Matzo Ball Soup is one of those traditional comfort foods. I have been eating it since I was a little girl. My grandmother would make it for all the Jewish holidays and then when she died, my mom would take over. This classic soup, known as Jewish penicillin, a soup that is believed to cure every ailment that there is….LOL!! Now that I am all grown up, I have been making it as well. You can find my Classic Matzo Ball soup, here! I have made the traditional type of my mom and grandmother and also a Sephardic type as my dad’s family originally came from Spain. The basic Sephardic type of the soup, can be found here! This new type of matzo ball soup that I found on a fellow blogger’s site, caught my eye! Samantha from Little Ferraro Kitchen (also a Sephardic type) makes a Lemon Saffron Matzo Ball Soup that when I saw it, I said, “I have to make this!!” The flavor combinations of this soup truly intrigued me!! I grew up eating mostly the Ashkenazi Jewish foods (Eastern European, European) as we were basically only close to my mom’s family and that is where they came from. I hardly knew anything about my father’s side, so when I saw this soup, from Little Ferraro’s Kitchen, I knew this was going to be the soup on my Passover table this year! You can see the original version of this soup over here!
One of the ingredients that goes into this great soup is Saffron….the world’s most expensive spice! Saffron are the stamens from the Crocus plant! The price has been as high as $2,700 per pound. The reason for the high price is because of the labor involved. Saffron has to be harvested by hand and to equal one pound you will need 75,000 threads! That is A LOT of Saffron threads. So it all comes down to basic economics. We all know that the more labor involved, the higher the price no matter what the actual “item” is. Saffron comes from the Middle East, Southern Europe, Northern Africa (Iran, Greece, Morocco, Spain, Greece and Turkey). It gives the most wonderful color to many dishes and even has its own distinct flavor! So to see how this wonderful soup is made, keep reading!
|Lemon Saffron Matzo Ball Soup|
- Chicken Soup
- 4 cups water
- 2 (32 oz) cartons of chicken stock
- 4 whole carrots, plus 2-3 carrots peeled and sliced into half inch rounds
- 1 onion, cut into quarters
- 1 whole garlic bulb, cut in half
- 2 whole stalks of celery, plus 2 stalks cut into 2 inch pieces
- 5 bone in skinless chicken thighs (most of the fat removed) and 2 skinless boneless chicken breasts, cut into large pieces
- 1 tsp. lemon zest
- 1 whole lemon, cut in half
- lemon slices, for garnish
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Matzo Balls
- 1 cup matzo meal
- 3 eggs
- ¼ cup seltzer(club soda)
- 2 tbsp. canola oil (or other vegetable oil that has no flavor)
- 3-4 threads saffron, crushed
- ¼ tsp. turmeric
- A few sprigs of fresh dill, chopped
- 1 tbsp. Italian flat leaf parsley, chopped
- Lemon slices, for garnish
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- In a large Dutch oven add the water and the chicken stock, the whole carrots, onion, garlic bulb, 2 stalks of whole celery, chicken pieces, the lemons, zest, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil over high heat. When boiling, reduce heat to a simmer and cook for about an hour and a half. Skimming off the foam and fat that collects on the top. When the soup is done remove the large pieces of carrots and celery, garlic, onions, lemons and strain the soup. You can leave in the smaller pieces of the carrots and celery. This soup is best made a day or two before. The fat will harden and look like wax so just skim it off. Remove the chicken after about an hour and let cool. Either add shredded pieces back into the soup or make chicken salad out of it. I made mine into chicken salad.
- A couple of hours before you are ready to serve the soup, start making your matzo balls. In a large bowl add the matzo meal, eggs, club soda/seltzer, oil, saffron, turmeric, parsley, dill salt and pepper. Mix everything in a medium bowl and place in the fridge for about 20 minutes to a half hour.
- In the meantime, while your matzo balls are in the fridge, fill up a large pot with water and about a couple of teaspoons of salt. Bring to a boil over medium high heat. When the water is almost boiling, remove your matzo balls from the fridge. Wet your hands with water and start shaping the matzo ball mixture with your hands into a ball the size of a golf ball. After every few balls, wet hands again and shape the rest of the mixture into golf ball size matzo balls. Bring to a boil and then lower the flame to medium-low and cook for about 20 to 25 minutes, stirring occasionally. You can make these ahead of time. Just cover them and place in the fridge. Heat up in the soup when ready to serve. Enjoy!