Vegetable Broth and Matzo Ball Soup
For the broth:
2-3 carrots, washed
2-3 stalks celery, washed
1/2 celery root, cleaned, well trimmed
1-2 parsnips, washed
2 leeks with greens, well washed
1 turnips, trimmed
1 large onion with skin, cut in half
15 cherry tomatoes, whole
1/2 bunch parsley with stems
3-4 sprigs fresh thyme
2-3 bay leaves
4-5 stalks dill
3-4 whole cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
juice of 1/4 lemon
2 tablespoons olive oil
Wash and cut up the ingredients into approximately 1-inch sections. Fill a 2-gallon pot with water to almost full, but leave enough room to add all the vegetables. Bring to a boil then simmer gently, covered, for 2-4 hours.
Strain the soup taking out the cooked vegetables. Use a fine strainer lined with cheesecloth or a moistened paper towel. Put back the strained soup into the washed out pot. Bring the soup to a boil, leave uncovered and reduce by about 2-3 inches or about 1 quart. This will intensify the flavors. Add salt, pinch of sugar, squeeze or two of lemon juice. Taste to correct seasonings. This will probably take more salt than you might think. Be careful not to make it too salty by adding the salt in small portions and continuously tasting. Add a couple of tablespoons of olive oil to the soup. You might have noticed that none was used and its addition adds a good amount of body to the soup. It's your choice though.
Additions - cut into a small dice about ¼-inch:
2 celery stalks
6 mushroom caps, peeled
10-20 green beans, trimmed
Add the diced vegetables to the clear broth. Don't boil at this point. Let the heat from the broth cook the vegetables and in that way they remain crispy.
Meanwhile, make the matzo balls.
6 eggs, beaten
1-1/2 cups matzo meal
½ cup oil (olive, sunflower, canola or grapeseed)
¾ cup water
2 tablespoons seltzer
1-1/2 teaspoons salt
chopped dill, optional
Beat eggs, add salt, fat and matzo meal.
Gradually add water and seltzer. Chill, well covered, at least 2 hours.
Wet your hands and make balls, either the size of golf balls or a bit larger. Or use an ice cream scoop to make the balls. After they cook they will increase in size.
Cook in a large pot an abundant amount of simmering salted water, covered, for 40 minutes without removing the lid.
Remove the matzo balls with a perforated spoon and add them to your soup. Let them cook in the soup gently to absorb the flavors. Add some chopped sprigs of dill. Taste again for seasoning.