Advertisement

You will be redirected to the page you want to view in  seconds.

Spring vegetable soup is made with low-fat, high-flavor matzo balls.
Spring vegetable soup is made with low-fat, high-flavor matzo balls. / By Matthew Mead/AP
Spring vegetable soup with low-fat, high-flavor matzo balls is shown in a soup tureen. / AP

More

The Husband is Jewish and I am his shiksa bride. Though I grew up in New York, I’d never attended a Passover seder until I met my husband.

I really enjoyed the meal, but the Passover service seemed so complicated that I felt a tad overwhelmed when it was time to produce my own seder.

I knew I’d probably never attempt homemade gefilte fish, but I figured I might be able to produce a respectable matzo ball soup. At the time (now a generation ago) I owned no Jewish cookbooks, and there was no Internet. So what did I do? I called my mother-in-law. And what did she tell me? To make the recipe on the back of the matzo meal box.

Over time, I’ve refined the recipe.

Like other cooks before me, I swapped out the vegetable oil in favor of schmaltz (chicken fat), which amps the flavor. I also began poaching the matzo balls not in water, but in broth.

However, for the purpose of this column, I wanted to dream up a matzo ball that is lower in fat and calories, but that doesn’t sacrifice any flavor. The schmaltz was the first ingredient to go.

Instead, I added some baking powder, which did indeed make them more buoyant. Isn’t baking powder, a leavener, a no-no during Passover, which bans all leavened bread? Not if you use baking powder that’s been certified kosher for Passover. Then I poached the matzo balls for much longer than recommended, which helped to cook them all the way through and made them less dense.

Spring vegetable soup with low-fat, high-flavor matzo balls

For the matzo balls:

3/4 cup matzo meal

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1 teaspoon kosher baking powder

6 large egg whites, lightly beaten

3 tablespoons vegetable oil

3 tablespoons low-sodium chicken broth

For the soup:

1/2 pound shelled fresh fava beans or shelled fresh lima beans (or 1 2/3 cups defrosted frozen), or a combination

3 medium leeks

1/2 pound asparagus (about 1/2 bunch), tough ends discarded (peel the stalks if thicker than 1/3 inch)

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

1/2 pound small white mushrooms, trimmed and quartered

10 cups low-sodium chicken broth

1 cup shelled fresh or defrosted frozen green peas

Kosher salt and ground black pepper

Chopped fresh dill, to garnish

To make the matzo balls, in a large bowl stir together the matzo meal, salt and baking powder. Add the egg whites, vegetable oil and chicken broth, then stir until well combined. Cover and chill for 30 minutes.

While the matzo mixture cools, prepare the vegetables. If using fava beans, in a large saucepan bring 1 quart of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the shelled fava beans and blanch for 1 minute. Use a slotted spoon to immediately transfer them to a bowl of ice water to cool. When they are cool enough to handle, gently peel the skins from the beans. Lima beans don’t need this step.

Trim off and discard the green parts of the leeks, leaving about 5 inches. Cut the white part in half lengthwise, then slice into 1-inch pieces (about 3 1/2 cups). Rinse them well and pat them dry. Cut the asparagus crosswise into 1-inch pieces.

In a large saucepan over medium, heat the oil. Reduce the heat to medium-low, add the leeks and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes or until they have softened. Add the asparagus and mushrooms to the leek mixture and cook, stirring occasionally, 3 to 4 minutes more, or until almost tender. Transfer the vegetables to a bowl and set aside.

Return the saucepan to the stovetop over medium-high heat. Add the chicken broth and bring it to a boil. Shape the chilled matzo batter into 16 balls and add them to the broth. Reduce the heat to simmer, cover and cook for 55 to 60 minutes, or until the matzo balls are tender.

Add the vegetable mixture to the chicken stock and matzo balls, along with the fava beans and peas and simmer until heated through. If using defrosted frozen lima beans, add them first to the soup and let them simmer for 5 minutes or until tender, then add the other vegetables. Season with salt and pepper to taste, ladle into bowls and garnish with chopped fresh dill.

Start to finish: 2 hours (45 minutes active)

Servings: 8

Nutrition information per serving: 230 calories; 80 calories from fat (35 percent of total calories); 9 g fat (0.5 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 0 mg cholesterol; 29 g carbohydrate; 5 g fiber; 5 g sugar; 10 g protein; 1070 mg sodium.

Sara Moulton was executive chef at Gourmet magazine for nearly 25 years, and spent a decade hosting several Food Network shows. She currently stars in public television’s “Sara’s Weeknight Meals” and has written three cookbooks, including “Sara Moulton’s Everyday Family Dinners.”

More In WDH

In the NFL draft's first round, the Packers should ...

Retrieving results.
Draft a safety.(Your vote)
29%
801 votes
Draft a linebacker.(Your vote)
12%
346 votes
Draft the best player available, regardless of position.(Your vote)
49%
1321 votes
Trade the pick.(Your vote)
8%
226 votes

Catch up on the latest in our pregame show every game day.

Football fans

If you've ever answered "Who has the ball?" with "It's halftime," you might recognize The Airhead. Check out the characters in our cartoon gallery of oddball fans.

Special Reports

ORDER YOURS

Football fans

If you've ever answered "Who has the ball?" with "It's halftime," you might recognize The Airhead. Check out the characters in our cartoon gallery of oddball fans.

Special Reports