2nd Avenue Deli's Matzo Balls
From Arthur Schwartz's Jewish Home Cooking
Reprinted with permission from Arthur Schwartz's Jewish Home Cooking: Yiddish Recipes Revisited by Arthur Schwartz, copyright © 2007. Published by Ten Speed Press.
- Servings: Makes about 12 matzo balls.
This recipe is from Arthur Schwartz's cookbook, Jewish Home Cooking (Ten Speed Press, $35.00, hardcover with color photographs). In his introduction to this recipe, Mr. Schwartz tells the engaging story of how he came to solve the mystery of what makes a consistently great matzo ball, learned from both the 2nd Avenue Deli as well as his grandmother, Elsie Sonkin.
- 4 large eggs
- 1/3 cup schmaltz (rendered chicken fat)
- 1/4 teaspoon plus 1 tablespoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black, or even better, white pepper
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1 1/3 cups matzo meal
- Crack the eggs into a large bowl and beat with a fork to mix thoroughly. Beat in the schmaltz, the 1/4 teaspoon salt, pepper and baking powder.
- Stir in the matzo meal, then mix vigorously with a wooden spoon until completely blended and very stiff.
- Let stand for 30 minutes. It can be refrigerated, covered with plastic wrap, until ready to use. Up to 8 hours.
- Fill a large, wide pot three-quarters full with water. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon salt and bring to a boil over high heat.
- Wet your hands with cold water so the batter doesn't stick to them, then holding and rolling the mixture between your palms, shape it into perfect balls about 1 1/4 inches in diameter. They will double in size when cooked.
- Gently place the matzo balls in the boiling water. When all have been added, decrease the heat so the water simmers briskly, but isn't at a rolling boil, when the pot is covered. Cook for 25 minutes, preferably without removing the pot lid.
- Remove the cooked matzo balls with a slotted spoon. Serve in hot chicken soup.
Tip: To hold matzo balls for serving at a later time, transfer them from the cooking pot to a platter or tray. Cover with plastic wrap. Just before serving, reheat them in the simmering chicken soup.
Tip: These matzo balls can be frozen. Arrange on parchment or wax paper on a baking sheet and freeze until hard. Then pack the matzo balls in a plastic bag, or container. Reheat from the frozen state: place in simmering soup over high heat. When the soup returns to a simmer, reduce the heat so the soup remains just under a boil, and simmer until the matzo balls are soft in the center and heated through. This can take as long as 20 minutes or so. Test the softness of the matzo balls with a skewer or point of a sharp knife. The only way to know whether they are hot enough is to cut one open and taste it.