Updated: Mar 10
Schmaltzy matzo balls float in the world's best chicken soup, and you won't believe this lectin free swap for matzo meal. Make this soup for Passover.
Matzo ball soup! It's been a frequent request from many of my followers. But matzo meal, the unleavened bread crumbs used to make matzo balls, is made from wheat. So I've been scratching my head trying to find the perfect swap for matzo meal. Then I found it. It took a bit of imagination to come up with it. So, keep an open mind and read on to see what I used to make matzo meal.
This Christian girl loves a good, schmaltzy Jewish matzo ball. And, I once had a Jewish boyfriend tell me that for a schicksa, my chicken soup is one of the best he's ever tasted. Still talking about soup! So it seems only natural that I put those together and create the world's best lectin free matzo ball soup, right?
Matzo ball soup brings back the fondest memories of a landmark deli and bakery in Minneapolis called Lincoln Del. I can still hear the radio jingle in my head. The joint was founded in 1938 by a Romanian immigrant named Frank Berenberg. He was described as a foodaholic, and he was always creating (and eating) food. To that, I can totally relate and have channeled old Frank for this recipe.
The food at Lincoln Del was traditional deli with a twist. Sure you could get a corned beef on rye, and a great bowl of matzo ball soup. But occasionally and peanut butter and bacon sandwich found its way onto the daily specials. I remember the matzo balls at Lincoln Del being the size of baseballs and the stuff of local folklore. After more than seven decades of food and fun, the deli closed its doors in 2000. To my delight, Frank's great granddaughter published The Lincoln Del Cookbook with some of the best-loved recipes from the legendary bakery and deli.
As a rule, I don't look at other recipes while creating my own. But I took a little peek at the Lincoln Del's matzo ball recipe to make sure I got the basics down. A basic matzo ball has egg, schmaltz (chicken fat), and matzo (unleavened bread) crumbs. Once I had the basics, I set to work created the LFG matzo ball.
The biggest challenge was coming up with a non-wheat, lectin free equivalent for the matzo meal. Matzo is an unleavened bread that's more like a cracker. To replace matzo, I chose unsweetened LoveBird cereal. It's made from organic cassava and coconut flours, organic coconut oil, grassfed collagen, organic sweet potato, and salt. Crushed to a fine meal with a sharp food processor blade, these crunchy breakfast O's proved to be the ideal unleavened lectin free "bread crumb" for my matzo ball base.
Next, I addressed the schmaltz. While I could have taken the long road and rendered my own pastured chicken fat, this recipe is also about convenience. So I went with Epic duck fat. It ended up being just right for that distinct "schmaltzy" taste.
Of course, pastured eggs holds the balls together. And a little fresh dill put my own signature stamp of flavor on the LFG matzo balls. The chicken soup is very easy, as is the matzo ball recipe. I find myself making it week after week. My whole family loves it.
So let's get on with it. Let's make LFG matzo ball soup.
LFG "Schicksa" Chicken Soup
1/4 Cup Olive Oil
1 Pastured Boneless, Skin-On Chicken Breast (6-8 oz)
3 Organic Carrots (sliced and diced)
3 Organic Celery Ribs (sliced)
1 Clove Garlic (minced)
2 tsp Salt
2 tsp Pepper
6 Cups Boiling Water
LFG Matzo Balls
1 1/2 Cups LoveBird Unsweetened Cereal (finely crushed)
1/4 Cup Epic Duck Fat
2 Pastured Eggs
1 Tbsp Fresh Dill (chopped)
Step 1: Make Matzo Ball Dough
First, make a fine "matzo meal" by running an entire box of LoveBird unsweetened cereal through a food processor with a sharp blade. Run the processor for about 30 seconds until the meal is VERY fine. Next, in a medium bowl, whisk duck fat and eggs together until frothy. Add chopped dill and stir until evenly distributed. Finally, stir in 1 1/2 cups cereal meal. You may have a little leftover meal.
TIP: Save any leftover meal for later and mix it with butter and parmesan cheese for a crispy roast veggie topping.
Next, knead the matzo ball dough until smooth. With clean hands, grab about 1 1/2 Tbsp of dough and press and shape into a golf ball sized matzo ball. Repeat until all the dough is used up. You should have about 10 matzo balls. Set aside.
Step 2: Pan Sear the Chicken Breast
Put an enameled cast iron stock pot (I like Le Creuset), on a medium-low burner. Heat olive oil. Sear the chicken breast skin side down. Be sure to use a boneless breast with skin on. The skin adds valuable flavor from fat. Cover and sear 5 minutes. Turn the breast over and cook 5 more minutes until meat is just cooked through. Remove the chicken breast from the pot and set it on a plate. With two forks, shred the chicken breast and set shredded meat aside.
Step 3: Make the Soup
To the hot pot with oil and chicken drippings, add carrots, celery, garlic, salt, and pepper. Saute in the oil and chicken fat drippings until shiny and slightly golden brown. Add 6 cups boiling water. Turn soup down to a low boil.
Step 4: Cook Matzo Balls
Drop matzo balls into gently boiling soup. Lightly boil for 20 minutes until balls are cooked through. You'll notice the matzo balls will float to the surface quickly and flip themselves as they cook. So, no need to mess with them. Just let them do their thing.
To serve, ladle soup into bowls. Drop in shredded chicken and matzo balls. Garnish with fresh dill. Tell me this isn't the best (or only) lectin free matzo ball soup you've ever had.