Co-op Blog

Setting a Plate for Passover

Commemorate the Jewish holiday of Passover, beginning Monday evening, April 10th and ending Tuesday evening, April 18th. The main ritual of Passover is the (Pesach) Seder, which occurs on the first two night(s) of the holiday. This festive meal involves the re-telling of the Exodus through stories and song and the consumption of ritual foods, including matzah and maror (bitter herbs).

Matzah, or unleavened bread, is the main food of Passover. The holiday has many other traditional, popular foods, from haroset (a mixture of fruit, nuts, wine, and cinnamon) to matzah ball soup — and the absence of leavening calls upon a cook to employ all of their culinary creativity. Click here to learn more about the culinary traditions of the Passover Seder.

Celebrate Passover with natural and local foods: from organic Kosher certified Kedem grape juice and family-size Holy Land Shmura Matzah; to local natural chicken from Draper Valley and organic fresh herbs and produce from Skagit Valley farmers. Don’t wait – stock up now on seasonal items, they are only available while supplies last. Read on for an heirloom recipe for Matzo Ball Soup from Scratch. This rich, golden chicken broth with fluffy dumplings is a traditional Jewish food and a comfort food classic. Serve for breakfast, lunch or dinner, alongside a bitter herb green salad.

Matzo Ball Soup from Scratch

Recipe adapted from rodalesorganiclife.com 

Ingredients:

  • 2 medium to large chicken carcasses
  • 1 pound chicken wings
  • 2 medium carrots, cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 2 stalks of celery cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 1 onion, peeled and quartered
  • 10 cloves garlic, skins on, smashed slightly with the side of a knife
  • 6-inch piece ginger, skin on, smashed slightly with the side of a knife
  • ½ teaspoon whole peppercorns
  • ¼ cup plus 4 teaspoons salt
  • Large pinch saffron
  • 4 eggs, separated
  • 1 cup matzo meal
  • Flat-leaf parsley, for garnish

Directions: Heat the oven to 400 degrees. Place the chicken carcasses on a parchment paper-lined pan and roast the carcasses for 15 minutes, until golden. Place the roasted carcasses and the wings, carrots, celery, onion, garlic, ginger, and peppercorns into a stock pot and cover with 12 cups of water. Bring the water to a boil, remove any sum that has risen to the surface, then lower the heat and simmer, the soup, covered, over very low heat for 2 ½ hours.

Turn off the heat, let the soup cool to room temperature, then strain the broth through a sieve lined with cheesecloth. Place the broth into a heat-proof pot and refrigerate overnight (at least 4 hours). Discard the meat and vegetables; (carrots can be reserved and added to the finished soup). About an hour before serving the soup, make the matzo balls: Beat the egg whites to stiff peaks. Lightly beat the egg yolks and fold them into the whites, then add the matzo meal and 1 1/2 teaspoons salt and fold and mix until well combined. Let the mixture sit for 10 minutes to firm up.

Meanwhile in a large pot, bring 4 quarts of water to boil and add ¼ cup salt. When the water is boiling, gently roll spoonfuls of the matzo mixture between your palms to form 1-inch balls, then drop them into the boiling water and let them boil for 15 minutes, rolling them in the water occasionally so that all sides of the balls cook. When they are cooked through, test one by cutting it in half and taking a bite; the matzo balls should not be very firm in the middle. Turn off the heat and leave the matzo balls in the water, do not drain.

While the matzo balls are cooking, take the chicken broth from the refrigerator and remove any fat that has congealed at the top; the soup will still be thick with collagen. Bring the broth to a simmer in a large pot. Crush half of the saffron with a mortar and pestle, and mix it with a tsp of water, then add all it, 2 1/2 teaspoons salt and the remaining whole saffron to the broth and simmer for 1 to 2 minutes. Taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary. Just before serving, add the matzo balls to the broth and let them simmer for 1 minutes to absorb a little of the flavor. Serve garnished with roughly chopped parsley.

By: Claire

ClaireClaire Harlock Garber loves to eat and drink and write about it. She has worked in the food industry for nearly a decade and was on staff at the Skagit Valley Co-op from 2010-2018, writing the regular columns Skagit Brew Corner, The Cheese Whisperer, The Bounty of Bulk, and What's Dippin' in the Well for the Co-op's blog, as well as articles for the Natural Enquirer newsletter.