Shiksa Matzo Ball Soup

| September 13, 2006 | 7 Comments
  • 7 Comments

It’s that time of the month. The freezer is overflowing, and I’ve had it. Given that there are two post-roast chicken carcasses under the frozen mango and buffalo burgers, and to the left of the kaffir lime leaves, I’ve got what I need to deploy my famous three-step method for making space in the freezer:
1. Cook and eat half box of perogies. (I boiled them and then slathered them with onions sauteed in butter, then added parmesan, then sat down to watch Dr. Phil. Yum. I mean about the perogies, not Dr. Phil.).
2. Remove and drink half bottle of vodka. (No, Kim had nothing to do with this.)
3. Make my famous Shiksa Matzo Ball Soup.

And here are the steps to making Shiksa Matzo Ball Soup, aka Matzo Ball Soup a la Laslocky:

Step 1: Stock
Two chicken carcasses, carrots, a parsnip or two that had been hiding in the bottom of the vegetable drawer, an onion, some peppercorns, celery with leaves, bay leaf. Cover with water and simmer the hell out of it.

Now, before I get to the next part, let me tell you about my matzo ball soup history. For years, my dad has made it, and it was only when I was well into my twenties and decided to make it myself AND FOLLOW THE DIRECTIONS that I discovered that matzo balls are supposed to be soft. And fluffy. And really like a little slice of heaven. My dad is an impatient cook: the steak is always bloody, the eggs are always runny, and now, I know, the matzoh balls are always hard. Anyway, it was quite a revelation when I discovered (and later confirmed at a Jewish deli) that matzo balls are supposed to be like Barbie-sized down pillows, only round, not roughly the consistency of a chunk of parmesan cheese.

Anyway.

Step 2: Fry the bacon

Yep, you heard that right. Now usually I would dispense with that step because I would already have bacon fat on hand, in a tin next to the stove. I’m Hungarian, and that’s what we do, because bacon fat is love. But lately I’ve been a bad Hungarian and I don’t have a tin of bacon fat next to the stove. Needless to say, I’ve not had much love, either.

Once the bacon is fried, reserve the bacon for another occasion. Like Passover.

Or just eat it because it’s only four pieces.

Now you have a beautiful puddle of bacon fat — just about two tablespoons. But before you continue and give cardiac arrest to the nearest Jewish grandmother, let it cool.

Step 3: Make the matzo balls
The package directions are great, just replace the vegetable oil called for with bacon fat. Blend 2 T bacon fat, two lightly beaten eggs, half cup matzo meal, a little salt, and 2 T chicken stock.

Cover and place in the refrigerator for 15 minutes, and meanwhile bring a pot of water to a boil.

Make the matzo balls by rolling them in your palm — each one should be about one inch in diameter, so you should have a total of 8.

Cook them in the boiling water, covered, for 30-40 minutes. (Until they’re soft, Daddy, SOFT.)

Step 4: Combine balls and soup

Et voila. Matzo ball soup that increases your cholesterol and makes Jewish grandmas the world over roll over twice in their graves.

It’s that good!

P.S. In all fairness, I do have to give Papa Laslocky credit this recipe, even though he isn’t a shiksa. He still doesn’t cook the balls for long enough, but he did introduce the bacon fat idea, good Hungarian that he is.

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Category: Bay Area Bites Food + Drink, holidays and traditions, recipes

About the Author ()

Meghan Laslocky is a writer, editor, and producer who lives in San Francisco. She aspires to one day be a person who: Shops every week at the farmers' market and always has fresh romanescu on hand; eats only politically correct meat from cows that voted for Obama; never ever has to buy canned chicken stock because she always has oodles of it in a fabulously well-organized freezer. In the meantime, she shops at Trader Joe's in the off hours, heartily enjoys corn-fed beef that is likely campaigning for McCain, tries to feel better about herself by buying canned chicken stock that is labeled as organic or free range, and produces web sites for KQED, including videos like this about the hot 'n' heavy last dark hours of the kind of squid that become fried calamari. As she writes this bio, she is eating Dilettante chocolate covered bing cherries and drinking Cline Pinot Gris. Be advised: they do not "go." Her work has been published by Salon.com and the San Francisco Chronicle. She is a graduate of the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism, where she did not study with Michael Pollan, much as she likes him.
  • wendygee

    Oi, a shkandal!

  • Sean

    Huzzah — chicken carcass hoarders of the world unite!

  • Anita

    Your comment about saving the bacon for Passover reminds me of a quote from Matthew Amster-Burton’s lard story in the Seattle P-I:

    “…the holidays are coming up, and fresh leaf lard (or a pie made with it) makes a great present. Well, possibly not such a great Hanukkah present.” :D

    http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/pacificnw09102006/2003248134_pacificptaste10.html

  • crallspace

    Thanks for this post… I will FW it along to my wife, a wonderous chef, and the best woman in the world.

  • majajam

    Hi there,
    lovely post. I wanted to comment on the soft matzo ball idea. (I too am a shiksa, so the bacon fat sounds fine). It is not true that matzo balls have to be soft. There is a small yet vocal contingent of hard matzo ball lovers (I believe the recipe is Lituanian in origin). I would fall into this category, although I’m not Jewish so it doesn’t matter. Anyway, for the hard matzo balls (and maybe the soft ones?) what you do if you are Jewish, you seek out the schmaltz, that is, the chicken fat, to replace your awesome bacon fat idea. Maybe something else for the chicken carcasses to supply you with?

  • Stephanie J. Rosenbaum

    The first time I made matzoh ball soup for my girlfriend, she–being a good shiksa from Tulsa–said, “You know, these would be great with gravy!” After I picked myself up off the floor (from where I’d fallen down laughing), I told that I couldn’t do this (it’s in the Torah somewhere, I’m sure) but she was welcome to…and she did! Didn’t taste them myself, but she swore they were perfect vehicles for a nice milk gravy…

  • Anonymous

    To really make a jewish grandmother turn over in her grave, especially a kosher one who eschews pork, grate some cheese on top of the soup.