A Traditional Passover – Making Matzo Balls

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This year we’re having a Passover Seder in our home. We invited friends over for the meal and I’m going to cook a somewhat traditional Passover dinner. While I love to cook, I usually lean towards Italian or French recipes, not traditional Jewish food.

Passover food is a little tricky since matzo is deceptive.  It looks harmless and doesn’t taste like much, but it’s packed with carbohydrates and causes my blood sugar to spike higher than it would from a slice of white bread. I try to stay away from it as much as possible (which is not so hard since I don’t really like it). I’ll have a bite at the Seder and may have a little more for breakfast if my kids request Matzo Brei (which is basically scrambled eggs with pieces of matzo in it).

I’ve already let everyone know I won’t be serving chopped liver at the Seder, and I also think I’m skipping the Gefilte fish. There’s something very unappetizing about gray food.  I actually don’t mind Gefilte fish when it’s not out of a can or a jar, but preparing it seems like a lot of work for something that isn’t really all that good. I also have a hard time making a fish recipe that calls for sugar.

The one thing I’m not giving up is the traditional chicken soup with matzo balls (also known kniedels). I considered substituting the matzo balls with chicken balls (I’ve seen a few recipes for this) but it just doesn’t seem right and the kids (big and small) would be hugely disappointed.

Matzo ball soup is very easy to make.  The soup is just a rich chicken broth, and the basic traditional recipe for matzo balls contains only 4-5 ingredients and is very easy to make. It’s not entirely diabetic- friendly, but a Seder isn’t a Seder without it.  If you happen to be a vegetarian you can easily substitute the chicken soup with a rich vegetable broth.

Here is my recipe for Passover Chicken Soup with Matzo Balls:

Ingredients:

Soup

1 large 4-5 pound chicken, cut in to 8 pieces excess skin removed (you can reduce the fat in the soup by removing all of the fat).

3 carrots, peeled and thickly sliced

2 medium onions, quartered

2 large garlic cloves, peeled

1 parsnip, peeled

3 celery stalks, thickly sliced

1 leek, white part only

8 sprigs fresh thyme

8 sprigs fresh parsley with stems

4 sprigs dill

8 whole pepper corns

Salt

Matzo Balls

1 cup matzo meal

5 eggs

½ cup water (or seltzer)

½ cup olive oil

2 teaspoons salt

Preparation

Soup

Combine the soup ingredients in a large stock pot, cover with 10 cups of water, and bring to a boil. Lower the flame and simmer for 2 hours.

Remove the soup and allow to cool so it may be handled.

Remove the large pieces of chicken and set aside.  Strain the broth, discarding vegetables and seasonings. You can save the carrots and celery to serve in the soup.

Refrigerate for 8 hours or overnight. Skim fat from surface.

Optional: remove meat from the bones and serve in the soup.

Matzo Balls

Whisk the eggs in a large bowl. Add the oil, water, salt, and matzo meal.  Mix until even. Cover the bowl and refrigerate for half an hour.

Boil water in a large pot.

Take the mixture from the refrigerator and using wet hands, roll the mixture into small balls no larger than a ping pong ball (they will expand during cooking). Drop the balls into the boiling water one by one as you make them. Lower the flame and cook for a half hour.

Drain the water and set aside.

Before serving, heat matzo balls in chicken broth, then add to soup.

Serves: 6

Carbohydrates per serving: 24g

*Most of the Carbohydrate is in the Matzo Balls so the less you eat the better the BS.

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