If you're looking for a twist on tradition, try this recipe from Israeli celebrity chef-restaurateur Israel Aharoni. A few caveats: Make sure the stuffed matzoh balls are lightly browned on all sides before transferring them to the chicken broth; that will help keep the balls from falling apart in the soup. Close the matzoh ball mixture around the chicken liver completely, to avoid any breaks. And don't worry if the balls are not completely round. They will float, and they will taste great.
Empire brand chicken schmaltz (rendered fat) is usually available in the frozen kosher section of large grocery stores. For a shortcut, use firm, prepared chopped chicken liver from your favorite delicatessen.
Make Ahead: The matzoh ball mixture needs to rest in the refrigerator for 1 hour. The chopped liver mixture can be assembled and refrigerated for up to 5 days. The matzoh balls can be refrigerated, separate from the broth, in an airtight container for up to 1 day. Reheat in the broth over low heat.
Servings: 5 - 7
Yield: Makes 10 to 14 matzoh balls
- 1 1/2 cups plain matzoh meal, preferably Streit's (may substitute about 4 matzohs, finely ground in a food processor)
- 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
- Leaves from 1/3 bunch flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped (1/4 cup)
- 3 tablespoons chicken schmaltz, liquefied (may substitute vegetable oil; see headnote)
- Kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1 cup water or club soda, or more as needed
- 1 medium onion, chopped (1 cup)
- 4 ounces fresh chicken livers, trimmed of sinew and excess fat, then rinsed
- 10 cups low-sodium chicken broth, preferably homemade (see related recipe)
Combine the matzoh meal, eggs, parsley, 1 tablespoon of the schmaltz and salt and pepper to taste in a medium bowl; mix well, then add the water or club soda and stir to incorporate. The mixture should be like a soft, coarse dough. Add water as needed. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour.
Meanwhile, make the chopped liver: Melt a tablespoon of the schmaltz in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and cook for 6 to 8 minutes, until softened. Add the chicken livers and cook for 5 to 7 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the livers are cooked through. Transfer to the bowl of a food processor; let cool slightly, then pulse a few times to form a coarse mixture. Season lightly with salt and pepper.
Heat the chicken broth in a large pot over medium-high heat until it almost comes to a boil.
Heat the remaining tablespoon of schmaltz in a medium skillet over medium heat.
Roll about 2 tablespoons of the matzoh ball mixture in your hands to form a ball. Use a finger to poke a hole in the center; fill with about a teaspoon of the chopped liver mixture. Close the matzoh ball mixture around it, sealing the hole and re-forming a ball. When you have made about 6 to 8 of them, place them in the skillet and cook for a few minutes, until lightly browned on all sides, using a fork to gently turn them as needed.
Transfer to the barely bubbling broth and cook for about 12 minutes. Transfer to individual bowls and serve with the broth; or transfer to a container, cool to room temperature, then cover and refrigerate for up to 1 day.
Adapted from "The Foods of Israel Today," by Joan Nathan (Knopf, 2001).
Tested by Bonnie S. Benwick.
E-mail questions to the Food Section at email@example.com.