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Passover is a time of joyous celebration and somber remembrance, but mostly it’s all about the matzo balls. At top, Picadillo-Stuffed Matzo Balls. Above, making fluffy matzo balls, which will soon make their way into soup.

Photos by Stephanie S. Cordle • St. Louis Post-Dispatch,

Recipe: matzo balls

  • April 9, 2014 - 1:01 PM

FLUFFY MATZO BALLS

Makes about 12 matzo balls.

Note: Rendered chicken fat, also called “schmaltz,” is available in the frozen kosher foods section of some of the larger grocery stores. Adapted from Ina Garten, via Food Network.

• 4 extra-large eggs, separated

• 4 1/2 c. good chicken stock, divided

• 1/4 c. rendered chicken fat, melted, or 1/4 c. vegetable oil (see Note)

• 1/2 c. minced fresh parsley

• 1 tsp. kosher salt, plus more for egg whites

• 1 c. matzo meal

• Chicken soup, for serving

Directions

Whisk together egg yolks, ½ cup stock, chicken fat or oil, parsley and salt. Stir in the matzo meal. Whisk the egg whites with a pinch of salt until stiff (it is faster to use a mixer with a whisk attachment). Whisk the whites, a cup at a time, into the matzo mixture until it is smooth. Refrigerate at least 15 minutes, or until mixture is stiff.

Form balls the size of golf balls by shaping them with 2 spoons, rolling them with your hands (rinse your hands in cold water after every couple of balls to prevent sticking) or scooping them with a small ice cream scoop.

Bring remaining 4 cups stock to a simmer. Drop balls into stock and simmer 30 minutes or until fully cooked and puffed, turning once. Remove and serve hot in chicken soup.

Nutrition information per 1 matzo ball:

Calories 120 Fat 7 g Sodium 190 mg

Carbohydrates 10 g Saturated fat 2 g Calcium 16 mg

Protein 4 g Cholesterol 73 mg Dietary fiber 0 g

Diabetic exchanges per serving: ½ bread/starch, ½ medium-fat meat, 1 fat.

STUFFED MATZO BALLS

Makes 12 matzo balls.

Note: From Bon Appétit, via OUkosher.org.

Matzo balls:

• 4 eggs

• 3 tbsp. vegetable oil

• 1 c. matzo meal

• 1 1/2 tsp. coarse salt

• 1/3 c. club soda

Stuffing:

• 1 tbsp. vegetable oil

• 1/2 c. finely chopped onion

• 1/4 c. finely chopped celery

• 1/3 c. chopped fresh parsley

• 1 large garlic clove, minced

• 3/4 c. finely diced cooked chicken (about 3 1/2 oz.)

• 1 egg

• 1/4 tsp. sage

• 1/4 tsp. salt

• 1/8 tsp. ground nutmeg

• 1/8 tsp. ground pepper

Directions

To make matzo ball mixture: Whisk together the 4 eggs and oil in a medium bowl until blended. Mix in matzo meal and salt. Add club soda and blend well. Cover and refrigerate at least 1 hour. Can be prepared 1 day ahead.

To make stuffing: Heat oil in a small skillet over medium heat. Add onion and celery and sauté until vegetables soften, about 3 minutes. Add parsley and garlic, and sauté 1 minute. Transfer vegetable mixture to a food processor. Add chicken, egg, sage, salt, nutmeg and pepper; grind to a coarse paste. Transfer stuffing to a small bowl. Stuffing can be prepared up to 2 hours ahead if covered with plastic wrap and refrigerated.

To assemble matzo balls: Cover baking sheet with plastic wrap; lightly coat plastic wrap with oil or nonstick spray. Using moistened hands, roll matzo ball mixture into 12 (1½ -inch) balls and place on prepared sheet. Make a deep hole in each ball and place 1 teaspoon filling (or whatever fits) into each hole. Re-form matzo balls, enclosing stuffing.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over medium-high heat. Drop matzo balls into pot. Cover and cook until matzo balls are tender and cooked through, about 35 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer matzo balls to bowl. Can be prepared 1 day ahead, if covered and refrigerated.

Nutrition information per matzo ball:

Calories 150 Fat 8 g Sodium 440 mg

Carbohydrates 11 g Saturated fat 2 g Calcium 20 mg

Protein 8 g Cholesterol 90 mg Dietary fiber 1 g

Diabetic exchanges per serving: 1 bread/starch, ½ medium-fat meat, 1 fat.

JOAN NATHAN’S MATZO BALLS

Makes about 15 matzo balls.

Note: Adapted from Joan Nathan via the New York Times.

• 4 eggs

1/4 c. schmaltz (rendered chicken fat), coconut oil or vegetable oil (kosher for Passover)

• 1/4 c. chicken stock or vegetable stock

• 1 c. matzo meal

• 1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg

• 2 tbsp. freshly grated ginger

• 2 tbsp. finely chopped parsley, dill or cilantro

• 1 tsp. salt, more for cooking

• Black pepper

Directions

In a large bowl, combine the eggs, schmaltz, stock, matzo meal, nutmeg, ginger and parsley. Season with 1 teaspoon salt and a few grinds of pepper. Gently mix with a whisk or spoon. Cover and refrigerate until chilled, about 3 hours or overnight.

To shape and cook the matzo balls, fill a wide, deep pan with lightly salted water and bring to a boil. With wet hands, take some of the mix and mold it into the size and shape of a ping-pong ball. Gently drop it into the boiling water, repeating until all the mix is used.

Cover the pan, reduce heat to a lively simmer and cook matzo balls about 50 minutes for al dente, longer for light. If desired, the cooked matzo balls can be transferred to chicken or vegetable soup and served immediately. Alternatively, they may be placed on a baking sheet and frozen, then transferred to a freezer bag and kept frozen until a few hours before serving; reheat in chicken or vegetable soup or broth.

Nutrition information per matzo ball:

Calories 90 Fat 5 g Sodium 230 mg

Carbohydrates 8 g Saturated fat 1 g Calcium 9 mg

Protein 3 g Cholesterol 53 mg Dietary fiber 0 g

Diabetic exchanges per serving: ½ bread/starch, 1 fat.

PICADILLO-STUFFED MATZO BALLS

Makes 12 matzo balls.

Note: From Cara’s Cravings; picadillo recipe from Eating Well.

For the picadillo:

1/2 lb. lean ground turkey breast

• 1/2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil

• 1/2 small onion, chopped

2 tbsp. chopped green onions, divided

• 1 garlic clove, minced

• 1 tsp. chili powder

• Scant 1/2 tsp. dried oregano

• Scant 1/2 tsp. ground cumin

• 1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon

• Pinch cayenne pepper

• 2 tbsp. golden raisins

2 tbsp. chopped pitted green olives

• 1 tbsp. tomato paste

• 1/2 c. water

• Salt and pepper

For the matzo balls:

• 3 eggs

• 3 tbsp. vegetable oil

• 3 tbsp. chicken broth

• 3/4 c. matzo meal

• 1 1/2 tsp. salt

• Pepper

• Cinnamon, for dusting

Directions

To make filling: Spray a nonstick skillet with nonstick spray (or add 1/2 tablespoon oil) and heat over medium-high heat. Cook the ground turkey, breaking it up with a wooden spoon, until browned. Remove from pan and set aside.

Reduce heat to medium and add the olive oil. Cook onions, green onions and garlic for about 3 to 4 minutes, until softened. Add chili powder, oregano, cumin, cinnamon and cayenne pepper; cook for 1 minute more, until fragrant.

Return turkey to the pan, along with the raisins, olives, tomato paste and water. Add salt to taste. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for about 10 minutes, until thickened. Season to taste, if needed, with salt and pepper. Set aside to cool. This filling can be made a day or two in advance, if kept covered and refrigerated.

To make matzo balls: Whisk together the eggs, oil and broth. Stir in the matzo meal, salt and pepper. Chill in refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.

To assemble: Line a plate or a baking sheet with a piece of plastic wrap and spray with nonstick spray (or lightly brush with oil). Scoop the matzo mixture into 12 equal portions. Wet your hands and take 1 portion. Flatten it slightly and press a small indentation into the top. Place 1 teaspoon of the picadillo into the indentation, then carefully roll the matzo ball mixture around the filling. Set aside on the plastic-lined sheet. Repeat with remaining matzo balls, wetting hands after each one. The stuffed matzo balls may be covered and refrigerated overnight.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add matzo balls to the boiling water. Cover pot and cook 20 to 25 minutes. The matzo balls will increase in size.

Spray a baking dish or sheet with nonstick cooking spray. Remove matzo balls from the water with a slotted spoon and place on the dish or tray. Spray matzo balls with a little more cooking spray, and sprinkle with cinnamon. Bake 15 to 20 minutes, until lightly browned. These may be made 1 day ahead and reheated before serving.

Nutrition information per matzo ball:

Calories 180 Fat 10 g Sodium 400 mg

Carbohydrates 10 g Saturated fat 2 g Calcium 37 mg

Protein 12 g Cholesterol 200 mg Dietary fiber 1 g

Diabetic exchanges per serving: ½ bread/starch, 1 ½ lean meat, 1 fat.

© 2014 Star Tribune