cookbooks

Matso Soup. Recipe

Matso soup is a traditional Jewish soup that is commonly enjoyed during Passover. It is a flavorful and hearty soup that incorporates matso balls, which are dumplings made from matso flour. Matso, also known as matzo, is an unleavened bread that holds great significance during the Passover holiday.

The history of matso soup dates back centuries and is deeply rooted in Jewish culture and tradition. Matso itself has historical significance, as it recalls the Israelites' hurried departure from Egypt when they did not have time for their bread to rise. Matso is made by mixing flour and water and baking it quickly, resulting in a cracker-like bread that is traditionally eaten during Passover.

Fun fact: Matso balls are often colloquially referred to as "Jewish penicillin" because of their reputation for being a comforting and nourishing remedy for a variety of ailments.

Now, let's dive into the recipe for Matso Soup:

Ingredients:
- 1/2 shin of beef
- 4 pounds of gravy beef
- 1 calf's foot (optional)
- 3-4 quarts of water
- Celery
- Carrots
- Turnips
- Pepper and salt, to taste
- Bunch of sweet herbs

For the Matso Balls:
- 1/2 pound of matso flour
- 2 ounces of chopped suet (or vegetable oil for a vegetarian version)
- Pepper, salt, ginger, and nutmeg, to taste
- 4 beaten eggs
- 1 small onion, shredded and browned in oil (optional)
- Desert spoonful of oil

Instructions:

1. In a large stockpot, bring the water to a boil. Add in the shin of beef, gravy beef, and calf's foot (if using). The calf's foot helps create a gelatinous texture in the soup, but it can be omitted if preferred.

2. Chop the celery, carrots, and turnips into small pieces and add them to the pot. Season with salt, pepper, and the bunch of sweet herbs. The sweet herbs can be a combination of parsley, thyme, and bay leaves.

3. Allow the soup to simmer gently for approximately 8 hours. This long cooking time allows the flavors to develop and the meat to become tender.

4. Once the soup is done simmering, strain it to remove any solids. This will result in a clear and flavorful broth.

5. Allow the soup to cool, and then refrigerate it. This step is important as it allows the fat to rise to the surface and solidify, making it easier to remove.

6. Carefully skim off the fat that has solidified on the surface of the soup. This will help create a lighter and more enjoyable soup.

7. Return the soup to a saucepan, and gently warm it up before serving.

8. Approximately 10 minutes before serving, prepare the matso balls. In a mixing bowl, combine the matso flour, chopped suet or vegetable oil, and seasonings such as salt, pepper, ginger, and nutmeg.

9. Add in the beaten eggs and mix everything together until a dough-like consistency is achieved. If desired, add in the shredded and browned onion.

10. Form the dough into small balls. It is important to make them light and airy by handling the dough gently.

11. Drop the matso balls into the warm soup and allow them to cook for about 10 minutes. The matso balls should float to the surface when done.

12. Serve the matso soup hot, garnished with some fresh parsley or dill for added freshness.

Now, that you have learned how to make matso soup, it is worth noting that there are variations of this recipe that include different herbs and spices or additional ingredients such as vegetables or chicken. Some people prefer a clear broth, while others enjoy a heartier version with chunks of vegetables and meat.

Other traditional Jewish soups that are similar to matso soup include kreplach soup, which features dumplings filled with ground meat, and borscht, a vibrant beet soup often served with a dollop of sour cream. These soups also play a significant role in Jewish culinary traditions and are enjoyed by many during various holidays and gatherings.

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