Matzah Balls with Green Onion and Dill
Even this Sephardi has to admit to loving a good matzah ball! Floaters, sinkers or in between…I have enjoyed them all. When I make my own, I go for that in-between texture with some density, but also lightness. And I add extra flavor to work in partnership with the soup that holds the matzah ball. My favorite is lots of green onions, dill and black pepper. I love the look of all the green bits and the flavor, being a fan of any and every type of onion. I always use dill in my chicken soup—or vegetarian version—so adding it to the matzah balls marries the flavors nicely. My Sephardi heritage comes through in my use of olive oil for the fat ingredient. It adds a little extra depth of flavor since using the schmaltz, rendered chicken fat of many of our childhoods, is no long considered a healthy option. The truth is that no matter how you make your matzah balls—even following the directions on the box of matzah meal as I did for years when I was younger—you will always find a grateful crowd to appreciate your efforts. (Note: You can leave out the green onions or the dill or both for more traditional matzah balls. If not using the onions, add the oil directly to the eggs and beat together.)
- 2 bunches (16-18) very slender green onions
- 4 tablespoons olive oil
- 4 eggs
- 3-4 tablespoons chopped dill
- 2 teaspoons salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper or to taste
- 1 cup matzah meal
- 4 tablespoons seltzer, soup stock or water
- Clean the green onions, trimming the roots and just the ends of the dark green tops, then slice finely. You will have a scant 2 cups. (If you can’t find slender green onions, slice thicker ones in half before slicing.) Heat the oil in a large sauté pan on medium low. When hot, add the green onions in one layer and cook slowly until softened, about 10 minutes. Stir occasionally and don’t allow the onions to brown. Set aside to cool completely.
- In a bowl, beat the eggs well with a fork. Add the chopped dill and cooled green onions, scraping the pan to get all of the flavorful oil as well. Mix to blend, then add 1 teaspoon salt and the pepper and mix well. Add the matzah meal and seltzer, stock or water. Mix just until well blended. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or even overnight. Don’t worry if the batter seems too runny. It will thicken as it sets.
- Bring to boil a very large pot of water with 1 teaspoon salt added or soup stock. Lightly oil or dampen hands with cold water. Gently roll into about 16 walnut-sized balls and drop into the boiling water or stock. Cover and cook at a gentle boil 30 to 40 minutes. As they cook, the balls will rise to the top and double in size.
- When cooked through, gently scoop out with a slotted spoon and either add directly to soup. The matzah balls can be added to prepared soup and frozen together; just defrost and reheat before serving. You can also freeze the balls in a single layer, not touching each other, on a lightly greased cookie sheet until hard, then put them into a container or freezer bag and store until needed. Partially defrost the matzah balls before gently adding to the soup and cooking together until both are heated through.
- Matzah Ball Tips:
- – Mix the batter as little as possible, just enough to blend the ingredients. Over-mixing will create create a denser, chewier result from the over-worked gluten.
- – The batter thickens as it rests in the fridge, so follow the recipe and don’t add more matzah meal just because you think the batter looks thin.
- – Put either a little oil on your hands or cold water so batter won’t stick as you shape the balls.
- – Walnut-sized balls are about right because they will double at least when cooked. You can make them bigger if you like. They might need to cook a bit longer to be done in the middle.
- – Cook balls in broth for more flavor, or add them to the soup and reheat together.