Shiksa Style Matzoh Ball Soup

My husband, who is Jewish, loves his mom’s matzo ball soup.  I’ve learned to never try and replicate someone’s childhood favorites (that’s a recipe for disappointment!), but instead to create my own, delicious version.  I started with what I knew…a chicken soup base…and did my best to make light and airy matzo balls.  After a few tries that resulted in dense, doughy balls, I arrived at this recipe which uses seltzer to keep the batter lighter.  Much to the joy and delight of my husband, making this soup has become somewhat of a Passover tradition for us (really the only Passover tradition we observe!).  I’ve affectionately named this recipe “Shiksa-Style Matzo Ball Soup” since it’s my take on the classic.  I hope you enjoy it as much as we do!  Happy Passover!

Shiksa-Style Matzo Ball Soup
Yield:  6 servings
Time:  30 minutes prep, 60 minutes total (plus chilling)

For the matzo balls:
3 eggs, beaten
¼ cup canola oil
½ cup seltzer (unflavored)
1½ tsp. salt
2 tbsp. freshly minced parsley
2 tbsp. freshly minced dill
7/8 cup matzo meal

For the soup:
5 carrots, sliced into ½-inch thick “coins”
6 celery stalks, diced
2 large yellow or white onions, diced
1 shallot, minced
1 garlic clove, minced
¼ tsp. ground black pepper
1 cup fresh parsley, coarsely chopped (reserve ¼ cup for garnish)
¾ cup fresh dill, coarsely chopped (reserve ¼ cup for garnish)
8-10 cups chicken stock

  1. Prepare the matzo balls:  In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs, oil, seltzer, and salt.  Stir in the parsley, dill, and matzoh meal.  Mix until fully combined.  Refrigerate for 2+ hours (overnight is fine) until the batter is firm and easier to handle.
  2. Place the carrots, celery, onions, shallot, garlic, and black pepper in a medium stockpot.  Pour in about 2 tbsp. of the chicken stock and cook over medium heat until the vegetables soften, about 8 minutes.  Add the rest of the chicken stock and bring to a boil over medium-high heat.
  3. Meanwhile, form 1-inch or 1½-inch balls from the matzo dough.  Once all of the balls are formed, slide the matzo balls into the simmer stock using a large spoon.  Add the parsley and dill (reserving a bit for garnish), and cover.  Continue simmering over medium heat for about 25 minutes, until the matzo balls are fully cooked.  (To test if the matzo balls are done, remove one ball from the broth and slice it in half.  If the center is dark in color, it needs to be cooked longer.  They should be light throughout when fully cooked.)
  4. Garnish with reserved fresh parsley and dill.

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