Four-star matzo ball soup

Serves 4.

Note: Gribenes (pronounced GRIB-beh-ness) are the crispy bits of chicken skin cracklings produced in the making of schmaltz. From "The Book of Schmaltz," by Michael Ruhlman.

Matzo balls:

• 2 tbsp. schmaltz (see box at right)

• 1/2 Spanish onion, cut into small dice

• Kosher salt

1/4 c. matzo meal (or 2 squares of matzo, well pulverized in a food processor)

• 2 eggs, beaten

2 tbsp. chicken stock or water, plus additional for simmering

• 1/2 tsp. baking powder

• 1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper


• 1 Spanish onion, cut into small dice

• 2 celery ribs, cut on the bias into 1/4-in. slices

• 2 carrots, peeled and cut into small dice

• Kosher salt to taste

• 1 1/2 qts. chicken stock or consommé

• 1/2 c. gribenes (see Note)

• 1/4 c. chopped flat-leaf parsley


To make the matzo balls: Heat the schmaltz in a medium sauté pan over medium-high heat, add the onion and a three-finger pinch of salt, and cook until the onion just begins to brown, about 5 minutes. Transfer the onion and fat to a plate to cool.

Combine matzo meal, beaten eggs, chicken stock, baking powder and ground pepper, along with a four-finger pinch of salt, in a large bowl. Add the cooled onion and fat. Stir the mixture thoroughly until all ingredients are uniformly mixed. Cover with plastic wrap and let sit for at least 30 minutes, or refrigerate for up to 24 hours.

With damp hands, form the matzo mixture into 4 balls, making them as big, smooth and round as ping-pong balls. Place them in a saucepan of simmering chicken stock, cover the pan, and cook for 20 minutes. If you're making the soup right away, keep the matzo balls in the stock, covered. If not, allow them to cool, wrap individually in plastic, and refrigerate.

To make the soup: Bring a large pot of water to a boil, and ready an ice bath. When the water boils, add the onion and cook for 30 seconds. Scoop out the onion with a strainer and dip the strainer into the bowl of ice water, stirring the onion till chilled. Put it in a paper towel-lined bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Do the same with the celery. Do the same with the carrot, but cook the carrot for 60 to 90 seconds before removing it to the ice bath.

Bring the stock to a simmer. Taste, and season with salt if necessary. Heat your soup bowls in the oven or in a microwave. Reheat your matzo balls in stock if necessary (if you're serving clarified stock, heat the matzo balls in separate stock or they can cloud the consommé).

Make a bed with the blanched onion in the center of each bowl; ring the carrot around the onion, and the celery around the carrot. Place a hot matzo ball on the onion. Add the piping hot stock or consommé to the bowl. Pouring the stock into the prepared bowls is especially dramatic to do at the table if you've taken the time to clarify the stock. Garnish the matzo balls with gribenes and parsley.

Nutrition information per serving:

Calories 280 Fat 17 g Sodium 345 mg

Carbs 20 g Sat fat 5 g Calcium 97 mg

Protein 15 g Cholesterol 110 mg Fiber 2 g

Diabetic exchanges per serving: 1 vegetable, 1 bread/starch, 1 ½ medium-fat meat, 2 fat.


Makes about 2 cups.

Note: Gribenes (pronounced GRIB-beh-ness) are the crispy bits of chicken skin cracklings produced in the making of schmaltz. From "The Book of Schmaltz," by Michael Ruhlman.

• 3 eggs

• 3/4 c. schmaltz, or more to taste (see box at right)

• 1 Spanish onion, thinly sliced

• 1 lb. chicken livers

• 1 tsp. kosher salt, plus more for sautéing the liver

• 1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

• 2 tsp. red wine vinegar, optional

• Gribenes, optional (see Note)


In a small saucepan, cover the eggs with 1 inch of water, and bring the water to a boil over high heat. As soon as the water reaches a full boil, cover the pan and take it off the heat. Let the eggs sit in the covered pan, off the heat, for 12 to 15 minutes, then remove them from the water.

Meanwhile, in a large sauté pan over medium heat, melt a third of the schmaltz, and cook the onion in it until it's completely tender and on the brink of browning, 10 to 15 minutes. Transfer the cooked onion to a plate.

Add a little more schmaltz to the pan, increase the heat to high, and sauté the livers, salting them as you do, until they are warm all through with just some pinkness remaining, 7 to 10 minutes.

Peel the eggs. Run the onions, liver and eggs through a meat grinder fitted with a small die into a mixing bowl. Add 1 teaspoon salt, the pepper, and the vinegar, if using, and stir to combine. Stir in 1/2 cup of the schmaltz, in addition to the gribenes, if using (you can also wait and sprinkle them on top as a garnish), and continue to stir until all the ingredients are well incorporated. (As noted, this can also be done using a food processor.) Taste it and add more schmaltz, salt, vinegar, and pepper as you wish. Chill completely.

Nutrition information per 2 tablespoons:

Calories 133 Fat 12 g Sodium 140 mg

Carbohydrates 1 g Saturated fat 4 g Calcium 9 mg

Protein 6 g Cholesterol 140 mg Dietary fiber 0 g

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