These are Southwestern-style and low-fat, from Maryland cooking teacher Jill Sullivan. Unless you're having an entire Southwestern-themed Seder, this soup might be best served as a main course during the rest of Passover.
Make Ahead: The matzoh ball mixture needs to be refrigerated for at least 3 hours and up to 1 day in advance. The broth can be refrigerated up to 3 days in advance.
Yield: Makes about 10 matzoh balls and 15 cups broth
- For the matzoh balls
- 2 ounces dried shiitake mushrooms (may substitute dried portobello mushrooms)
- 2 to 3 cups very hot water
- 1/3 cup vegetable oil
- 1 jalapeño pepper, minced (with seeds, if desired)
- 1 cup liquid egg substitute, such as Egg Beaters (may substitute 2 large eggs plus 2 large egg whites)
- 1/2 small bunch chives, snipped (2 tablespoons), plus chives for garnish
- Leaves from 1 stem flat-leaf parsley, minced (1 tablespoon)
- Leaves from a few stems tarragon, minced (1 1/2 tablespoons)
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 1/2 teaspoon cracked black pepper
- 1 cup plain matzoh meal, preferably Streit's (may substitute 3 matzohs, ground in a food processor)
- For the broth
- One 3- to 4-pound chicken, skin removed
- 2 large onion, preferably sweet, such as Vidalia, cut into quarters
- 1 to 3 jalapeño peppers, finely chopped (with seeds, if desired)
- 3 large carrots, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
- 1 bunch cilantro, coarsely chopped
- 3 medium cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
- Kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 10 cups water, plus more as needed
For the matzoh balls: Place the mushrooms in a medium bowl and add enough of the very hot water to cover. Let soak for 30 minutes, then drain the mushrooms and reserve the water. Coarsely chop half of the mushrooms and cut the rest into thin slices, discarding the tough stems.
Combine the oil, 1/4 cup of the mushroom water, the chopped shiitakes, chopped jalapeño pepper, egg substitute, the 2 tablespoons of chives, the parsley, tarragon, salt and pepper in a large bowl. Add the matzoh meal and mix well to incorporate. Cover, and refrigerate for 3 hours.
Meanwhile, make the broth: Combine the chicken, onions, jalapeño peppers (to taste), carrots, cilantro, garlic, salt and pepper to taste, and the water (which should be enough to cover the chicken). Bring almost to a boil over medium-high heat, then cover and reduce the heat to medium; cook for 1 1/2 to 2 hours.
Reserve the cooked chicken meat for another use (it tastes great); discard the bones and vegetables. Use a fine-mesh strainer to strain the soup and return it to the same pot. Or cool, cover and refrigerate; discard any congealed fat that forms on the top.
To assemble: Heat the broth over medium heat, adding enough water to total 14 cups.
Moisten your hands with water. Shape the matzoh ball mixture into 8 to 10 balls, taking care to handle them as little as possible.
Add them to the heated broth; cover and reduce the heat to medium-low. Cook for about 40 minutes or until the matzoh balls are tender and cooked through. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the matzoh balls to a large plate.
Add the sliced mushrooms and the remainder of the mushroom water to the broth. Increase the heat to medium-high and bring just to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium-low and cook for a few minutes.
Divide the broth among individual bowls. Portion the matzoh balls among servings; season each serving with salt and pepper to taste.
Garnish with the chives. Serve hot.
Adapted from a recipe in Sheilah Kaufman's "Simply Irresistible" (G&R, 2003).
Tested by Bonnie S. Benwick.
Email questions to the Food Section at firstname.lastname@example.org.