Even if the matzoh balls were from a box mix, and the broth came from a can, nothing will ever compare to your Grandma’s Matzoh Ball Soup. That’s why we’re not even attempting to compete. Our Italian-inspired Chicken Brodo with Matzoh Meatballs is an entirely untraditional spin on the Passover favorite, but would be more than welcome on any modern Seder table. We used fennel for texture and taste (the anise flavor of the crunchy vegetable accurately mirrors the dill in classic soup), as well as lemon zest, basil, and sage. We’ve also used matzoh meal as a binder for ground chicken meatballs… so tasty you might just want to try them again after the holiday with a plate of spaghetti and red sauce. Talk about cross-cultural comfort food!
For the Matzoh Meatballs
2 tbsp. seltzer water
2 tbsp. chicken stock
1/2 cup matzo meal
1 tbs. vegetable oil
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 lb. ground chicken breast
1 tsp. lemon zest
1 tsp. fresh sage, finely chopped
2 tbsp. parsley, finely chopped
salt and pepper
Beat egg white in a medium bowl until stiff peaks form. In a large bowl, mix together 1 whole egg plus 1 egg yolk, and seltzer, stock, matzo meal, oil, and baking powder. Gently fold in the egg white. Refrigerate for at least 15 minutes.
Preheat oven to 425°. Take matzo meal mixture out of the refrigerator, and using your hands, gently mix in the ground chicken, lemon zest, sage, parsley, and salt and pepper, until fully incorporated.
Roll into 16 meatballs and place on a baking sheet. Spray lightly with cooking spray. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until meatballs are thoroughly cooked.
For the Chicken Brodo
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 bulb of fennel, thinly sliced
1 small onion, chopped
3 large garlic cloves, chopped
1 tbsp. dried basil
1/4 tsp. dried crushed red pepper
6 cups chicken stock
2 medium zucchini, diced
1 carrot, diced
Heat oil in heavy large saucepan over medium heat. Add sliced fennel, onion, garlic, basil, and crushed red pepper and sauté until vegetables are just tender, about 10 minutes. Add stock. Cover pot and simmer 10 minutes. Add zucchini and carrot. Cover and simmer until carrot is almost tender, about 5 minutes. Increase heat to high and bring soup to boil.
Ladle in a bowl with matzoh meatballs, and garnish with fennel fronds.