Today I officiated a soup wedding. It was a wedding between a lovely Italian groom and a lovely Jewish bride. With this talk of weddings, clearly I must be talking about a WEDDING SOUP!
But hold on a second there, my little dreidels and strombolis. The marriage of this wedding soup is INSPIRED by the classic and incredible Italian Wedding Soup (try mine) except THIS bride is bringing some Jewish flair to the pot!
Introducing JEWISH Wedding Soup!
Yes! You read that correctly! My Jewish Wedding Soup takes some core elements we love about its Italian counterpart and replaces the mini meatballs with, you guessed it, MINI MATZO BALLS! And not only are they super adorable, but they taste so full of flavor and have the perfect texture with each and every bite-sized bite. Not to mention, the broth is full of a rich and hearty flavor, packed with veggies and egg! It’s truly like a marriage of Italian Wedding Soup and Matzo Ball Soup.
So be prepared to be raised on a chair and do the Tarantella because this is going to be the hottest new soup to stand under the chuppah! So good, it’s AH-MATZING-BALLS!
Here’s How I Made It!:
Start off by taking a nice rinsed leek (and make sure to really rinse it within – they have a tendency to retain earth)…
…reserve only the bottom portion…
…and chop it up finely.
Now take a bunch of scallions…
…and slice them and divide into two parts: 1. The top, greener, softer section for the matzo balls and 2. The bottom, whiter crunchier section for the soup
This greener, softer section of the scallions is the part we want for the matzo balls so put the other white, crunchy section aside for later on.
Now go to the Instant Pot, add some butter and heat it up…
…until the butter’s all melted and bubbling.
Add in the leeks and green, soft scallions and let cook for a few minutes until the leeks begin to get crispy.
When done sautéing, pour the leeks, scallions and butter into a bowl and set aside (make sure you get every last drop of butter in there). Rinse the liner pot of Instant Pot and then dry it off and return it to the Instant Pot.
Now it’s time to make the matzo ball mixture. Take four eggs…
…crack them into a mixing bowl…
…and beat together with a whisk.
Then add in some kosher salt…
…and whisk together.
Now let’s put the matzo in the matzo balls! Take some matzo meal (this is NOT the same thing as matzo ball mix!)…
…and add it into the egg mixture.
Whisk/mix until nice and thick.
Do you think it’s strange to add Ginger Ale to the matzo ball mixture? If so, good. Being normal is boring.
Add it to the mixture…
…and stir it in.
Now we’ll add in that amazing leek/scallion/butter mixture…
…and give it all a final good stir.
Pit a lid on the bowl, pop it in the fridge to set for a solid 2 hours. (NO CHEATING! The mixture MUST be fully chilled and get super thick)
In the meantime, take some carrots and celery…
…and chop ’em up.
Just before the matzo ball mix is ready to come out of the fridge after firming up, create the soup by pouring in some chicken broth…
…adding in the carrots and celery…
…some seasoned salt…
…dried parsley flakes…
…and white pepper.
Stir the pot!
Now we’re ready to take that matzo ball mixture and make our mini matzo balls!
Take a 1/2 teaspoon measuring spoon as a sizing reference…
…scoop out some of the mixture…
…and with clean hands, roll it up…
…so it’s the size of a perfectly tiny matzo ball! It shouldn’t be any larger than a marble because matzo balls will expand when cooked!
As you roll each one, drop ’em right into the pot. Do this step rather quickly so that we can cook the balls shortly after dropping them into the pot.
Once all the balls are in the pot, give it a really good stir. If you wish to add in some uncooked chicken, do it now.
Lastly, take some baby spinach…
…and lay it ON TOP of everything in the pot. DO NOT STIR IT IN – JUST LET IT REST ON TOP OF THE SOUP! It may look like a lot but spinach cooks down into nothing but green strands. Secure the lid and cook at high pressure.
This step is optional but, in true form to an Italian Wedding Soup, I LOVE my Jewish Wedding Soup with a little micro-sized pasta! We are going to take some Pastina (which is the tiny star-shaped pasta and I STRONGLY suggest you use this kind)…
…boil it in a pot on the stove (remember those?), strain it…
…and set it aside. See how adorable these are? (We aren’t cooking this in the Instant Pot because it will absorb way too much of the broth and grow to be overcooked and mushy. Boil it on the stove in a pot if you want Pastina in your soup).
When done, stir everything together…
…and marvel at what you’ve just created because this is seriously incredible (and we’re not even done yet)!
Add in the reserved other, white/crunchy portion of the scallions from earlier…
…and stir it into the pot.
And for our final step, take another four eggs (but only use two full eggs and the egg WHITES from the other two)…
…add to a mixing bowl…
…and whisk until beaten.
Slowly pour the egg mixture into the pot…
…and stir immediately as you watch egg ribbons form!
Does this look beautiful or what? Take a ladle…
…transfer it to a bowl, spoon a desired amount of Pastina…
…and be proud of what you’ve just made – the most amazing food combination since french onion chicken!
This is a wedding you’ll ALL want to dance (and eat) at!
Enjoy! Mangia! L’Chaim!
The Mini Matzoh Balls:
- 6 tbsp (3/4 stick) of salted butter
- 1/2 cup of leeks, rinsed and finely chopped (use only the bottom portion and not the very green top)
- 1 bunch of scallions, thinly sliced and divided into two sections: 1. The top, greener, softer section (about 1/2 cup) for the matzo balls and 2. The bottom, whiter crunchier section (also about 1/2 cup) for the soup
- 4 eggs, beaten
- 1.5 tsp of kosher salt
- 1/4 tsp of black pepper
- 1/4 tsp of ground ginger
- 1 cup of matzo meal (NOT to be confused with matzo ball mix)
- 2 tbsp of ginger ale
- 2 quarts (8 cups) of chicken broth (I used 8 tsp of Chicken Better Than Bouillon + 8 cups of water)
- 4 medium carrots, diced
- 2 stalks of celery, sliced
- 1/2 tsp of ground nutmeg
- 1/2 tsp of white pepper
- 1.5 tsp of seasoned salt
- 1 tsp of parsley flakes
- 5-8 oz bag of baby spinach
- 2 eggs + 2 egg whites, beaten (optional, but I love this touch)
- 1/4 cup of Pastina (tiny star-shaped pasta and 1/4 cup goes a long way!)
- 1-2 lbs of chicken breasts (I didn’t use any as I feel the soup’s already got a lot going on!)
- Add the butter to the Instant Pot and hit “Sauté” and “Adjust” so it’s on the “More” or “High” setting. Once the butter’s melted, add the leeks and the greener, softer scallions and sauté for a solid 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Once done, turn the pot off and transfer the cooked/crispy leeks, scallions and every last drop of butter butter to a bowl. Set aside and clean the liner pot and then return it to the Instant Pot (we’ll get back to that a little later)
- Take a mixing bowl, beat the 4 eggs with a whisk and then add in the kosher salt, black pepper, ground ginger and whisk together well. Then add in the matzo meal and stir until thickened and then add in the ginger ale and mix well. Lastly, add in the leek/scallion/butter mixture and mix until well combined. Cover the bowl with a lid and pop the mixture in the fridge for a solid 2 hours until it becomes chilled and putty-like in texture
- Just when the matzo ball mixture is ready to come out of the fridge, return to the Instant Pot and add in the chicken broth, carrots, celery, nutmeg, white pepper, seasoned salt and parsley flakes. Stir well
- Remove the matzo ball mixture from the fridge. As said, it will be like putty. Using a 1/2 teaspoon measuring spoon as a tool, scoop matzoh balls of that size out of the mixture and (with clean hands) roll them into perfect little balls (think marble-sized and do not make them much bigger than this at all as matzoh balls expand when cooked). Do this quickly and drop them one by one into the broth
- Once all the mini matzo balls are in, give everything a really good stir (if adding in some uncooked chicken, do it now). Top with the baby spinach but let it rest on top of the soup and DO NOT STIR IT!
- Secure the lid and hit “Manual” or “Pressure Cook” at High Pressure for 10 minutes (be patient here as there is a lot of liquid and items in the pot and it will take a solid 10-20 mins to come to pressure). Quick release when done
- If making the Pastina, boil some lightly salted water on the stove in a pot and add in 1/4 cup of the Pastina. Boil for 4 minutes and then drain through a really fine colander or a sieve as this is microscopic pasta we’re dealing with here. (NOTE: We aren’t cooking this in the Instant Pot because it will absorb way too much of the broth and grow to be overcooked and mushy. Do it this way if you want Pastina in your soup)
- When the Instant Pot‘s lid comes off, add in the crunchier, whiter portion of the scallions and stir in. (If you used chicken, remove it, shred it and add it back to the pot). Then, (if using) take the other 2 eggs + 2 egg whites that were beaten together, add those to the soup and immediately stir in as egg ribbons form. The soup will now be ready to ladle into bowls and then topped with Pastina, if using
- Enjoy! Mangia! L’Chaim!
What is a matzo ball and what does it taste like? Great question! All textures and flavors of matzo balls vary depending on who makes it (some like them mild and others full of flavor; some like them very fluffy while others like them firmer), but they’re basically jewish dumplings and have the consistency of a meatball and the flavor of a firmed-up eggy-ball with flavors of ginger, onions, salt and pepper!
Make it vegetarian by using vegetable broth instead of chicken broth!
If you want to double the recipe, go for it – but only add an additional half to the matzoh ball mix instead of doubling that – the pot will be too full otherwise.
In addition to cooking the Pastina on the stove rather than in the Instant Pot (so it doesn’t absorb too much of the soup and become mushy), you can simply spoon as much as you wish into the soup ladled in your bowl!
If you have leftover soup and mini matzo balls, use a slotted spoon and transfer the balls to a separate container from the soup so they don’t become too soggy. When ready to reheat, bring the soup to a high temperature and drop the balls back in to reheat.
When rolling the mini matzo balls, you can use some vegetable oil or water on your fingers to avoid sticking (but the truth is, this mixture is so thick and easy to roll after it’s chilled, I didn’t even need to).
Want to try the inspiration for this soup? Try my classic (and the best) Italian Wedding Soup!