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Sacrilege Soup

matzoh chicken soup
by Jess Thomson
From Edible Seattle March/April 2011
makes: 6 generous (or 12 small) servings | start to finish: 1 1/2 hours

It looks like a humble bowl of matzo ball soup, but think twice before serving this version to your grandmother. Infused with ginger, lemongrass, Thai chilies, and lime, the broth for this Jewish classic has a good kick—and the sesame-flavored matzo balls pick it up as they simmer. A sacrilege? Maybe. But delicious.

For the matzo balls

2 tablespoons dark sesame oil
2 tablespoons canola oil
1/4 cup chicken broth or stock
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
4 large eggs
1 cup matzo meal

For the soup

12 cup chicken broth or stock (preferably good homemade stuff)
1/2 cup sliced ginger
6” piece lemongrass, cut into 1” chunks
1/2 onion, sliced
6 Thai chilies
1 fresh Kaffir lime (or a small regular lime), quartered

First, make the matzo balls: Whisk the oils, broth, salt, and eggs to blend in a medium bowl. Add the matzo meal, and fold it in gently, mixing only until no dry spots remain. Let the dough rest in the refrigerator, covered, for about an hour.

Meanwhile, make the soup: Heat the chicken broth in a large soup pot, along with the ginger, lemongrass, onion, and 2 of the chilies, sliced lengthwise (save the remaining chilies for garnish). Squeeze the lime juice into the soup, and add the limes, peels and all. Simmer the soup for about an hour, stirring occasionally.

Using a slotted spoon or wire mesh strainer, fish all the aromatics out of the soup, and discard. Form the matzo ball dough into 12 golf ball-sized balls, add them to the soup, and simmer, covered, for 30 to 40 minutes, until roughly doubled in size and cooked through. Serve matzo balls with soup, topped with very thinly sliced rounds of Thai chilies.


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