Although I love tweaking traditional recipes, especially around Passover, (hello White Wine Braised Chicken or Manischewitz Ice Cream) there are some foods I never thought I’d touch. Such as my Bubbe’s matzah ball soup.
The rich homemade broth and with light and fluffy matzo balls and rounds of carrots, celery and my favorite parsnips. Its magically powers are unparalleled. Matzah ball soup has the ability to cure most ailments, bad days, and even my gentile friends request it all year long.
But Passover food can be heavy. Potato kugel, chopped liver, flourless chocolate cake. I love it all, but sometimes it just doesn’t love me! The lack of greens and abundance of browns is apparent. This green soup cures that. What’s greatabout it is that you can pretty much throw in any greens you have in your fridge: broccoli, kale, Swiss chard. Throw it in there! It’s vegetarian friendly, and can be made ahead of time. In fact, the flavors just intensify as the days go on. Make sure to store the matzah balls separately, unless you want green balls. Which isn’t totally a bad thing.
For matzah balls:
½ cup vegetable stock
1 cup matzah meal
¼ cup grated onion
2 Tbsp olive oil
¼ tsp salt
¼ tsp pepper
4 Tbsp butter (can use margarine, but butter preferred)
1 medium white onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium Russet potato (about 1 pound), washed peeled and small diced
½ bunch asparagus tops and stems, chopped
1 cup spinach, rough chopped
1 cup arugula
¼ bunch parsley, chopped
4 cups vegetable broth
Juice from ½ lemon
1 tsp ground cumin
Kosher salt and fresh cracked black pepper to taste
To make matzah balls, separate the egg whites from the egg yolks. In a large bowl, whisk together egg yolks, stock, matzah meal, onion, olive oil, salt and pepper. Do not over mix, this leads to dense balls. Then a separate bowl, beat the egg whites with a hand or stand mixer until you have stiff peaks. Fold the egg whites into the matzah mixture until just combined. Refrigerate for 30 minutes to an hour.
When ready to make soup, heat a large pot of water to a simmer. Shape the matzah mixture into 12-15 1-inch balls. Place balls into water and simmer for 30 minutes or until matzah balls are cooked. Check doneness by cutting one ball in half. The color should be uniform all the way through.
In a large heavy-bottomed pot or Dutch oven melt butter over medium heat. Add onions and cook for 7-8 minutes until onion is cooked though and translucent. If onion starts to brown, turn heat down. Then add garlic and cook for one more minute.
Then add the potatoes, asparagus, spinach, arugula, parsley and broth and turn heat back up to medium. Simmer covered for about 10-15 minutes until asparagus and potatoes are tender. Don’t overcook or your vegetables will turn pea green.
Turn off heat, and blend soup in a blender or with an immersion blender. Add additional broth if your soup is very thick.
Season with lemon juice, cumin, salt and pepper to taste. Serve with matzah balls.