Thursday, November 17, 2011
COCO'S PRESBO MATZO BALL SOUP!
Us country folk have a saying. It goes like this: "I'm hungry." So when the call comes in, you better work. And what better to make in these encroaching chilly months than a good ol' homemade soup? And considering it's almost Hanukkah, why not make matzo ball soup? Because you're not Jewsh? Neither am I! But I happen to be very close to some Jewshes here in Nashville, who miss they mamas and need this classic homey fare. So please allow me to introduce myself...
I was raised in central Florida (you could find me digging holes or climbing trees) and western North Carolina (same thing) but my parents weren't big on cooking. They worked, damnit! And my mom came from such '50s recipe notecards such as "Grandma Gladys' Yeast Biscuits" and "Grandma Max's Persimmon Pudding". I once saw her and my Aunt Jean Ann get into a very heated argument about just how to make these things; they'd both been left separate recipe cards! IT WAS LIKE A SOAP OPERA!!!
My sisters and I, however, are recipe-be-damned culinary adventurers, and for those of you who take offense to my Presbo/southernization of this classic Jewish soup: deal. We southerners make do with what we've got. And we add butter. What.*
My off-the-cuff and potentially delicious recipe is based on what I remember Jem's mom making one time, New York delis, and what's in my fridge at the moment. Feel free to get creative. Lord knows I do.
COCO'S PRESBO MATZO BALL SOUP
FOR THE MATZO BALLS (no egg as binder)
2-3 cups of matzo meal
1/4 cup tipo 00 flour (no, not really Jewishly appropriate, but seemingly effective)
1/2 cup vegan sour cream 3 cups hot water (as needed)
2 tablespoons ground mustard seed
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 tablespoon garlic powder
Mix ingredients in a large mixing bowl using a wooden spoon, until you achieve a thick (not slippy goopy) consistency. It should be sticky, but not dry. Add more warm water if it's too dry; a bit more matzo meal if it's too wet.
Start to roll the balls in your hands (haha) choosing whatever size works best for you (I like a bit larger than golf balls, or your general sleeping Pokemon) and place them on a plate. You can use oil to keep your hands from sticking to the matzo batter, or not. Up to you.
Cover plate with plastic wrap and let rest in the fridge for however long you can. An hour is fine.
FOR THE BROTH
1 large yellow onion, thinly sliced
4 big ol' stalks of celery, chopped
3 big ol' carrots, chopped
6 garlic cloves, sliced
1/2 a cabbage, chopped
Big handful of kale
Sliced green onions (optional)
dill (fresh or dried, you know dill, go crazy if you want)
1 veggie bouillon cube, dissolved in a cup of hot water
Douse (I mean DOUSE) the bottom of a stock pot with olive oil and bring up to medium heat. Chuck in the sliced onions and a bit of salt until they begin to break down (emotionally) then add the carrots and celery. Take your time; let the veggies become one!
Once the veggies have cooked down and become somewhat translucent, add the sliced garlic. After a few minutes, add the cabbage. Remember: you don't want the veggies to get any sensual color on them from the heat. You are GRANDMA cooking these things, not making a sweet-ass-sweet pasta sauce. Totally different world.
Once the cabbage is cooked in with the other vegetables, add the veggie stock mixture. Yes, maybe this is veggie stock overkill, but I'm of the mindset that anything worth doing is worth deliciously overdoing, so whatevs. Add as much water as you need, making sure the vegetable flavors stay strong. STAY STRONG!
What you do now is taste the mofo, and if it tastes just super strongly of vegetables, GOOD! Remove from heat, and you're ready to make a (now) quick matzo ball soup!
Add as much liquid as will accommodate the matzo balls, and bring to a boil. Add the kale. As the soup boils, add the matzo balls in, one by one, until they become buoyant and float to the top, all crowded like. You can also chuck in some farfalle or potatoes at this point, or just serve with lots of fresh dill, parsley, and lurb.
Put so much freshly ground black pepper in there it'll make you wanna smack yo mama (or make my mom want to smack us both, every time I cook for her, "Damn it Lindsay Jane Hames, there is way too much black pepper in here!!!") But it's worth it. In fact, ALL country dishes are worth it, when it comes to overdosing on black pepper. Holla Arnold's!!
Hope you like. Happy hols!
PS - Just had the official test; the High Priest said YUP.
* When it comes to veganizing a recipe, y'all veegs know how to do that. This recipe doesn't use eggs or dairy, but if something offends you, sort it out. You're welcome.