Monday, April 14, 2014

Meatless Monday Passover Edition: Vegetarian Matzo Ball Soup

It has been years since I last made matzo balls, and even longer since I've had real New York matzo ball soup. Last week, when I realized Passover began today, I thought matzo ball soup might make a good post for the blog. And then I found this vegetarian recipe and realized it must have been meant to be. Meatless Monday matzo balls for the start of Passover.

This family recipe is from author Jonathan Safran Foer, and he and his grandmother shared it in a video with Martha. No matter how, or if, you celebrate Pesach, go ahead and try the soup. There really is nothing better than a pot of soup simmering away on the stove. You can even get a head start on the Four Cups and have a glass. Alright, you really shouldn't get a head start, but you can have a glass of wine while waiting for things to simmer and chill and boil. Just make sure it's Manischewitz!
I love recipes that require chopping and mincing. Just standing at the counter, vegetables already peeled and prepped, using the big cutting board, arranging things in piles. Heaven on earth.

Into the oil the veggies go! I put most of the vegetables back in the soup, or ate them before they went back in the soup. I bet you could purée the really mushy ones, or even purée them and thin them out with veg stock or water for an entirely different soup. Two soups out of one! 

I need to replenish my bay leaves, but the thyme is fresh out of the garden!

Simmering away. After 45 minutes I removed the vegetables with a spider before the soup was poured through a sieve and separated from the solids.

Making the matzo balls should have been the first thing posted, since you want them to chill while you make the soup, but I actually made the soup the day before. 

Eating chametz, or food made with leavened grain, is forbidden during Passover as a remembrance of the Israelites escape from Egypt. They fled from Pharoah in such haste that their bread dough didn't have time to rise.

Boiling away. I didn't know, until reading this recipe, that you can freeze matzo balls. You just do everything up to the point of dropping them in the water, put them on a waxed paper lined cookie sheet to freeze in the freezer until solid, and then into containers they go. Much like freezing berries.

Seasoned with salt and pepper, and the dill thrown in at the end, the soup is fresh and tasty. The matzo balls are the perfect comfort food for Passover, or when the temperature is dropping and snow is on the way. Yes, that, too, is happening on this first night of Passover. At least these hyacinths I picked yesterday are still around to remind me that it IS Spring.

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