Some people like sinkers, some people like floaters. Here at Serious Eats, we're equal opportunity matzo-ballers, so we're giving a recipe that lets you choose the matzo balls of your dreams. Best part, it's ridiculously easy.
'Jewish' on Serious Eats
A staple of Ashkenazi Jewish cooking, schmaltz made from rendered chicken fat takes some time, but pays off by adding tons of flavor to dishes like chopped liver and matzo balls.
Latkes are a far more common sight at Hanukkah than Passover, but there's no real reason why you can't fry up a batch in the springtime.
Root vegetables may be most often eaten in the coldest depths of winter, but I actually like them best in early spring. New carrots and radishes are a sweet counterpoint to wintered beets, breathing new life into the tired roots. Add a burst of anise-y fennel and a smattering of chopped nuts, as Jamie Geller does in her new cookbook Joy of Kosher, and you'll have a brilliantly elegant and healthy side dish.
Brisket is one of the first dishes that comes to mind when I think of kosher meals, and the forgiving cut of beef is one of Jamie Geller's favorites to cook. While there were more traditional preparations in her book, I was drawn to this zippier Argentinian-inspired recipe.
The fried sweet cheese pierogi is tangy, creamy, sweet, and cheesy, straddling a line between savory and dessert that makes it perfect to eat no matter the occasion.
These chicken meatballs are designed to be stuffed inside matzo balls, but they're also good to eat on their own once you simmer them in chicken soup.
This hearty salad from The Artisan Jewish Deli at Home was a creation by Nick Zukin as a Seinfeld-related inside joke—while the salad does contain lettuce and cucumbers, it's far from a low-calorie lunch. An ample scoop of chicken salad, a generous pour of creamy blue cheese dressing, and a plethora of crisp bagel chips make this truly a salad for salad haters.
In this recipe, from The Artisan Jewish Deli at Home, tender white meat chicken is poached in an onion broth before being shredded and tossed with celery, mayo, sour cream, horseradish, and plenty of black pepper.
More than just a fun-to-say word, knishes are emblematic of Jewish deli snacks. Their hearty nature and portable shape make for an easy, if heavy, snack on the go. The version at the Mile End Deli is a different shape than most: rolled into a log instead of shaped into a dumpling, transforming the knish into light(-er) fare.
[Photograph: Maggie Hoffman] Note: Serve these as an alternative to matzo balls for your Passover Seder. At Balaboosta, Einat plans to cook the gondi in one broth, but serve them in a fresh batch, so the finished broth isn't cloudy....
[Photographs: J. Kenji Lopez-Alt] Note: Sweet red bean (adzuki) paste is widely available from either a can or in a bag, the latter in the refrigerated section of your typical Chinese grocery store. I've had much better luck with good...
Great latkes take some time and preparation, but with the right technique and tools are easy to master. If you need to store them for later service, let them drain, then stash them in a 200°F oven with the door slightly ajar for no more than two hours.
With no Jewish grandmother in sight, I made the common cold cure-all drink my family has always whipped up in the face of illness: a guggle muggle. If you hail from Mittleuropean or Slavic Jewish stock, the thought of a guggle muggle probably warms your heart and soothes your throat. I set out to unify the diverse and diffuse guggle muggle camps under a banner they could all get around: ice cream.
Lamb shanks braised with dried fruit and a blend of Middle Eastern spices, tagine-style.
Jewish and Chinese holidays, despite some obvious differences, actually have many important features in common. Nothing puts a Jew at ease like a holiday characterized by ancient traditions, delicious foods that represent those traditions, and the widespread exchange of cash. As good Jews, Max and I decided this week to honor Chinese New Years with an ice cream recipe that pays homage to the tradition of using gold-colored ingredients for a rich year. Golden persimmons, golden honey, golden yolks, a touch of golden ginger; you get the picture.
With Passover coming up, we wanted to know what Arthur Schwartz (author of Jewish Home Cooking and many other wonderful cookbooks) likes to do with a box of Matzo Meal. He shared this recipe, a humble one, he says, that rarely appears in cookbooks. Whenever matzo meal latke recipes are published, they're gussied up in some way—apples are added, sugar and spice is added, grated lemon peel. You get the picture. But these are simple.
Is Blue Ribbon's matzo ball soup better than either of my grandmother's? I'd rather not say. What I will say is that it lived up to the title of "excellent"—the stock was beautifully flavored, and the matzo balls were the ideal weight and density and tasted of chicken fat in the best possibly way.