Sunday, April 8, 2007

Matzoh dumplings for 'chicken' soup

Ricotta and matzoh dumplings

As promised, here is my version of matzoh balls. The recipe makes enough to float in four bowls of broth. Most recipes seem to require a very long poaching and a huge dose of schmaltz (chicken fat) but these are lightened considerably by the ricotta. Of course, if you were making real chicken soup you couldn’t use the ricotta – kosher laws forbid the mixture of milk and meat.

1 egg

100g of fresh ricotta

¼ cup of light olive oil, plus more for rolling

2 tablespoons of water

2 tablespoons of finely chopped parsley

1 tablespoon of sea salt (I know, I know, but they need to taste of something)

Pinch of saffron threads, crumbled

A few grinds of black pepper

Just less than 1 cup of matzoh meal

½ teaspoon of baking powder

Whisk the egg with the ricotta, oil, water, parsley, salt, saffron and pepper in a bowl until smooth.

Mix the matzoh meal and baking soda together in another bowl, and then gently fold into the ricotta mixture. Leave to rest for 15 minutes.

Lightly oil your hands and, using very heaped teaspoonfuls, roll the mixture into small, rounded spheres. You’ll need to press the mixture together pretty forcefully as you do this lest they disintegrate as they poach (this is heart-breaking and very irritating). Leave to dry out a little and form a ‘crust’ on a plate for an hour or two. Keep away from the cat. Naughty cat.

Bring a large pot of salted water to the boil. Turn the heat down to its lowest possible setting and wait until there is only the odd bubble rising to the surface. Now gently lower the dumplings into the water. There will be a little bit of disintegration, but mostly, they’ll stay together well. When they rise to the surface let them poach in their warm bath for 2-3 minutes and then remove with a slotted spoon to a plate.

These will keep, covered in the fridge, for at least 6 hours, until you are ready to sit them at the bottom of a bowl and ladle the golden broth over them.

Thank goodness I only have to do this once a year.

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