We know. No one’s matzo ball soup is better than your bubbe’s. But this version, from Oakland’s Pomella, one of the 50 Best Restaurants in the Bay Area, comes pretty close.
Chef-owner Mica Talmor uses a mix of oil and schmaltz to yield the perfect balance of matzo ball flavor and fluffiness. The Israeli-born chef advises letting the batter cool and relax for an hour before rolling. And, most importantly, cook the matzo balls long enough — at least an hour — or until the insides are the same color as the outsides, not darker, she says.
Enjoy for Passover or year-round.
Matzo Ball Soup
Makes 15 balls (two per serving), including one ball for testing
1 large yellow onion, peeled and finely diced
¼ cup chicken fat (also called schmaltz)
¼ cup canola oil
1¾ teaspoons kosher salt
½ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
1/3 cup water
1/3 bunch dill, finely chopped
1 cup matzo meal
Approximately 3 liters of chicken stock, preferably homemade (or Swanson chicken stock), for serving
In a pan set over medium heat, saute the onion with the fat, oil, salt and pepper until the onions start to fall apart. This will take 20 to 30 minutes. Let cool.
Whisk the eggs with the water. Add the onion and all of the fat from the pan. Add the chopped dill. Last, add the matzo meal. Mix everything together until combined, but don’t over mix.
Cover the batter with plastic wrap, pressing it down so it touches the surface of the mixture to prevent a crust from forming. Let the batter rest in the fridge for at least an hour or overnight. You can make the mix a day in advance and let it rest overnight.
To cook the balls, boil a gallon of water with 3 tablespoons kosher salt in a wide, shallow pot. While the water is coming to a boil, use a 2-ounce scoop to scoop the balls. Oil your hands lightly and roll the scoops into perfect balls.
Reduce the heat under your salt water to a simmer, drop the balls in, cooking them in batches, if necessary. Don’t crowd the matzo balls, as they will expand. Simmer the balls for at least an hour. The inside of the ball needs to be the same color as the outside, not darker.
Heat the chicken broth to a simmer. Ladle 12 ounces of hot chicken broth into each bowl. Add two or three matzo balls to each bowl and serve. Matzo balls are best eaten right away or kept at room temperature before being warmed and served in broth. If you have to cook them in advance, you will need to reheat the matzo balls in broth for 15 minutes before serving (unless you like sinkers).
— Recipe courtesy of Mica Talmor, Pomella, Oakland