Sunday, December 5, 2010

Matzo ball soup (p. 126) and Potato pancakes (p. 298)

Even though I'm not Jewish, I thought Hanukkah would be the perfect time to try my hand at Matzo ball soup (p. 126). Happy Hanukkah everybody!

Disclaimer: I have never eaten matzo or matzo balls and I had no idea how the recipe would turn out or how accurate it would be.

I beat eggs and salt for a minute:

I added dill, chives, and soda water (I used seltzer water--I'm not sure if that's right or wrong). I folded in matzo meal, black pepper, a bit of curry, and a pinch of ginger:

I covered the bowl and refrigerated it for a few hours, then formed balls of the mixture and dropped them into boiling water, cooking them for a half hour:

Eventually the matzo balls floated:

And I drained them.

I heated up some poultry stock, added a little salt and pepper, and popped the matzo balls in:

How was it? It's a hard one to judge. Matzo balls are one of the strangest things that I've ever eaten. They are like meatballs that don't contain any meat and are sort of spongy. The first bite, I thought "Man, this is really strange, I don't like it". The next bite, I liked it better. By the third bite, I thought they were pretty good. I ended up eating two bowls of the salt--I particularly liked all the dill and pepper. I can't judge it well, though, because I have never had matzo ball soup before. I'm really glad I used homemade stock, since it was such a major player in the dish.

I looked for a latkes recipe in TJOC and the closest I got was Potato pancakes (p. 298) which I think are essentially the same thing.

I learned my lesson with the hash browns that turned black due to air exposure, so I decided to get my mise en place all set up before I started grating the potatoes. I combined eggs, flour, a bit of grated onion, and some salt:

I then quickly grated two cups of potatoes and combined them with the egg mixture (I figured that would stop the potatoes from getting overly oxidized):

I fried them in vegetable oil (a quarter inch of butter seemed delicious but like a LOT of butter). I waited until one side was browned and then flipped. They were really wet, so I hoped they would still work:

Eventually they were done (and were plenty greasy):

I ate them with some sour cream and they were DELICIOUS. Honestly, this is going in to the best of TJOC pile too. They were crispy and moist and perfect. In fact, simply writing this blog post makes me hungry.

So, more knowledgeable TJOTJOC readers, do my results seem about right?

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  1. I've never had Matzo either and wondered what it was like. Sometimes I think that's the best way to try stuff, with no preconceived notions/expectations.
    And the latkes, yum. Of course I've never met a fried potato that I didn't like.

  2. I know it's an old post, but matzo-balls never go out of style. My comment is actually for the latkes. When we make them the mixture is about 1/4 onion, the rest potato. To this is added egg, a bit of salt, and a teaspoon of baking powder. The key step is to squeeze a handful of the mixture to dry it out before flattening the pancake. This will allow them to cook faster and be less greasy. I use the leftover liquid as a soup ingredient.


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