Matzo Ball Soup, a la Anne Lane
- 1 package matzo ball mix or matzo meal (you'll need a can of plain seltzer if you use the meal)
- 1 quart chicken stock (Kitchen Basics is a great brand, and they also make an unsalted stock, which is great if you're cooking for someone on a sodium-restricted diet)
- 1 small onion, chopped as fine as you like
- 1 stalk celery, chopped as fine as you like
- 1 carrot, chopped as fine as you like
- olive oil (enough to saute the veggies in, which should be about 2 tbsp. or 2 turns around the pan)
- crushed red pepper flake, to taste (I find a very small palmful--equal to about 1 tsp. or so-- works well, and crush the flakes in your palm to release more of the flavor.)
- salt and pepper to taste
- a couple of pieces of the rind of parmigiano reggiano cheese (This might sound odd, but oh, does it add some great flavor!)
Start by making the matzo balls according to package directions, cooking them in salted water if desired. You can also cook them directly in the chicken stock, which is what I have done.
Saute the chopped onion, carrot, and celery in the olive oil until the onion is translucent and the carrot and celery have brightened in color. This should take no more than about 5 minutes.
Add the chicken stock, crushed red pepper flake, salt, and pepper (and parmigiano reggiano rind, if using), and bring to a simmer. Add the matzo balls. If they are uncooked, you'll know the soup is done when the balls float, which takes about 15 minutes. If using cooked matzo balls, let the whole thing simmer for about 15 minutes any way. Simmering the balls in the soup allows them to take on more of the flavor of the chicken stock.
Serve in bowls, and enjoy.