Passover is almost here. What would this traditional holiday be without a great matzoh ball soup? In my pre-vegan days, I would have ordered a pre-made soup from the local kosher deli (what a princess!). Now that I’ve evolved into somewhat of a decent vegan cook, I decided to try my hand at my own matzoh ball soup from scratch.
I wanted to give you a really great recipe, so I tried many different versions over the past week. The “hands-down” best recipe for vegan matzoh ball soup came from the wonderful cookbook Vegan With A Vengeance by Isa Chandra Moskowitz. Since I already posted about how to prepare a vegan seder plate, I feel that it is my obligation (and pleasure!) to give you this fabulous matzoh ball soup recipe too. And fabulous it is! Although the recipe is not difficult to make, it is time consuming. Therefore, I would suggest that you prepare the vegetable broth portion of this recipe a day or two in advance of your seder, and the matzoh ball mixture the night before. The final result will be well worth your efforts!
I started by making the rich vegetable broth with these ingredients (oops, I forgot to include the olive oil in this photo)…
I chopped my vegetables to about this size…
After I prepared the vegetable broth, which took about 2 hours (in total) to make, I started making the matzoh balls using these ingredients…
Preparation of the matzoh balls involved adding some wet ingredients to some dry ingredients, mixing in grated carrots and blending everything together to produce a nice mixture…
You must cover this matzoh mixture with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour and up to overnight before you can proceed to make the matzoh balls! This step cannot be skipped!
When you remove the cold matzoh mixture from the refrigerator, you may proceed to form the mixture into walnut size balls. I made mine a bit larger as you can see…
After the matzoh balls are cooked, you will see (after you lift the lid) that they float to the top of the pot…
After a few minutes, they will drop back down to the bottom of the pot…
The process is fun to watch. When you’re finished preparing the matzoh balls, you will place a few in a bowl and ladle some heated rich vegetable broth over them filling the bowl just halfway. You may garnish with some fresh dill or parsley and serve…
RICH VEGETABLE BROTH
Makes About 8 cups
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large onion, coarsely chopped (you may include skin)
2 large carrots, peeled and coarsely chopped
2 parsnips, peeled and coarsely chopped
3 cloves garlic, smashed
2 leeks, well rinsed and coarsely chopped
1 cup loosely packed fresh parsley
1 cup loosely packed fresh dill
12 cups water (Isa Chandra uses 9 cups of water)
1 teaspoon salt
In a large stock pot, heat the oil. Saute the onions for about 5 minutes on medium heat. Add all other ingredients and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and let simmer for 1 and 1/2 hours (ie. 90 minutes), uncovered.
Let the broth cool until it’s an okay temperature to handle. Strain into a large bowl through cheesecloth or a very fine-mesh strainer. Press the vegetables with a gentle but firm pressure to get all the moisture out.
This will keep in the fridge in a tightly sealed container for up to 3 days, or freeze for up to 3 months.
VEGAN MATZOH BALLS
Yields approximately 16-18 matzoh balls (depending on size)
1 1/2 cups matzoh meal
3/4 teaspoon salt, plus extra for the boiling water
3/4 teaspoon ground pepper
1 (12-ounce) package firm silken tofu (like Mori-nu)
8 1/2 cups or so Rich Vegetable Broth (recipe above)
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 carrot, peeled
A handful fresh dill, coarsely chopped
Fresh parsley for garnish
In a mixing bowl, combine the matzoh meal with the salt and pepper; set aside.
Crumble the tofu into a blender or food processor, add 1/2 cup of the vegetable broth, and puree until smooth. Add the oil and blend again.
Mix the tofu mixture with the matzoh meal, making sure that everything is moist. Grate half the carrot into the mixture and mix until it’s well distributed. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour and up to overnight. You can’t skip this step! It’s important in making sure that the matzoh balls will not fall apart when boiled.
When you are ready to form the balls, fill a large stockpot with enough water to fit all the matzoh balls with minimal touching. Salt the water generously, cover, and bring to a boil.
Set out a cutting board upon which to line up the formed matzoh balls, and cover it with parchment paper if you have any, to prevent sticking.
Remove the matzoh mixture from the fridge. Form into tightly packed, walnut-size balls and place on the prepared cutting board. When all the balls are prepared, drop carefully into the boiling water, one or two at a time, with a spatula or slotted spoon. Take your time and be careful not to plop one on top of another.
When all the balls are in the water, cover the pot, lower the heat to a low setting and DO NOT LIFT THE LID FOR FORTY MINUTES!!! When the 40 minutes are up, you can remove the lid. The matzoh balls will have floated to the top. If you wait a few minutes, they will drop back down to the bottom of the pot.
Now the matzoh balls are ready to be served. If you want them to be a little lighter, turn off the heat, cover the pot again, and let them sit in the water for another hour or so.
Prepare the remaining vegetable broth by placing it in a separate pot, grating the other half of the carrot into the broth, along with a healthy handful of fresh dill. Bring to a low boil, and when it’s just heated you’re ready to prepare the bowls.
With a slotted spoon, carefully remove the matzoh balls from their pot and place two or three into each bowl. Ladle the broth over the matzoh balls, so that they are covered only about halfway. You can garnish with some more fresh dill, or parsley.
If you are not serving the soup right away, you can refrigerate the matzoh balls overnight, and boil them when ready to prepare the soup.