It's a bit difficult to get into the Hanukkah spirit when your neck of the woods has been suddenly transformed into a frigid arctic hellscape. And if you're anything like Rickey, you've waited until the last possible moment to do all your holiday shopping and spent a large chunk of the brutally snowy weekend schlepping to malls. Oh joy. But on the bright side, at least no one can blame Rickey for the failing economy--he certainly did his part. (Did you?)
Anyhow, in hopes of distracting our readers from the worries of the wintery world we've decided to share a bit of culinary nourishment with you, something to draw you up from the depths of the flu season and warm your cold cold heart and unfreeze your credit assets. That something is Rickey's most excellent matzo ball soup recipe. So forget controlling the media and Hollywood and all the world's financial institutions--that's child's play. No, Rickey wants to seize control of the inner workings of your very kitchen as well. For this concoction, you will need the following items:
For the Broth:
4 1/2 pounds cooked rotisserie chicken pieces
3 celery ribs, cut into large chunks
3 carrots, cut into large chunks
2 parsnips, cut into large chunks (are we noticing a trend here?)
2 onions, quartered
1 head garlic, cut horizontally in half
3 bay leaves
1 tablespoon black peppercorns
1 tablespoon Kosher salt
4 quarts cold water
For the Balls:
1/2 cup matzo meal (or fresh ground matzos if you're feeling ambitious)
2 eggs, beaten
2 tablespoons chicken fat or vegetable oil1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
2 tablespoons seltzer (it makes the balls fluffier)
For the matzo balls, mix all the above mentioned matzo ball ingredients in a bowl. Cover and place in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.Bring a few quarts of well-salted water to a brisk boil in a medium sized pot. Reduce the flame. You need wet hands for this next part, so if your paws aren't damp and sweaty by nature, run your hands under the sink before proceeding. Form the matzo balls by dropping spoonfuls of matzo ball batter approximately 1-inch in diameter into the palm of your wet hands and rolling them loosely into balls. Gently drop them into the simmering salt water one at a time as not to harm the structural integrity of the matzo balls.
Cover the pot and cook them for 30 to 40 minutes. The resulting matzo balls should expand and bob about on the surface, like delicious Hebrew apples. About ten minutes before the matzo balls are ready, bring the prepared chicken stock to a simmer with some sliced carrot in it. Ladle some soup and a couple of matzo balls into each bowl and top 'em with a couple snips of dill.
A brief note: Jewish cuisine is not known for it's good looks (it's plate appeal, if you will), but the rule of thumb is that the more alien it looks, the better it tastes. Ever try kugel? Looks like playdough but damn if that isn't some seriously tasty eats when prepared properly. When you're all finished cooking, consume the soup post-haste. We don't mean to make dubious medicinal claims, but there's a good chance that this stuff is capable of regenerating limbs. Enjoy it in good health, and Happy Hanukkah everyone.
[posted at Humor Blogs]