Creature Comforts: Slow Cooker Matzo Ball Soup
We were met with rainy, gloomy weather last week and I found myself craving something comforting to warm up: matzo ball soup. Now I have made matzo ball soup hundreds of times before last week, including a successful gluten-free version, but I hadn’t yet cracked the code for making a bowl that amazed. The truth is, my matzo balls were always lacking something…a lightness?…that I desired. So I decided some research was needed to transform my just good recipe into a great one.
Dumpling soups hold a special place in my heart. My late father and I often made chicken and dumplings together, a memory that is conjured no matter the type of soup I make. As I messed with the matzo balls, I found my eyes welling up at the memories of forming Bisquick dumplings with him. By the time I got to chopping up the onions for the stock, my real tears had overwhelmed my onion tears, and I remembered an old Calvin & Hobbes comic:
What can I say? I’m a sentimental type, as you will come to find out. As I told my fiancé later that evening, those were, after all, my happiest memories before now.
As far as the soup goes, I turned to one of my most trusted resources for finding my perfect matzo ball: Serious Eats. They ran a series of tests on various matzo ball tips and tricks to dispel any myths on how to cook the best matzo balls. It turns out that there are many preferences on how dense people want the matzo ball, with my preference being on the lighter side (the fiancé’s preference is simple: tasty. Go figure.) I used seltzer water, as suggested in the article, and agreed it was pretty spot-on to the texture I like: light and airy, but with some chew.
As the article goes on to state, the second most important aspect of your matzo ball soup is the stock. I didn’t feel like toiling over the stove to make stock, so I decided that I was going to use my slow cooker to fill in the gap here. This created an easy, but fabulous, stock that could simmer all day long in your slow cooker while you’re at work to which you will just add the matzo balls to at upon returning home.
Maybe this recipe isn’t the best matzo ball soup there is, but it certainly checked two boxes: 1. Tasty and comforting; and 2. the perfect matzo ball texture. As a result, this recipe will certainly make it into my “must-repeat” for another rainy day when I’m craving comforting chicken soup and a walk down memory lane. And the fiancé approved too!