Big Weather's Big Recipe: Maggie's Matzo Ball Soup

Our ABC11 family recipe journey continues this week. We are wrapping up the Jewish holiday of Passover, so we are making a traditional Passover recipe: Matzo Ball Soup.

Maggie Green is a data journalist here at ABC11 and also Jewish and offered up her family's recipe, along with some of the symbolic meanings. So let's get to it!

Ingredients

1 pkg Streit's matzo ball mix (you can just buy matzo meal but they add some spices to the mix so it's honestly just easier. Manischewitz works too but Streit's is better).
2 eggs
1/4c oil
8oz chicken broth (low sodium is better)
Nutmeg
4-5 stalks celery
3-4 carrots
1 tsp of Oregano
1 tsp of Garlic powder
1/2 tsp of Thyme

1 tsp of Dill
Salt & Pepper
Parsley for garnish

Preparation
1. Crack eggs into medium bowl, add oil. Do not whip together, fold the egg into oil with a fork until combined.
2. Add matzo ball mix and 1 tsp nutmeg and continue to combine slowly with fork. Once everything is wet, cover bowl with a wet paper towel and put in the fridge for at least 20 min.
3. While matzo balls are chilling, chop celery and carrots and put aside. You can also add other veggies if you like--sometimes I put in mushrooms and onions too.
4. After 20 min, take out matzo mix and use your fingers to form little balls, about the size of a walnut, about 1 Tbs if you want to measure. You should get 10-12 matzo balls. Try not to have any cracks in the balls or they'll fall apart in the soup.
5. Bring chicken broth to boil on stove and add a 3 cups of water. Pot shouldn't be more than 2/3 full. Add spices to your liking, probably 1/2-1 tsp garlic, 1-2 tsp each of oregano, thyme, dill, pepper.

6. Add in the carrots and celery once boiling, bring back to a boil.
7. Roll matzo balls along the side of the pot into the broth, don't plop them in or they'll sink.
8. Cover and lower heat to low/medium low for 30 min.
9. Add salt/pepper to taste. Pour into bowls and garnish with parsley sprigs.

This was delicious, though my wife thought it was a little spicy so next time I will cut the pepper to a 1/2 tsp. Also it's usually served as an appetizer, but she said I could add chicken to make it a meal, so that's what I did. A+

Here's what Maggie had to say about the traditions... There's a lot of symbolism in the ingredients too: The egg (usually hard boiled or roasted for the Seder plate, but obviously not here), represents the temple sacrifices that used to be made for holidays. Since the destruction of the second temple in 72 AD, we don't make sacrifices anymore. It also represents the circle of life. The matzo is the bread we made when we fled Egypt that didn't have time to leaven. The Seder plate usually includes 3 pieces of matzo for the ceremony--the middle piece is broken in 2 and one half is put aside for the second half of the Seder. Usually, it will be hidden and the children at the table have to find it, then they can ask for money (or presents) in exchange for this piece of matzo called the Afikomen. The celery and/or parsley is the vegetable usually dipped in salt water as part of the Seder to represent not just the tears of the Israelite slaves, but also the tears of the Egyptians.

Thank you for sharing your traditions, Maggie. And the soup... khaval al hazman (Hebrew slang for fantastic)!

Also, if you have a great recipe that you want me to try, send me an email and I may feature it in this Big Recipe segment. Email Don.

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