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Matzoh Ball Soup with Sabor Mexicano

*Adapted from Wolfgang Puck recipe and spiced up with ideas from June’s, in Austin, that makes incredible Matzoh Ball soup but the portion is so big it could feed a family of four.

This soup is logistically challenging and has numerous steps.

For the stock:

6 whole chickens

12 onions, quartered, skin on

8 carrots, chopped in chunks

8 celery ribs, chopped in chunks

10 1” pieces of ginger, smashed

5 heads garlic, cut in half like the earth through by the equator

1/2  cup black peppercorns

12 bay leaves

About 20 quarts water

Put ingredients in pot, bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook low and slow for two hours.  Remove chickens with tongs to a sheet tray, reserving and pouring all the juice that comes off back into the broth.  Shred most but not all of the chicken off the bones.  Return bones, skin, and still-clinging meat back to the pot and continue simmering low and slow for at least four hours more, preferably all day long or overnight.  Strain carefully and reserve for cooking matzoh and making broth.

For the Matzoh Balls: (this makes enough for 80 balls)

14 eggs

½ cup very finely chopped cilantro

1 ½ tsp chopped thyme

1 tsp cayenne

4 tsp salt

1 tsp pepper

1 cup clarified butter (melted butter that has the white foam skimmed off with a spoon) 

4 cups Matzoh Meal

1/2 tsp baking powder

2 cup club soda (has to be club soda, not seltzer)

Whisk the eggs in a large bowl.  Then add cilantro, thyme, cayenne, salt, pepper.  Whisk.  Then add clarified butter, Matzoh Meal, baking powder.  Then add in the club soda. Whisk until combined.  Cover well with plastic (or it gets a funky skin) and then put in fridge for half an hour. 

Form 1”  to 1 ½” balls (they will double in size when cooked—the biggest mistake we made before was making balls that turned out like softballs when they were cooked).  Think walnut sized

Heat 5 quarts of your stock from above to a full boil, (they cook way better in a shallow pan), and carefully drop in just one ball to test your dough.  If they fall apart, you may need more matzoh. Then add 10 to 20 balls at a time. Only cover about half the cooking area at a time.  The soup will cool when you drop the balls in, so let it come back up to a simmer and continue to simmer them for 35-40 minutes, until the balls are fluffly and floaty.  Remove to sheet tray lined with towel. Continue cooking in batches until all balls are cooked. Reserve this cooking liquid for reheating the balls to order.

If serving at a later time, Cover the cooked matzo balls so they do not form a skin

For assembling the final soup broth

12 quarts stock from above

4 onions, diced

Reserved shredded chicken from above

8 jalapenos, sliced

6 lemons, cut in half

¼ cup salt or to taste

Heat broth in a pot to a boil, then add diced onion and simmer until beginning to soften, about twenty minutes.  Then add jalapenos, lemons, reserved chicken and simmer ten minutes.  Remove from heat, squeeze juice from lemons and remove lemons.

How to plate the soup

Keep a pot of stock on a simmer in the back. Put two balls for a bowl, or one ball for a cup into the simmering stock until warmed through.  Then place in bowl or cup and serve. 

Garnish with fresh rough chopped cilantro.