Tag Archives: Roasted Root Vegetable Stock

Magnificent Matzah Ball Soup, Vegan, Vegetarian or with Chicken Stock

Finished Matzah Ball Soup just waiting to make someone’s tummy super happy


  • three to five carrots cut into small rounds
  • one large onion or two leeks, cut finely
  • one fennel bulb, cut into thin slices or small chunks
  • white turnips (small delicate kind that look like radishes are better, but if you cannot find those, one fresh white turnip, cut into small chunks)
  • one rutabega or parsnip, cut into small chunks (optional)
  • two to three stalks of celery cut into small pieces or slivers
  • three to six cloves of garlic, minced or finely chopped
  • 1/4-1/3 cup olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • fresh turmeric root (finely grated or micro-planed) or powder if you cannot get the root
  • finely chopped fresh herbs (tarragon, parsley, oregano, dill)
  • Matzah Ball Mix (I use a package, and don’t make my own mix, the package version just makes better Matzah Balls than I find I can with my own mixing of plain matzah meal and other ingredients.
  • two to four eggs

In a large stockpot/soup pot heat the olive oil. Add the chopped onion and/or leaks and sauté for at least ten minutes, then you can add the chopped garlic and some freshly chopped turmeric and let that cook together for another five minutes or so, then you can add the carrots, turnips, celery and fennel. Sauté all of these veggies together for ten to fifteen minutes and add a bunch of the freshly chopped herbs. Then add whatever stock you are using, chicken or veggie.


This recipe requires using a good stock. If you are vegetarian or vegan, use my Roasted Root Vegetable stock, or your own version of a robust vegetable stock. If you have cooked a chicken, you always want to save the bones. If you don’t have time to deal with making stock, throw them in the freezer until you do. To make a simple easy and healthy chicken stock, put the chicken carcass and bones and whatever is left over from your cooked chicken into a large pot of water; you will be boiling this for at least an hour or two, so fill the pot to accommodate the fact that the amount will reduce. Then strain the liquid into another pot, and let cool down and refrigerate or freeze the liquid. Once the chicken bones have cooled down you can pick off all the remaining chicken and freeze this too or use in a chicken salad or add to another soup.

Matzah Balls:

I use the mix, as I said earlier, but I amend it, of course. I learned this trick from my brother Paul. Add turmeric, either fresh or ground, freshly and very finely chopped dill, parsley, tarragon, oregano, etc. The turmeric makes these matzah balls a gorgeous color, plus adds yummy flavor. You have to make the matzah ball mixture ahead of time as it needs to rest in the fridge for at least fifteen minutes or more. I also add a few teaspoons of the stock I’ve made in the mix, even though the instructions on the box don’t necessarily call for that.

Matzah Ball mix with added herbs, a drop of Maldon smoked salt, turmeric, eggs etc. This mixture gets covered and refrigerated for at least 20 minutes before you can use it to make matzah balls.

You also need to have a separate large pot of boiling water handy. Once your matzah ball mixture has cooled down, you will be forming the balls and dropping them into the very hot, rapidly boiling water and covering them. They need to cook in this water for at least twenty minutes or so. I then transfer them to the soup so they gather the flavors. I only do this the day I’m serving it. If you leave the Matzah Balls in the soup, they absorb the liquid and you don’t have so much soup left. If done correctly, the balls will float and be light and delicious. I hope they turn out this way for you.

Matzah Balls floating to the top of the hot water that has been boiling and covered for 20 minutes.

I do not know how to make a vegan matzah ball, you can try using an egg replacer of some kind or as my friend Bel-Ami Margoles suggests, just make the Vegan version of this soup and have the Vegans throw in some pieces of matzah to their soup. You can get gluten-free matzah as well, so if you are gluten intolerant and vegan or any combination of these you can try that. The soup itself is delicious, whether it has a Matzah Ball in it or not.

My parents’ table in San Diego, ready for soup to be served once folks sit down.


Batata Ben Lamoun-That’s Potato Lemon Soup to you!

Batata Ben Lamoun soup in a Fire&Light dish, next to coasters made by Paul Barchilon
Batata Ben Lamoun soup in a Fire & Light dish, next to coasters made by Paul Barchilon

Ingredients: for a large pot of soup, you can cut in half for a smaller soup, but it freezes well and most folks want seconds and thirds. This recipe was adapted from Sephardic Cooking: 600 Recipes Created in Exotic Sephardic Kitchens from Morocco to India by Copeland Marks (in my top ten cookbooks list).

  1. 4-6 carrots (large)
  2. 6-8 stalks celery
  3. 6-12 Yukon gold or other yummy potato (peeled and sliced or cut into chunks so that they will cook fairly quickly and mash down)
  4. olive oil
  5. 8 or more cloves of garlic (prepared properly with the centers removed)
  6. juice of 2-3 lemons
  7. 1/2-1 tsp turmeric
  8. salt to taste (use good salt)
  9. Several quarts of water or if you have time make Roasted Root Veggie Stock (see recipe for this nested in my post for Brazilian Sweet Potato, Tomato and Carmelized Onion soup).

Fill your soup pot 3/4 of the way full with water, or stock. Place on stove and start the heat. In a food processor grind up the carrots and celery. Add them to the water and let the whole shebang boil vigorously. Skim the scum off the top and discard.

Serious scummy stuff
Serious scummy stuff


Removing scummy stuff from the soup
Removing scummy stuff from the soup

In a small saucepan heat the oil on low and add the garlic, cook until foamy. Don’t let the garlic get brown. Add this to the scum-free soup, turn the heat to medium, let cook for 5–10 minutes. Add potatoes and cook on low to medium for twenty minutes, stirring occasionally. Soup is ready for the other ingredients when you can mush up the potatoes in the soup with a masher. Mash up the potatoes in the soup, then add the turmeric, lemon juice and a salt. This soup is better with mashing then with food processing. You want to have small bits of potato and carrot and celery, occasionally engaging with your spoon. My daughter doesn’t food process the celery and carrots, she just cuts them really tiny. I do prefer my version, but go ahead and try hers if you want. Let the flavors blend together and cook at least another ten minutes after you’ve mashed the potatoes in the soup, serve with other yummy foods, Esti’s Parsley, Garlic, Lemon, Jalapeno Supremely Special Sauce or by itself with bread.

Brazilian Sweet Potato, Tomato and Carmelized Onion Soup

The Eye of Ha-Shem to Bring you a taste of Heaven, like this soup will!
The Eye of Ha-Shem to Bring you a Taste of Heaven, like this soup will!
Sopa do Batata Doce (Brazilian)

I got this recipe from an old Boulder High School buddy, who is a foodie like me. We are still good friends. I love it when folks bring me new recipes. He uses chicken or beef stock, but since my husband is vegetarian, I usually make all dishes vegetarian unless I know he won’t be eating them. If you make the Roasted Root Vegetable Stock recipe below, like I do, you will not miss any flavor. If you don’t have time to make this stock, make sure and use some kind of vegetable or other stock, even if it is something from the store (for shame!). It really gives this soup a better flavor.

2-3 white sweet potatoes (sometimes called Hannah or Japanese sweet Potatoes, you can also use the orange kind, but it is better with the white ones)
2-3 onions
4-6 medium flavorful tomatoes
4-8 Tablespoons unsalted sweet butter

4-8 or more cups of Roasted Root Vegetable Stock or stock of your choosing.

Roasted Root Vegetable Stock:

Wash well all the veggies. It is better to not peel any of them for this stock. Chop up a bunch of veggies, I use carrots, celery (including the tops with the leaves), onions, turnips, parsnips, mushrooms, etc.. big chunks are fine. Combine all of the veggies in a large bowl and toss with some olive oil, salt and pepper and some fresh herbs like parsley, (stalks and all) and don’t forget several cloves of garlic.

Throw all of this onto a baking sheet and bake at 350-400º for about an hour. During that hour use a large spoon or spatula and move the veggies around a few times. Start a large pot of water to boil on your stove and dump all of the veggies into it. At this point I add chard or beet greens or kale, just a few leaves chopped up. Let all of this water and veggies boil and simmer for at least an hour, if not more. Strain the veggies through a colander with cheese cloth or a very clean thin dish towel over a strainer into another large bowl or pot. You can use a pan or spoon to press out all the good veggie juice into your strained stock. You can let this cool and freeze for future use or start making the soup, right now!
Peel and chop sweet potatoes
Simmer sweet potatoes in stock until cooked
Peel and chop onions and sauté onions in some of the butter until they are carmelized, which I think takes about an hour or more. You must cover the pan the onions are in and stir frequently and keep the flame on pretty low.
Chop tomatoes
Add tomatoes and onions to soup
Cook a few more minutes
Puree the soup
Add the rest of the butter
Add good salt and pepper to season
Garnish with parsley or use some of Esti’s Parsley Sauce to spice this up a bit.