|Photograph by Anna, May 2011|
Last week, when Hanna was recovering from a nasty spring cold and Anna was in the final throes of her thesis presentation preparations, we were looking for bland comfort food that we could make without going to the grocery store. (The “not going to the store” bit was vital). What we came up with was a surprisingly tasty variation of lentil soup spruced up with matzo balls. You could probably make your own, but we just put ours together from a mix picked up at the local kosher grocery.
Beyond Basic Lentil Soup:
1 cup dried lentils
3 cups of vegetable broth (can substitute water + vegetarian bouillon)
1 can diced tomatoes
1 bay leaf
Salt & pepper to taste
You can obviously use this as a base to improvise upon. Like garlic? Onion? Fancy curry spice and some raisins? Have at it!
1. Heat broth in soup pan and add lentils and bay leaf. Cook until soft (usually 20-30 minutes). You can work on the matzo balls while the lentils cook.
2. While lentils are cooking, prepare matzo ball dough.
3. Set water to boil for matzo balls. This should be in a pan deep enough to boil the matzo balls and it should have a cover, preferably with some sort of vent for steam.
4. Add tomatoes and salt and pepper to the lentil mixture. Leave to simmer, stirring occasionally to make sure the lentils still have enough liquid.
5. When the water for the matzo balls boils, wet your hands and roll the matzo dough into walnut-sized balls. Drop them into the boiling water. They will sink to the bottom and then fairly quickly rise to the top in the boiling water. Turn the heat down to a gentle boil and leave for half an hour to cook.
6. Drain the matzo balls. Dish up the soup and spoon desired number of matzo balls into each bowl (I recommend more rather than less).
7. Top with cheese as desired (yum!). Serve hot.
This also makes excellent leftovers, reheating in the microwave beautifully in about 2 minutes. We recommend storing the cooked matzo balls separately from the soup, so that they don’t just turn to mush.