Matzo Ball Soup with Black Garlic

Just because I’m a Jewish chef doesn’t mean I was born with a natural talent for matzo balls. Early on in my...
Matzo Ball Soup with Black Garlic

Michael Persico

Just because I’m a Jewish chef doesn’t mean I was born with a natural talent for matzo balls. Early on in my career, I was hired to cater an upscale Passover meal, and I put foie gras matzo balls on the menu. I cooked hundreds of dollars’ worth of foie gras, using the rendered fat in the matzo ball mix and then stuffing each ball with a little nugget of the liver. The matzo balls fell apart and ended up in the garbage can.
There are a lot of theories on how to produce fluffy matzo balls, from folding in whipped egg whites to lightening the mix with seltzer. For my money, a little bit of baking powder does the trick nicely. Matzo balls are comfort food, and there is something warm and comforting about black garlic. Like soy sauce, its fermented taste both elevates and deepens the broth. Like tamarind, it has a rich sweetness balanced by enough acidity to keep it in the savory realm. Fortified with the black garlic, this soup is how I always imagine Passover in Southeast Asia would taste.

From Zahav: A World of Israeli Cooking, ©2015 by Michael Solomonov and Steven Cook. Reproduced by permission of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. All rights reserved.


For the Matzo Balls:

  • large eggs, beaten
  • 2  Tablespoons  schmaltz, at room temperature
  • 1/2  Cup  matzo meal
  • 1/2  Teaspoon  baking powder
  • Pinch ground cinnamon

For the Broth:

  • quarts chicken stock
  • carrots, sliced
  • stalks celery, sliced
  • black garlic cloves
  • 1  Teaspoon  kosher salt
  • Chopped fresh dill, for serving


For the Matzo Balls:

Combine the eggs and schmaltz in a medium bowl and stir until blended. Add the matzo meal, baking powder, and cinnamon and mix well. Using wet hands, tear off golf ball-size pieces of the dough and shape into rounds.

Bring a lightly salted pot of water to a boil and cook the matzo balls for 30 minutes, or until cooked through (cut one open to be sure).

For the Broth:

Combine the stock, carrots, celery, black garlic, and in a large pot. Bring to a simmer and cook for 30 minutes. Remove and discard the black garlic.

Ladle the broth into soup bowls and add 2 matzo balls to each bowl. Top with dill and serve.

Matzo Ball Soup Shopping Tip

Buy fresh herbs and spices to season your soup; fresh garlic, parsley, and thyme will enhance the flavor without being overpowering.

Matzo Ball Soup Cooking Tip

Most soups are better the day after their made. If possible refrigerate your soup overnight before serving.