I will first address those of you who are sick of hearing about everything being gluten free:
I know you think the rising hype of a “no gluten diet” that has taken our country by storm is some sort of psychological weakness emblematic of a consumer society that is easily seduced by one diet fad after the next. You’re kind of right.
But mostly you’re wrong. Unfortunately so, because not eating bread and matzo balls is not an easy way to enjoy life.
Here’s the lowdown: The industrialization of our food supply has made lots of us unable to break down processed flours and grains. (People didn’t have all these issues a few hundred years ago and still don’t in some countries.) As a result, gluten, a protein found in certain grains, seems to create problems...from everything from bloating to severe systemic disorders like celiacs disease. In a nutshell, that’s what’s going on.
The good news is that because so many Ashkenazi Jews are amongst these people with gluten sensitivity and allergies in general- hooray for generations of our ancestors marrying cousins- gluten free matzo meal now exists...as does gluten free matzo.
Now everybody can say yes to Passover!
Here’s the truth, these matzo balls are really good. They are a little gummier than regular matzo balls. But the flavor is superb. Those who need gluten free will be thrilled, and those who don’t might not even know the difference.
P.S. I can get away with eating some gluten, but as a general rule I feel better when I don’t. Most likely so will you. I know, I know. Who wants to sign up for that? For a good read: The Wheat Belly.
Makes 12 medium sized matzo balls. (For the original recipe, see my original Matzo Ball Soup.)
Note: Start this recipe the day before you plan to serve it. If it is already too late, plan on chilling the matzo ball mix for as long as you can, three hours at least.
For the Matzo Ball Mix:
- 1 cup gluten free matzo meal (buy here)
- 4 eggs
- 4-5 tablespoons duck fat or schmaltz**, at room temperature
- 2 tablespoons chicken broth (or water)
- 1 ½ teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon pepper
- ¼ teaspoon dried ginger (don’t worry, they won’t taste like ginger...it just adds a taste of freshness to the matzo balls)
- 1-2 tablespoons chopped herbs (celery leaves and/or parsley and/or chives and/or cilantro and/or dill)
To cook the Matzo Balls:
- 1 quart homemade or boxed chicken broth
- 1 carrot
- 1 celery stalk
- some parsley or dill to throw into cooking water
- Homemade Chicken Broth: See BASIC CHICKEN BROTH
The Day Before:
- Whisk eggs, 1 ½ teaspoons salt, pepper, ginger and chopped herbs in a bowl until well mixed.
- Stir in matzo meal and chicken broth, or water.
- Add duck fat or schmaltz and stir in well.
- Cover with plastic wrap and put in fridge overnight.
The Day Of:
- In a large pot, set 5 quarts of water along with the boxed or homemade chicken broth, carrot, celery and parsley or dill over a high flame and cover until it comes to a boil.
- Add a small handful of salt to the boiling water/broth as if it were pasta water...it should taste salty like the sea.
- Using wet hands, form the matzo meal into imperfectly shaped balls- so they look homemade- about 1 ½ inches in diameter.
- Place each one in the boiling water/broth. Stir to make sure they don’t stick.
- Cover and cook for 50 minutes.
- Cut one open to make sure it is fully cooked. If not cook them for a few minutes more.
- Lift out of water with a slotted spoon and place one or two in a serving bowl.
- Ladle homemade chicken broth into each bowl.
- Optional: garnish with a little chopped parsley or dill.
Note: If you are not serving them immediately, just keep drained matzo balls in a covered glass bowl until you are ready to use them.