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Easy Matzo Balls | Kids Can Make Matzo Ball Soup
Nothing beats a bowl of hot, steaming chicken soup filled with matzo balls for a cold winter day or a holiday meal. In my house, matzo ball soup is reserved for Passover, but plenty of people love to eat matzo balls year-round. They're super easy to make, but some people don't like to stick their hands in the matzo ball batter to shape the balls. Here's where the kids come in.
Kids have a special love for squishing stuff between their fingers, be it Play-doh, modeling clay, raw meatloaf, or -- you guessed it -- matzo ball batter. What better way to get them to help make dinner than give them the yuckiest, messiest task? And what's more, they'll love every minute of it.
- 4 eggs
- 1/2 c water
- 1/3 c oil
- 1 c matzo meal
- chicken broth
- 1 carrot (optional)
Prepare the Eggs
1. Have your kids crack four eggs into a large bowl. Check them carefully for shell pieces before your kids beat them! Add the water and oil, and mix together. A fork works better than a whisk; you don't want to add too much air, unless you prefer floaters. (We like the sinkers in our house.)
2. Add salt and pepper to taste. If you allow your child to add the pepper, you may end up with more than you planned in your batter. That's okay! It's nearly impossible to ruin these, as long as you like pepper. One year I literally lost the top of the pepper shaker into the batter and poured a ridiculous amount of pepper in after it. I scooped out as much as I could without losing any of the egg, but I was left with matzo balls that were distinctly gray from the pepper. No matter -- they were still delicious! Quite frankly, we were all amazed. (Salt is a different story -- better to use too little than too much. You can always add salt at the table.)
Mix in the Matzo Meal
3. Pour the matzo meal into the egg mixture and gently combine. You may want to do this yourself, because if your kids stir vigorously or for a long time, the matzo balls will toughen up and become too dense.
Now You Have Matzo Meal Batter
4. Once the batter comes together, cover it and refrigerate it for at least 20 minutes. Longer is better, if you have the time. For instance, if you have a preschooler who still naps, have him help you measure and mix the batter after lunch, and then refrigerate it during his nap. Two or three hours in the fridge is fine.
Put Your Broth on to Boil
5. Before you call your kids back to do the messy stuff, fill a large pot and set it to boil. Put in chicken broth powder or bouillon cubes to add some flavor. DO NOT use your actual chicken soup, because the matzo balls will suck it up and leave none for eating. If you have one available, add a carrot for additional flavor.
Make the Matzo Balls by Hand
6. Now for the best part -- letting your kids get their hands messy! Have them wash their hands thoroughly and then wet them again with cold water so the batter doesn't stick as much. They should then make golf ball-sized balls and put them onto a plate for you to transfer to the boiling broth. The matzo balls will all be different sizes and shapes that only a mother would consider spherical, but they'll still be delicious.
Boil the Matzo Balls
7. Boil them uncovered for half an hour. They'll pop up to the surface after a few minutes, but they're not done yet. Push them back under every so often, especially if the pot is crowded.
Eat Your Matzo Balls With Chicken Soup
8. Finally, drain the broth away. Heat up some real chicken soup, throw your fresh matzo balls in, and let your whole family enjoy (after your kids wash their hands again!). If you don't have any good chicken soup on hand, boil up a fresh pot of broth and slice up the carrot you cooked the matzo balls with and toss it in. Also delicious!
The matzo balls stay good in the fridge for several days if you store them in an airtight container (not in with the soup). I have been told that you can also freeze them if need be by laying them out (not touching!) on a wax-paper-covered cookie sheet. Once they're frozen, peel them off the paper and stick them in a freezer bag.