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by Lior Lev Secarz

La Boite Matzah Ball Soup


Spices, stuffing, and apples make for a fun twist on traditional matzo ball soup.


Matza Ball Dough 

1 1/4 cups matzo meal 

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil 

2 teaspoons fine sea salt 

1/4 teaspoon finely ground cubeb pepper or Tellicherry pepper 

1 tablespoon nigella 

1 large egg

The Filling 

1/4 pound ground chicken 

1/8 teaspoon ground fennel 

1/2 teaspoon orgeat (almond syrup), or 1 drop almond extract 

1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt 

1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


1/3 cup olive oil or rendered chicken schmaltz 

2 Granny Smith apples, peeled and cut into 1-inch matchsticks 

2 Golden Delicious apples, peeled and cut into 1-inch matchsticks 

2 1/2 tablespoons Calvados (apple brandy) 

3 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth, for serving 

2 teaspoons nigella, for garnish 

1 teaspoon Aleppo chili flakes 

12 teaspoon of fine seal salt


For the Stuffed Matzo Balls 

In a medium bowl, combine the matzo meal, oil, salt, pepper, and nigella seeds. Add 1 cup boiling water and mix well to incorporate. Add the egg, incorporating quickly to avoid partially cooking it. Using wet hands, form the dough into 12 equal-size disks and reserve. 

In a medium bowl, combine the chicken, fennel, orgeat or almond extract, salt, and pepper. Using wet hands, form the mixture into 12 equal-size balls. Place a ball of filling on a matzo-meal disk and pinch and roll the edges together to form a ball. Repeat with remaining filling and matzo-meal disks. 

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Gently add the stuffed matzo balls, reduce heat, cover, and simmer until matzo balls are cooked through and float, 20 to 25 minutes. 

Cook the Apples 

In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, heat the oil. Add the apples and sauté until slightly softened, about 5 minutes. Add the Calvados and stir, scraping up any bits on the bottom of the pan, until most of the Calvados has evaporated, about 2 minutes. Remove apples from pan and reserve. 

Assemble the Soup In a pot, heat the broth until just simmering. Divide the apples among four soup bowls, then ladle broth and matzo balls into each bowl. Garnish with nigella seeds before serving. 

Serves 4.

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