Leek and Ginger Matzo Balls in Lemongrass Consommé

"I feel that I have done everything, absolutely everything wrong, but perhaps something nice will happen anyway." —Jane Bowles

Thank you, Ms. Bowles, author of the lesser known classic Two Serious Ladies for summing up my approach to cooking so succinctly. And thank you to my former professor for sharing the quote in the first place. As you can all see, it's a real gem.

This week, the something nice that I was hoping would happen was some Passover-appropriate matzo ball soup. This version from this month's Bon Appetit with the lemongrass broth looked especially appropriate since Los Angeles has been experiencing some springtime weather that might be described as summerish.

Photograph by Patricia Heal

Bon Appetempt's version:
(Matt usually does the final photo and is supremely embarrassed by this one. So the balls are out of the broth? Sheesh. At least I got the chives in the spoon.)

Hey now, so whaddya say we get started by buying more chicken than you've ever even thought to buy in your entire life? Two whole, four pound, broken-down chickens went into this broth. And just when I thought I was getting to the point where I had a pretty sweet collection of pots and pans, this recipe comes in and proves that I am still apparently lacking. Our biggest pot didn't come close to holding all the veggies, chicken and 18 cups of water called for. But since we were going to boil the broth down to 8 cups anyway, I thought it would still be OK. (See above quote.)
Also, multiple grocery-store trips still left me without lemongrass. We added cilantro thinking that it, combined with the ginger and lemon, would still give us a nice refreshing if not lemongrass-like taste to the broth. (Again, see above quote.)

Enter schmaltz and our homemade schmaltz rink. Buying all that chicken, cooking it, and pulling off all the meat from the bones (to save for other purposes as this recipe doesn't call for it) to make the homemade broth is, yes, a bit labor intensive, however, how else are you going to ensure quality chicken fat? Alsoo, for some reason, it just seems wrong to purchase chicken fat, doesn't it?
Clearly, the little lemur was a bit freaked by the tiny horse who also showed up on the rink to do some schmaltz-skating.
I assumed that after the broth-making, the rest of the soup would come together in no time. Because of this assumption, Matt and I ate dinner around 10:30pm tonight. I didn't read the recipe all the way through, which clearly states that the raw matzos need to chill in the fridge for at least four hours. Why? I don't know. And then, they need to simmer in hot water for another hour and ten minutes. So, word to the wise, make your matzo ball mix in the morning.
Pulling off the lid of the pan of those simmering, fluffy, plumped-up matzo balls an hour and ten minutes later is well worth the wait. The apartment smelled ultra cozy. And the soup was great--very much like the classic matzo ball soup with a little bit more tang from the subtle hints of lemon juice and ginger. I'm really curious about how it would've tasted if only I could have procured the lemongrass. But I guess there's always next time?
Looks like some of that chicken made its way back into the recipe anyway... Happy Passover!! Next year in Israel!


Matthew said...

That was one mean bowl-o-ball. Seriously, best schmaltzo ball soup I've ever had. Not crazy about the 10:30 dinner OR the "our version" picture, but the soup is crazy good.

Brock said...

i would like to reserve the homemade schmaltz rink for a birthday party. whom do i contact?

meghan said...

Happy Passover! I used an old classic recipe for tonight's matzo ball soup, but this one looks like a nice subtle twist. Will try out next time!

Jessica said...

Holy matzo balls! This looks awesome. How was the lemon-y broth? Sounds interesting. I will definitely try this recipe and let ya know how it works out.

- Jess

Mary Anne said...


Mary Anne said...
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Amelia Morris said...

@anonymous How very embarrassing! thanks for letting me know!