“Matzo Ball Soup is often called Jewish Penicillin; it’s just something that helps you feel better when you are sick,” shares Rebecca Hochhauser about this month’s ‘Dinner’s Ready’ recipe. “Having grown up on it, it’s a taste that brings me back to my childhood, and I know that my family loves when I make it.”
Rebecca graduated from Penn State and then spent a year in Israel. When she returned to the States, she met and married David Hochhauser. While Rebecca had a great career in the environmental arena, after having their first child, she decided to stay home. The decision was solidified when the couple welcomed all four of their children within six years – Sarah, Samuel, Joshua, and Jonathan. In 2017 a career opportunity for her husband David brought them to Fairhope.
“Our Jewish traditions and holidays have always been important to my family,” Rebecca shares regarding the upcoming holiday season. “While my kids’ Jewish upbringing in the South has been very different from mine, we are lucky to have found a small local community in Fairhope.” When it comes to cooking for the family during the holidays, Rebecca says she does most of it. Every Friday, she bakes fresh challah bread, a Jewish bread made during the holidays. “I started baking it when I had difficulty finding it at my local supermarket in Rhode Island,” she says. “Now, my kids do not like store-bought challah at all.“
Rebecca shares that she loved cooking with her mom when she was young, especially around the holiday season. “Looking back, I don’t know how she had time to do everything she did. After preparing meals for our different holidays, she would always sit down, look at all the food and say, “Not bad from nothing…,” shares Rebecca. “I sometimes find myself saying that in her memory.”
We hope you enjoy making this traditional, feel-good soup as we head into the cooler weather.
Matzo Ball Soup
Chicken Soup: Fill an 8 qt soup pot about 2/3 of the way full with water. Take a cup of water out of the pot and leave it to the side.
Add the following vegetables: 1 large onion, 2 stalks of celery, 1-2 peeled turnips, 1-2 peeled parsnips, 2-3 peeled carrots, Handful of fresh dill, 1 sweet potato
Add 4-6 pieces of bone-in chicken (I like using thighs with the skin on)
Add 3-4 tablespoons of chicken consommé to the cup of water left on the side. Stir completely before adding back to the pot.
Add salt and pepper to taste.
Heat the pot and let simmer for a few hours, tasting occasionally to add ingredients as needed. When finished, you can either cut up or drain out the vegetables you don’t want to include in the soup. Set the chicken aside to cool, and then tear into pieces to include back in the soup.
Matzo Balls: I like to use wide, shallow bowls (I make three batches at one time, each in its own bowl, which yields about 15-20 matzo balls).
Add 1/2 cup matzo meal (my favorite brand is Manishevitz) to each bowl.
Add 2 eggs, 2 tablespoons vegetable/ canola oil, and 2 tablespoons seltzer to each bowl.
Gently fold/mix the ingredients together without over-mixing and place the bowls in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
Fill a pot about 2/3 full with water and begin to heat it. After 30 minutes, when the pot is at a rolling boil, scoop out the mixture, gently roll it into balls, and put it into the pot. Cover the pot, and set a timer for 30 minutes.
At the end of 30 minutes, turn off the heat but don’t touch the cover. My mom always told me I would ruin the matzo balls if I touched the cover. Leave untouched until you are ready to add to your soup. Add the matzo balls to your broth and serve!
Gabriele has been married to her husband Daniel for 16 years. Together they have three incredible children – two boys, ages 15 and eight, and a sweet girl who joined the family last summer. She is a full time Pink Cadillac Sales Director for Mary Kay Cosmetics. When she isn’t spending time with family or building her business, she supports her husband who is the Lead Pastor and Planter of Forward Church in Foley.