The Complete Idiot's Guide to: Matzo Ball Soup

Last week, we discussed my only love for Passover: brisket. OK, so maybe I lied, because I do have strong ties to matzo ball soup, which we serve by the gallon at my Passover Seders. It's the only form I can tolerate matzo in. In its most natural form, I am completely disgusted by it. A big, bland cracker wannabe is what it is. But somehow, matzo -- in its crushed-up, rolled-up, ball-like form -- added to homemade chicken soup is the second-best part of the entire Seder. Obviously, I salivate over the brisket the most. (Watching Charlton Heston be a badass is pretty cool too.) To make, blend together ¼ cup of vegetable oil with 4 eggs. Add in 1 cup of matzo meal (we are big Manischewitz fans) with 2 tsp of kosher salt and a dash of white pepper. Mix well. Add in ¼ cup of cold water and continue to mix thoroughly. Put in a covered container and chill for 4-6 hours. When ready to cook, boil a large pot of water and add 2-3 tablespoons of salt to the pot. To make the matzo balls, wet your hands with cold water, and scoop a tablespoon of the mixture. Form a rounded ball and carefully drop into the water. Continue with the rest of the mixture until done and simmer for 30-40 minutes. It will make about 12-15 matzo balls.

To make the chicken soup, put one chicken cut into pieces (two thighs, breasts, legs and wings) in a pot alongside 3-4 stalks of celery (cut into thirds), ½ pound of baby carrots (or 3-4 carrots cut into 2 inch chunks) and 6-8 mini onions (or one large onion cut into quarters). Cover all of it in water, bring to a boil, lower the heat, and simmer all of it covered for about two hours, until the chicken is tender but not falling apart. Remove the chicken from the pot and take a slotted spoon to remove the veggies. Take the chicken off the bone.

Cook one 12 oz bag of fine egg noodles by following the directions on the bag.

To serve, take two matzo balls, a tablespoon of pulled chicken, a tablespoon of noodles, and a few pieces of carrots, celery, and onion. Put in one large ladle of chicken soup. The recipe can be doubled for larger groups.

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