Thursday, April 1, 2010

Veggie Matzo Ball Soup and Challah

For Wednesday's dinner, I decided to try a vegetarian version of Matzo Ball Soup and Challah. (A wonderful friend recently gave me a lesson in Challah. My husband and kids LOVE it, and it's become a regular staple in our home. I often make it on Fridays, and we have it as our afternoon snack with a smoothie. I was experimenting with dairy Challah, using milk and butter, but we're back to the non-dairy version that is equally delicious.) The soup recipe is from Moosewood Restaurant Daily Special. The soup was delicious; everyone in our family gave it two thumbs up. I think the secret is taking the time to make the Mock Chicken Stock, though I have no idea if it actually tastes like chicken stock- I just know it's flavorful and yummy. (I did this on Tuesday afternoon while I was making dinner for that night.)

Matzo Ball Soup

Matzo Balls
4 eggs, lightly beaten
3 Tbsp canola or other vegetable oil
2 Tbsp water
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 cup matzo meal (I used Whole Wheat matzo meal)

Soup Broth
3 Tbsp canola or other vegetable oil
2 cups chopped onions
2 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp dried dill
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
4 cups Mock Chicken Stock (recipe follows)
4 cups water

Matzo Ball Cooking Liquid
4 cups Mock Chicken Stock (recipe follows)
6 cups water

5 scallions, minced (I forgot to get these at the store)
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley (forgot this as well)
1 tsp dark sesame oil
1 - 3 tsp soy sauce, or to taste

Whisk together all of the matzo ball ingredients, adding the matzo meal last. Refrigerate the dough for at least 30 mins or overnight.

Warm the oil in a soup pot. Add the onions, garlic, salt, thyme, dill, and pepper. Cover and saute on medium-high heat, stirring frequently, until the onions are golden brown, 10 - 15 minutes. Add the stock and water and bring to a boil; then lower the heat and simmer for about 10 mins.

Bring the ingredients for the matzo ball cooking liquid to a simmer in a large pot. Roll the matzo dough into Tbsp-sized balls, and drop carefully into simmering broth using all the dough. Cover the pot and simmer for 35 - 40 mins, until balls are firm, tender, and heated through.

To serve, sprinkle some chopped scallions and parsley and a few drops of sesame oil and soy sauce in the bottom of individual soup bowls. Remove matzo bowls from their cooking liquid and place a few in each bowl. Ladle in the hot soup broth and serve immediately. (My husband got home late and just reheated his complete soup in the microwave- it was just as delicious.)

Mock Chicken Stock

14 cups water
7 cups chopped onions
4 cups chopped celery
4 cups peeled and chopped carrots
4 potatoes, scrubbed and chopped
2 heads of garlic, broken apart (no need to peel cloves)
5 bay leaves
1 1/2 tsp dried thyme
1 1/2 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 bunch of fresh parsley (I forgot the parsley)

(The veggies only need to be roughly chopped, no need to spend much time on them.)

Put the water in to a large stockpot on high heat. Add the vegetables to the pot, then stir in the garlic, bay leaves, thyme, turmeric, salt, and parsley. Bring to a boil and cook, uncovered, for 15 mins. Cover the pot, reduce heat to low, and simmer for 1 hour. Set aside to cool and then strain. The stock can be used right away, refrigerated for 4 days, or frozen for up to 6 months. This makes about 8 - 10 cups. (I used 8 cups for the matzo ball soup and still have enough stock left for another soup recipe.)

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