While I really just have a complex relationship with cheese, most people assume that I, like many jews, keep kosher. For the uninitiated, the Kashrut is a set of dietary laws governing what jews should eat, and how they should prepare and prepare for meals.I take no issue with these practices. Some of my favorite things, like the practice of bathing daily and kosher-style deli derive from observation of the Kashrut, or "keeping kosher." However, observation of kosher law requires that most of what makes meat taste good is removed during preparation, and that some foods, like pork (bacon!), scavengers and bottom feeders (catfish!), and shellfish (shellfish!) are "treif," and unfit for consumption. I have enormous respect for people that go to significant lengths to observe the kashrut in an increasingly secular world, but as should be abundantly clear, keeping kosher falls strictly in the "not for me" column (bacon!). Nontheless, I extend my sincere apologies for my extremely unkosher interpretation of this jewish standard. Look away.
So, now that that's out of way, it turns out that you can make some really tasty jewish food with pig fat. Also, it's taken a few months, but here are our first balls!
Matzah balls are a surprisingly contentious subject amongst many jews; everybody's grandmother makes them a bit differently, and they range in consistency from light and fluffy to something vaguely akin to a shotput. I like mine somewhere in the middle - consistent, but not dense. The wonderful thing about all balls, however, is that they are largely fluid and take up the flavors of whatever they cook in. Traditional chicken stock with vegetables works well. It turns out that cayenne and smoked sausage also works pretty well.
1 lb Andouille or other heavily smoked pork sausage, 1/4" slices
1 Onion, chopped
1/2 cup chopped celery
First, make your balls:
Season 1/2 cup matzah meal with a bit of onion powder, garlic powder, and salt to taste. If you're lazy, the good people at Manischewitz make a decent mix that you can find in most kosher sections at your local grocer. Then for added kick, add cayenne, hot paprika, and chopped garlic for some flavor and texture. Don't overdo it! You're going to be added a lot of flavor during the cooking process, this is just going to accent it.
Schmaltz here - personally, I like my cardiovascular apparatus, but I suspect it would make for some delicious balls). You should have a fairly dense, uniform dough. With freshly washed hands, form the dough into 8 - 10 small, tight balls, not more than an inch in diameter. Don't worry, your balls will swell to over twice their size. Trust me. Refrigerate your balls (at least 15 minutes) until your stock is ready.
Once you're all set, add 2 quarts of chicken stock, stir, and quickly bring to a boil. Now, recover your balls from the fridge, and add gently to the boiling soup. Reduce to a simmer, and cook covered for 20 - 30 minutes. You should be all set. I don't promise that it'll look pretty, but it should taste great.
|Enjoy my balls!|