The Passover seders disrupted my life in the usual fashion, but this year I tried something new. I made a vegetarian broth for my matzoh ball soup, hoping to rival my mother's homemade chicken soup. As my guide I chose the Moosewood Celebrates cookbook, that same volume that held the key to this Valentine's Day successful hazelnut chocolate truffles. It seemed promising that the base the recipe requests is their garlic peppercorn broth, one of "Moosewood's most often used stocks." And really, it's genius. Obviously garlic and pepper would go super well with matzoh balls.
After peeling all the cloves in three entire heads of garlic, I expected this soup to be the most garlicky foodstuff I had ever put into my body. To my horror, even after letting the flavors marry for two days in the 'fridge, the broth tasted bland, almost like commerical low-sodium chicken broth! It was pretty much the worst homemade broth I had ever made. To add insult to injury, the soup recipe asked for a ton of vegetables: carrots, celery, even fresh asparagus (in a nod to Passover tradition). I hadn't realized how small the ratio of matzoh ball to vegetable would be. In my bowl the vegetables were battling the matzoh ball for dominance every step of the way, which in my opinion is totally inappropriate. This soup isn't Primavera Soup, it's Matzoh Ball soup.
I was quite disappointed that my soup wasn't as good as the vegetarian soup-in-a-box my family buys me every year. I should have saved myself hours of effort and simply written a paper instead.
Garlic Peppercorn Broth:
3 heads garlic, peeled
3 stalks celery
some black peppercorns
some fresh parsley sprigs
3 bay leaves
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. dried thyme
10 Cups of water
To make the soup: strain the solids from the broth. Saute some vegetables, add the broth plus enough turmeric to turn it yellow, and at the last minute add sliced asparagus and fresh dill. Ladle over each serving of matzoh balls. Serves 4 to 8 unhappy vegetarian Jews.
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