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Joey Altman's Matzo Ball Soup

Just in time for Passover (which begins this Saturday at sundown), we bring you a simple and trustworthy recipe for matzo ball soup from SF's own Joey Altman, from his new cookbook Without Reservations: How to Make Bold, Creative, Flavorful Food at Home (Wiley).

Note: Schmaltz is rendered chicken fat. You can get it from some kosher grocers, from Boulettes Larder in the Ferry Building, or you can render it yourself by simply making homemade chicken soup and scooping the solid fat off the top after refrigerating it. The broth and shredded chicken would both come in handy for this recipe too. But if it's all too much trouble, Altman recommends vegetable oil as a substitute.

4 large eggs
1/2 cup club soda or unflavored seltzer
3 tablespoons schmaltz or vegetable oil
2 tablespoons finely chopped flat-leaf parsley, plus additional for garnish
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 cup matzo meal
2 quarts chicken stock
12 ounces cooked, shredded chicken meat

1. Whisk the eggs in a medium mixing bowl to break them up. Whisk in the soda, schmaltz, parsley, salt and pepper. Stir in the matzo meal just to blend. Cover and refrigerate for one hour.
2. Bring the chicken broth to boil in a large saucepan. Reduce to a simmer. Wet your hands, pick up about two tablespoons of the dough, and roll it between your palms to form a ball. Drop the balls into the simmering broth as you make them and simmer, covered, for 30 minutes.
3. For each serving, ladle two matzo balls with about a cup of broth into a large, shallow bowl. Garnish with some of the shredded chicken meat and additional chopped parsley.