Saffron Matzo Ball Soup With Sofrito

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This recipe is adapted from Bobby Flay's version. I was looking around for ways to use saffron matzo balls and thought it was so odd that Bobby Flay had this recipe, but figured it was worth a shot. I loved the the flavor of the matzo balls mixed with the rich broth and the sofrito, just perfect. You can keep the sofrito out so that only those that want it get it if you have picky eaters, but everyone will love the matzo balls.

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  • 8-10 ServingsServings

Ingredients

  • 4 large eggs
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup seltzer
  • 1/4 cup chopped parsley
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • pinch saffron
  • 1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  • 1 cup matzo meal

Soup

  • 1 whole chicken, cut into pieces
  • 4 quarts water
  • 2 carrot stalks, peeled and cut into large pieces
  • 1 onion, quartered
  • 2 stalks celery, cut into large pieces
  • 1 large leek, washed well and cut into large pieces
  • 4 peppercorns
  • handful of parsley and dill
  • 4 whole garlic cloves

Sofrito

  • 2 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 small onion
  • 1/2 cup quartered cherry or grape tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup diced red bell pepper
  • 1/2 cup diced green bell pepper
  • 2 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • pinch saffron
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes

Preparation

To make the matzo balls: Whisk the eggs, oil, seltzer, parsley, salt, garlic powder, saffron and pepper in a medium bowl. Add matzo meal and mix well.  Cover with plastic wrap, pressed tightly against the batter and refrigerate for at least 1 hour, or overnight.

To cook the matzo balls: Bring a large pot of salted water or chicken broth to a boil over high heat. Moisten your hands lightly with water and form the matzo mixture into 10-12 balls. Carefully drop the matzo balls into the water or broth. Reduce the heat to medium and partially cover. Simmer gently until the matzo balls are cooked through, about 40 minutes. Using a skimmer transfer to soup when ready to serve or store.

Meanwhile, make the soup. Bring the chicken pieces and water to a boil in a large pot over medium-high heat.  Add the rest of the soup ingredients and reduce heat to simmer.  Cook partially covered, until the chicken is tender, about 25 to 30 minutes. Remove the chicken from the soup. Remove and discard the skin, shred the meat into bite-sized pieces, and reserve the meat until service. Return the remaining bones back to the broth and simmer for 20-30 minutes more to further develop the soup's flavor.

While the soup is simmering, heat the oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add the onion, tomatoes, red and green peppers, cilantro, garlic and saffron. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables in the sofrito are tender, but not browned, about 8 minutes. Add the red pepper flakes, if using. Set the sofrito aside.

When ready to serve, strain the soup and discard the bones and vegetables (keep any vegetables you like, I kept the carrots) return the soup to the pot and stir in the sofrito and chicken pieces. Add the matzo balls and simmer until the matzo balls are heated through, about 5 minutes. (The soup and matzo balls can be prepared up to 2 days ahead, cooled, covered, and refrigerated. Reheat before serving.)

Note: Some may consider saffron to be kitniyot on Passover, consult your Rabbi.