if you’re in Brooklyn, I love Authentic Szechuan Tofu of 5th Avenue), I wanted to use the whole leek, not just the white and light green parts (I often do this in my own cooking because I hate waste). Raw or briefly cooked, the darker stems are definitely tougher but simmered for a while with the potatoes, it cooks down into something perfectly tender without melting into nothingness.

This soup is about as flexible as I get. Don’t have waxy potatoes? You can use russets. Before the sour cream is added, this soup is technically vegan, but it doesn’t have to be. Use butter instead of olive oil, chicken stock instead of vegetable broth. Yogurt instead of sour cream. Want to top with some crispy cured pork situation? Sure! This would also be excellent topped with smoked trout, sardines, or salmon. But, please, whatever you do, please don’t skip the dill. Nothing can replace the dill.

2 tablespoons olive oil or unsalted butter
2 pounds waxy potatoes, such as Yukon Gold or fingerlings, sliced about ½” thick
2 leeks (the whole thing!), chopped and rinsed
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
6 cups vegetable broth (or 6 cups water + 4 teaspoons vegetable Better Than Bouillon)
1 large (or 2 small) bunch leafy greens, such as kale, spinach, or Swiss chard, stems removed, leaves torn into bite-sized pieces
1/4 cup sour cream, plus more for serving
1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
4 scallions, thinly sliced
1 cup dill, coarsely chopped

1. Heat olive oil in a large, heavy-bottomed pot over medium-high heat. Add potatoes and leeks and season with salt and pepper.

2. Cook, stirring occasionally until the leeks are bright green and have begun to sweat, 5 to 8 minutes. Add water and bouillon (or vegetable broth) and bring to a simmer. Simmer until the liquid has reduced a bit and the potatoes are basically falling apart, 30–40 minutes. With a little encouragement from your wooden (or whatever) spoon, I want you to smush the tender potatoes so that they fall apart even more (this will thicken the soup, turn it creamy and make the potatoes a nice, uneven, chunky texture).

3. Add the greens, stirring to wilt them into the soup.

4. Add the sour cream and vinegar and simmer another minute or so (adding the sour cream later in the cooking process keeps a “fresher” sour cream flavor and prevents any curdling). Season with salt, pepper, and maybe a little more vinegar.

5. Ladle soup into a bowl and top with more sour cream if you’re going that route. Scatter the bowl with scallion and #lotsofdill, then grind some more black pepper over the whole thing.

Make your 2021 more/less list. Feel seen when The New Yorker has called your newsletter “bossy and self-deprecating.”Wonder if there’s a way to tactfully post a potato soup recipe in the middle of an insurrection? Don’t let the week’s embarrassingly blatant and horrific display of white supremacy distract you from the fact that Georgia elected two new senators yesterday (including Raphael Warnock, the state’s first Black senator). PHONE BANKING WORKS, DONATIONS WORK, HARD WORK WORKS! Thank Stacey Abrams in your nightly rounds. Take a breath and let yourself ease into the year, it’s a marathon, not a sprint, etc. Admit to yourself that some of your plants just aren’t going to make it, replace them with new plants that you will try your best not to kill. Listen to POOG, Kate Berlant and Jacqueline Novak’s wellness podcast, laugh forever. Help your friend outfit his kitchen when you discover he does not own a single mixing bowl, feel inspired to make an EVERYTHING YOUR KITCHEN NEEDS (and a few things it doesn’t) post. Stay tuned for that one in next week’s inbox.


Matzo Ball Soup by Chef Alon Shaya


Recipe courtesy of award-winning Chef Alon Shaya of Shaya
Photo credit: Randy Schmidt

"I love making matzo ball soup. I tried to make a broth that reminds me of vietnamese pho. I love the warm spices and burned onion flavor that comes along with it. And have fun with spices! I love to add a little allspice to my chicken broth and some orange zest too. I feel it adds a nice complexity to the soup.

Matzo Ball Soup
2 (3­ pound) whole chickens, innards removed, legs and breasts separated
1 large onion, peeled and cut in half
1 large carrot, peeled and cut in half
2 celery ribs, washed and cut in thirds
1 tablespoon of kosher salt
1 stick of cinnamon
1 whole star anise
1 clove of garlic, crushed
2 bay leaves
Optional: allspice, orange zest

To Finish:
4 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 heads broccoli, cut into florets
Parsley and chopped green onions for garnish
Optional: 4.5 tablespoons hawyej or curry powder (If kosher for Passover available) or omit

For the Matzo Balls:
1 cup matzo meal
1&frasl2 cup duck fat, (chicken fat can substitute)
4 whole eggs, lightly beaten
3 tsp salt
1&frasl2 tsp onion powder
1&frasl2 tsp garlic powder

Remove excess fat, breast meat and legs/thighs from the body of the chicken. Place the body in a large stock pot and add enough water to cover the chicken by 1 inch. Place over a low flame and slowly bring to a simmer. As it simmers, skim off all the foam and fat as it rises to the top. Continue to cook for 45 minutes on a low simmer. Add the onions, carrot, celery, salt, star anise, cinnamon, garlic and bay leaves. Continue to cook partially covered for 2 hours on a low flame. Strain the broth and place the strained broth into another large pot. Add the remaining broccoli florets, chicken legs, and if using- hawyej and matzo balls to the broth and let cook slowly for 45 minutes. At this point, you can hold the soup warm until you are ready to serve.

When ready to serve, remove the chicken legs and pull apart the meat. In a hot saute pan over medium heat, place the chicken breast skin side down and begin to sear. Let cook for about 8 minutes or until the skin has become crispy and golden. Flip and cook the flesh side for another 3 - ­4 minutes. You want the chicken breast to be cooked to medium. Remove from pan, let rest for 5 minutes and dice. Return the leg meat as well as the diced breast to the broth. Check the soup for salt, and add the lemon juice. After the soup is plated, sprinkle on the green onions, add the broccoli florets, and drizzle with extra virgin olive oil.

For the Matzo Balls:
Mix the matzo meal with the salt, onion powder and garlic powder. Warm the duck fat until it becomes liquid, but not hot. Add the eggs and fat to the other ingredients. Mix until evenly incorporated. Let mixture rest in the refrigerator for 1 hour prior to rolling. Roll into one ounce balls and carefully place in the simmering chicken broth to cook. Cook for 45 minutes on low heat.

Approximately 8 Servings
The beautiful photo pictures the chicken matzo ball soup served at the restaurant Shaya. For Passover, Alon suggests those avoiding kitniyot substitute broccoli for the pictured peas.


Matzo Ball Soup by Grandma Martha

Adapted by June Hersh
June Hersh, food lecturer, culinary expert and author of the cookbook "The Kosher Carnivore," shared a live on-air recipe with TV anchor Sukanya Krishnan on PIX11 (New York City). We present the recipe but suggest that you also watch the video for extra soup-making tips and secrets from June.

For the Broth:
1 whole (3- to 4- pound) hen
1-tablespoon kosher salt
4 celery stalks, with leaves, cleaned and chopped
3 carrots, cleaned and chopped
1 onion, chopped
2 leeks, cleaned and chopped
3 whole unpeeled garlic cloves
4 sprigs flat-leaf parsley
3 sprigs dill
½ teaspoon whole black peppercorns
2 dried bay leaves
For the garnish
Carrot rounds (blanched till soft)
Chopped fresh dill
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

For the Matzo Balls:
1 cup Matzo Meal
4 eggs
1 ounce rendered chicken fat (schmaltz)
½ ounce kosher Salt
½ teaspoon double-acting or Passover friendly baking powder
2 ounces seltzer

For the Broth:
Rub chicken with kosher salt, inside and out. Let stand 15 minutes. Rinse well under cold water. Pat dry with paper towel. Put chicken in a large pot and cover with cold water by 3 inches. Bring to boil. Impurities will rise to the top skim off and discard. Add the rest of the broth ingredients. Bring back to a boil, skim again, then reduce to a simmer. After simmering for 45 minutes (or until chicken is cooked) remove chicken from the pot. Take the meat off of the bone (save meat for another meal) and put bones back in pot and cook for 1 hour more. Strain the broth through a fine-mesh sieve lined with a cheesecloth. Cool in the refrigerator. When cool, the fat will rise to the top and solidify, making it easy to remove

For the Matzo Balls:
In a large mixing bowl combine all ingredients except the seltzer and mix well. Add seltzer and set the mixture aside, covered, in the refrigerator, for 1 hour. Fill a large-diameter pot ¾ full with water and bring to a simmer. With wet hands roll the matzo mixture into 1-ounce balls. Lower balls into water on a slotted spoon. Cook until the matzo balls are tender, 45 to 60 minutes (test with tooth pick or do what Eric Bromberg does and cut in half). The balls should be light and fluffy in the center. Let the matzo balls cool.

For the soup:
Bring the broth to a boil with the carrot rounds, the dill, and the matzo balls. Season to taste. The soup is ready to serve when the matzo balls are warm in the center.


No matter the season, soup is guaranteed to please. Whether you're looking for a simple starter, light lunch, or hearty dinner, we have soup recipes that will satisfy you and your family. While this collection is certainly filled with recipes our editors love, they're ultimately your picks! We combed through the archives and rounded up the 30 soup recipes that have been most popular with our readers.

It all starts with the French Onion Soup you see right here. The rich, savory base for this recipe is made with three pounds of sweet onions that cook low and slow in extra-virgin olive oil under they're super tender and caramelized. They then continue to cook in beef stock (homemade is preferable), plus fresh earthy herbs and a little bit of vermouth. The soup is ladled into individual ramekins and topped with thick slices of rustic bread and nutty grated Gruyère cheese the soup ramekins are broiled in the oven until the cheese is melted and bubbly on top. Even if you're not dining along the Seine, this ultra-indulgent soup is sure to warm your soul even on the coldest of days.

Other classic soup recipes that are consistently among our readers' favorites include our basic chicken soup, tomato soup (which we love to serve with a grilled cheese sandwich), minestrone, vegetable soup, and split pea soup.

The beauty of many of our soup recipes is that you can customize them based on what vegetables are in season. Add squash and zucchini during the summertime or root vegetables during winter, or adjust the recipes slightly based on what you already have on. Whatever you decide, just make sure these all-star soup recipes are on your radar the next time a craving for something incredibly comforting strikes.


For this ricotta ball soup recipe I add homemade chicken bone broth to a large soup pot then add small soup pasta, carrots, onions, fennel and sometimes chopped spinach or celery.

If you don’t have time to make homemade Chicken Bone broth we buy Organika Chicken Bone Broth from Amazon Canada.

It’s one of the best Keto organic chicken bone broth powders out there and we definitely use it when we are in a pinch.

Once the hot chicken bone broth comes to a boil and the pasta and vegetables are cooked I drop the ricotta balls in one by one.

You don’t need to add the small pasta if you don’t like you can easily eliminate it especially if you are on a keto diet.

The ricotta balls will sink to the bottom and as they cook will rise to the top and puff up almost doubling in size.


Ginger scallion chicken and dumplings

Hello, hi!! How are you all January-ing and coping with the Monday of Months/post-holiday slump/dry weather? Warning, I’m about to be the overly cheery person in the room but once I re-arranged my open shelves with all of my pink and purple kitchenware to be Valentine’s Day themed and also splurged on a tube of Kiehl’s coriander hand cream, I remembered how I’ve actually become kind of obsessed with January. I used to dread it soo much but that was back in college when it’d still be dark when I emerged from the practice room and then have to schlep around the streets in the dirty slush if I wanted to do anything social. These days, however, winter means Eggboy’s version of summer, which means we can go on more trips and stuff! It’s the most fun time of the year. And I want to tell you about our most recent adventure, our Great Midwest road trip!!

We drove from Grand Forks to the cute town of Red Wing, MN, to Chicago, to Kalamazoo, MI, and then up around the Upper Peninsula, through Wisconsin, on to Duluth, and then back home, by way of Bemidji, for pizza. We stuck to smaller roads and searched out historic and one-of-a-kind places that bursted with personality. It was delightful and tasty and we saw so many adorable cute towns that all felt like they came right out of a snow globe.

Here were some of the best places we went:

Red Wing, MN

St. James Hotel- A beautiful historic hotel in the little cute town of Red Wing. It was so beautiful that I didn’t even care that it was exactly the type of place that would be a little bit haunted. We’d seen it a bunch of times from when we’d pass by on the train from Grand Forks to Chicago but this was our first time inside and we loved it.

Hanisch Bakery- The coziest homiest bakery, with a killer sprinkle donut and orange slices as a side to their breakfast sandwiches. The donut had like a sprinkle crust. It was perfect.

St. Ignace, MI

Bentley’s Cafe- Ok, I don’t know whose idea it was to take a pasty tour of the U.P. in the dead of winter (oops, it was my idea…) but basically the first four stops on our tour were closed for the season and Eggboy and I got soooo hangry, I don’t think we’d ever been that hangry before. Finally we found Bentley’s and they had pasties! OMG they were amazing. Their crust was extra buttery and flaky and the veggie one had lots of cheese in it. I would eat this pasty again and again.

Marquette, MI

Landmark Inn- Another beautiful historic hotel! (We hit the beautiful historic hotel jackpot on this trip.)

Lawry’s Pasties- Amazing pasties!! The crust was way sturdier than the one at Bentley’s but in a really satisfying way.

Jean Kay’s Pasties- More amazing pasties!! Between Lawry’s and Jean Kay’s, these had a higher ratio of vegetables to meat, but I couldn’t choose a fave, they were both delicious.

Reinerio’s Sausage- Secret basement sausage. This was recommended to me by my instagram friend Britt and it was just a little bit out of our way, in the itsy bitsy unincorporated town of Pence, WI. The owner makes sausage in his basement and it’s so good! We came home with a cooler full of fresh salami, breakfast sausages, other sausages, and a giant chunk of Asiago.

Duluth’s Best Bread- This is new since we were last in Duluth (on our mini moon four years ago!) and I’m so glad we went. We bought a giant soft pretzel for the road and crusty loaves of flax seed bread and wild rice bread to take home that I have been toasting up in the morning to have with the Asiago from the secret sausage man.

Northern Waters Smokehouse- We ate here on our anniversary and it was the tastiest most casual anniversary there ever was. I ate a pastrami sandwich that had the perfect amount of mayo (aka a gigantic load of mayo).

Uncle Loui’s Cafe- A perfect diner. In my storyboard for the Duluth curling team Olympic gold medal movie, at least two important scenes take place here.

Dave’s Pizza- We finally went here after hearing about it for years! I’d been craving classic Midwest square cut cracker crust pizza (I know, I know, shame on me for talking smack on square cut pizza, I knowww, I’m terrible) and it was perfect. Finished it off with a spumoni.

Things I learned on this trip:

-Using a real paper map is wayyyy more fun than a cell phone map.

-Sometimes places that are the cutest and have the most personality and history (and that I end up loving the most) have lower star ratings on the internet than newer hipper places. So I’m learning not to put so much weight on star ratings on Yelp and stuff.

-I will never take another road trip without my Birdling Weekender. It’s set up like a clothing bento box, with different compartments that you can access quickly and easily. We stayed in a different place each night on our trip and I was not *once* stressed out about packing/unpacking/locating my underpants.

-I like my pasties with both gravy and spicy ketchup.

-Small cocoon-like bedrooms/hotel rooms rule. We stayed in two very large rooms and I barely slept those nights. The best sleep was in the smaller rooms.

-Ok, yes, I LOVE square cut cracker crust pizza.

-Duke Ellington’s Nutcracker is bananas!!

-Trips where you only bring sweatpants are the best trips.

In other news, I have to tell you about this miraculous recipe that I have been obsessing over since I first read it. It’s in Cynthia Chen McTernan’s book, A Common Table, which was a book that I was counting down the days to because I have been a fan of Cynthia and her delicious blog for years and years and years. She makes all of my favorite foods: mochi, steamed buns, potstickers, black sesame things, matcha things… and she makes them all look so darn beautiful! One time we shot a bacon and sweet corn ice cream sandwich blog post together and it was the best day ever. Cynthia is truly just as sweet and awesome IRL as she comes across on her blog and now in her book, I am definitely a good candidate for president of the Cynthia fan club. My copy of A Common Table is filled with bookmarks and dates scribbled into recipes that I’ve already made. We had her bulgogi on New Year’s Eve, mochi pancakes for the premiere of GMF season 2, and I’m planning to make like all of her sweets. I just love how her recipes tie in her heritage with her southern upbringing and beautiful stories, and they’re all so playful and fun too! I think it goes without saying that if you like good food and also fun, then you need her book.

Here is my favorite recipe from her book. I like it because its ingredients produce the 1 + 1 = 3 magic. You’ve seen the magic in Melissa Clark’s salt and pepper chicken recipe, it’s the thing that happens when a stunningly short list of simple ingredients produces a thing that explodes with flavor and awesomeness. After making Cynthia’s chicken and dumplings once, I had the recipe memorized. It’s ginger, scallions, and chicken. Just memorize that! Then you make chewy rustic dumplings which are like thick potsticker wrappers and, holy smokes, I could eat them all day. It’s nourishing and strikes a perfect balance between comforting and not too heavy. Eating it makes you feel like you’re curing ailments you didn’t even have. I’m so in wuv.

ginger scallion chicken and dumplings

ingredients

2 lbs chicken drumsticks or thighs, skin-on and bone-in

3 or 4 scallions, sliced into 1” pieces (about 1/2 c)

3 inches ginger root, peeled and sliced into 1/8” pieces (about 1/3 c)

1 c (130g) all-purpose flour, plus more as needed

chili garlic paste, for serving

make the soup: season the chicken generously with 1 teaspoon salt. place it in a medium pot with the scallions, ginger, and water. (if desired, tie the ginger in cheesecloth to make it easier to remove later.) bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce to medium-low, keeping the soup at a bare simmer.

make the dumpling dough: after the soup has been simmering for about 30 minutes, start the dumplings. in a medium bowl, whisk together the flour and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt. ladle about 6 tablespoons broth and trickle it into the bowl of flour while stirring the flour with chopsticks or a silicone spatula. a wet dish towel under the bowl may help keep it in place while you stir. after you’ve added all the broth, continue to stir until the flour mixture becomes pebbly and the water is evenly incorporated. make sure the dough is a comfortable temperature to touch, then use your hands to knead the dough until smooth and taut, 5 to 10 minutes. the dough should be fairly firm, not tacky, and should not stick to your hands or the bowl. if it does, add more flour, a tablespoon at a time, until the dough is firm. place in an airtight container or a Ziploc bag and allow to rest while the broth simmers for another 25 to 30 minutes (for a total of 1 hour altogether).

skim any scum off the top of the broth and remove the ginger, if you’d like. transfer the chicken to a plate or cutting board and use a fork to pull the meat from the bones. return the meat to the pot and let the soup continue to simmer gently while you make the dumplings.

form the dumplings: by now, the dumpling dough should be nice and pliable after its rest. the traditional method of preparing flat dumplings is to roll the dough out to a large rectangle, 1/4” or less in thickness, and then slice the rectangle into 1” x 2” strips. alternatively, you can form them the way noodles are torn for kimchi sujebi: pinch off a tablespoon of dough and pull it in half so that it forms 2 flat pieces. flatten the pieces to about 1/4” or less, if needed, but otherwise the pieces need not be uniform. roughly torn edges create a nice texture. repeat until the dough is gone.

bring the soup back to a lively simmer over medium heat, then drop the dumpling pieces into the pot. simmer until the dumplings float to the surface, 1 to 2 more minutes, then serve, with soy sauce and chili garlic paste on the side, if desired.


So who doesn’t love Chinese food? Dumplings, won tons, fried rice, general tsos chicken… all of it. Recently I’ve tried making some of my favorite take out items and these dumplings/won tons were a winner! I used the same recipe to make each and then pan fried some and boiled the rest for soup. It’s…

Soup season is well underway! It’s easy to make, it warms you up, it’s great for leftovers/lunch at work and can be a very healthy meal. Plus you can usually make a great soup with items left in your fridge and a can of beans or lentils. Pasta e fagioli is one of my favorites,…


Flash in the Pan

While dining at a Mexican restaurant in Albuquerque, I was shocked to eat something that reminded me of my mom's East Coast Jewish cooking. I had taken a chance on a bowl of meatball soup called albóndigas. It turned out to be a bowl of mildly aromatic broth with chunks of carrot, celery, zucchini and one large beef meatball. My first bite of that meatball, the albóndiga, was spongy, and its mellow, satisfying flavor reminded me unmistakably of Mom's matzo balls. Of course matzo balls don't contain meat. But part of their magic is a springy, fleshy quality.

The menu noted the lamb chop entrée is the owner's favorite dish, and when she stopped at my table, I asked her why. She explained that lamb chops remind her of the farm where she grew up in southern New Mexico. They raised a lot of animals, she added, but rarely ate the pigs. She speculated it's because her grandmother was Jewish.

Such conjecture of Jewish ancestry is common in the Southwest. Supposedly, a population of covert Jews settled in the area long ago. These Crypto-Jews trace their roots to late-1300s Spain, during a fierce wave of anti-Semitism. Thousands of Jews were murdered or expelled. Thousands more converted to Christianity, sometimes by force, but sometimes by choice as a means of escaping persecution. Many of these conversos continued to covertly practice Judaism and are thought to have migrated to the New World with Spanish colonists and settled along the border region between Texas and Nuevo León, Mexico. From there, they spread throughout the Southwest.

Such conjecture of Jewish ancestry is common in the Southwest. Supposedly, a population of covert Jews settled in the area long ago.

In old New Mexican cemeteries, graves with Stars of David carved into the headstones are inscribed with Jewish-sounding names. There are reports of slaughter practices that sound suspiciously Jewish, of grandparents who refused to work on Saturdays and who proclaimed their Jewishness from their deathbeds. Curiously, there are few examples of these practices being overtly passed along, as if being Jewish was a dangerous burden the Crypto-Jews didn't wish on their families. Or perhaps they didn't even know why they were following these rituals.

Does this mean that those fluffy albóndigas are actually crypto-matzo balls? Probably not. Albóndigas are thought to have originated as Berber or Arab dishes that made their way to Spain during the country&rsquos Muslim rule.

In Mexican albóndigas the starchy binder used to hold the meatballs together is usually rice or corn-based, not matzo meal. But that doesn't mean matzo can't be used.

I played around with various recipes for both albóndigas and matzo balls, including a matzo ball recipe incorporating leeks and potatoes, and I came up with the following recipe for &ldquocrypto-matzo balls.&rdquo

These are denser than typical matzo balls, thanks primarily to the meat, but they will nonetheless float in soup, like a matzo ball should. Thanks to their matzo meal, they are lighter than a typical meatball but meatier than a matzo ball.

The recipe uses pecans, in a nod to the original Crypto-Jewish community along the lower Rio Grande on the Tex-Mex border.

Crypto-Matzo Balls

1 lb meat (raw ground beef or lamb, or shredded cooked chicken)

3 cloves garlic, minced, pressed or crushed

2 cups unsalted chicken stock

4 tablespoons pecans, crushed

Add leeks to the stock in a saucepan, and simmer until the liquid is nearly gone. Meanwhile, steam the potatoes until soft. Purée potatoes, leeks and remaining stock in a blender.

In a bowl, combine the rest of the ingredients and potato leek purée. Shape them into balls. Drop them into soup. Simmer for 30 minutes, and serve. Remove uneaten crypto-matzo balls and store separately, so they don't get mushy.

For a more Southwest feel, add some red chile powder to the chicken soup. But please, don't tell my mom.


  • 5 cups matzo farfel
  • 5 eggs, beaten
  • ½ cup white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup kosher margarine, melted
  • 2 large apples - peeled, cored and shredded
  • 2 very ripe bananas, mashed
  • ½ cup ground walnuts, divided

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Generously grease a 9x13 baking dish.

Moisten the matzo farfel by placing in a large bowl, stirring in enough cold water to cover, and rinsing immediately in a colander set in the sink. Mix in beaten eggs, sugar, salt, and margarine until thoroughly combined, and lightly mix in the apples, bananas, and 1/4 cup of ground walnuts. Spoon the kugel into the prepared baking dish, and sprinkle with remaining 1/4 cup of ground walnuts.

Bake in the preheated oven until the kugel is browned and set in the center, about 1 hour. A toothpick inserted into the center should come out clean.


Watch the video: Manischewitz Matzo Balls (December 2021).