Matzah Balls/Kneidlach: Classic & Vegetarian - meat, pareve

Posted by : Ruth Heiges

This is essentially the recipe which used to appear on the Manischewitz
matza-meal box, until they went "health" and eliminated the schmaltz.

2 Tablespoons rendered-down chicken fat (schmaltz)
3 lightly beaten eggs
1/2 cup matza meal
1 teaspoon salt
2 Tablespoons water
Chicken soup

Combine chicken fat and eggs in mixing bowl. 
Stir in matza meal and salt and blend well.
Cover and chill for at least 30 minutes.
With moist hands, shape into walnut-sized balls and drop into simmering
   chicken soup or a large pot of boiling water.
Simmer, covered, for 30 minutes.

I prefer making them ahead in water. I remove them to a collander; once
drained, transfer to a bowl. Note that this makes a fluffy matza ball.
Substituting oil for the schmaltz will make the knaidlach dense and
harder.

IMO, the quantity of schmaltz in this recipe is no great cause for alarm,
in health terms, and the flavor it lends to the final product is
incomparable.

For a _vegetarian_ version, substitute margarine. To better approximate
the flavor of schmaltz, finely dice a large onion. Saute' the onion on the
lowest-possible heat setting in about 6 oz. of margarine until the onion
is dark brown and crisp. Strain the margarine and use in place of
schmaltz. This will keep indefinitely in the refrigerator. 

To make schmaltz, I save the fat and skin which I pull and trim from
chickens in a container in the freezer, constantly adding to it with each
chicken. When there is enough for making schmaltz (at least 1/2 lb.), I
remove the whole lot from the freezer and slice it while it is still
partially frozen (easier to handle). For this amount, I use at least one
large onion; more is better. Place in a frying pan on lowest-possible
heat. The idea is for the fat to *melt* and to become infused with the
onion flavor. Saute' until the onions are dark golden brown, since they'll
continue browning from the intense heat of the fat.

If the skin is not yet totally crisped, I continue frying it separately,
after draining off the schmaltz and straining out the onions. The crisped
skin and onions are what are known as grieven/gribbenes.

Ruth

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