5 Chef-Tested, Mother-Approved Recipes

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Chef Jesse Schenker

Recette and The Gander, New York City

Mom: Randi Schenker
Dish: Chicken Soup
Pairing: Look for a Viognier-Roussanne blend rich in stone fruit flavors to pair with the matzo ball soup.

“At Recette, we’re running a play on my mother’s chicken soup,” says Schenker. “We make a really flavorful chicken consommé, then add three types of matzo balls: Kobe beef, spring garlic and bacon, and a classic matzo ball. Basically, it’s a ramped up version of a childhood favorite.” 

1½ quarts chicken stock
4 bunches lemon balm (can substitute mint)
2 eggs
2 tablespoons oil
2 tablespoons soup stock
1 teaspoon salt, plus a pinch
½ cup store-bought matzo ball mix
2 strips of bacon
4 sprigs of spring garlic
2 ounces Kobe beef (ground into a paste)

Bring the chicken stock to a simmer in a large pot. Add the lemon balm and keep covered over low heat.

In a bowl, beat the eggs slightly with a fork. Add the oil, soup stock and salt, and stir. Add the matzo mix gradually until the mixture thickens. Cover the bowl and refrigerate for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, cook the bacon until it’s crispy. Once ready, chop and set aside. Blanch the spring garlic in a pot full of boiling water until the shoots turn bright green, then shock the garlic in an ice water bath. Drain and chop.

Remove the matzo mix from the refrigerator. With wet hands, divide the matzo mix into three portions. For the regular matzo balls, roll at least 4 ¾-ounce balls, about the size of a nickel (they will expand in water).

For the spring garlic and bacon matzo balls, mix 1 tablespoon of matzo mix with 1 tablespoon of spring garlic and ½ teaspoon of chopped bacon. Roll 4 ¾-ounce balls, about the size of a nickel.

For the Kobe beef matzo balls, combine 1 tablespoon matzo mix with 1 teaspoon Kobe beef paste. Roll 4 ¾-ounce balls, about the size of a nickel.

The mixture will yield 12 matzo balls, 4 of each flavor. Using a slotted spoon, remove the lemon balm from the soup stock and bring the soup back to a boil. Add a pinch of salt. Once boiling, drop the matzo balls into the pot, cover and cook for 8 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat and allow to cool back to serving temperature.

To serve, place one of each kind of matzo ball into the middle of a bowl and ladle the hot stock in the center. Serves 4.

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5 Chef-Tested, Mother-Approved Recipes

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