Matzo Ball Mastery by Michelle Breier | San Diego Union Tribune

Review By Michelle Breier, April 9, 2014 | San Diego Union Tribune

Bobby Flay’s Throwdown Matzo Ball Soup incorporates fresh herbs plus roasted jalapeños.

Super soup for Passover Seder, or simply for soothing someone sick, starts with the broth

Bobby Flay’s Throwdown Matzo Ball Soup incorporates fresh herbs plus roasted jalapeños. — Eduardo Contreras / Food styling by Anita L. Arambula
Matzo ball soup is many things to many people: It’s “Jewish penicillin” for nursing a cold, a delicious routine for children on outings with grandparents to their favorite Jewish deli, and, every spring, the first substantial taste of the Passover meal.“Chicken soup was always served at festive occasions and holidays for a number of reasons,” says cookbook author Tina Wasserman, the leading food writer for the Union for Reform Judaism. “From one chicken, you could get lots of byproducts, and soup is one of them.”The Passover holiday — which begins this year at sundown Monday — commemorates the Jewish people’s escape from slavery in Egypt. It begins with a ritual meal called a Seder, which includes ceremonial foods, songs and prayers.

If your Seder is with particularly festive or faithful family and friends, then the arrival of the main meal can take an hour or more. That makes matzo ball soup, a typical first course, a real blessing for growling stomachs. Matzo ball soup generally is chicken broth with dumplings made from matzo meal, eggs, seasoning and some sort of fat, usually oil or schmaltz, rendered chicken fat.

The secret to great matzo ball soup is in the broth, experts say.

“Matzo balls are secondary to the broth,” says Elan Akin, whose parents founded San Diego’s landmark Jewish deli-restaurant D.Z. Akin’s. “If you don’t have a good broth, the balls are going to soak up something not too exciting.”  Read More