My One and Only Family Recipe

I do not come from a long line of cooks. My mom is an awesome cook. My grandmother is a pretty good cook  which is amazing considering that both her mother and grandmother were terrible cooks with no love of the culinary arts which means we don’t really have family recipes except for our matzah balls. It is the only recipe that generations of Juettner/Bendit/Buchanan/Lander women share and it’s one of my all time favorite foods.

Traditionally matzah balls are made by using only matzah meal, matzah ground fine to mimic flour, but my family recipe is uniques because it also uses actual matzah. This recipe has been handed down by word of mouth so no actual recipe exists and few ingredients are actually measured. As I watch my mom making them, something I haven’t been brave enough to do myself yet, I’ll say things like, “So you add a tablespoon of sugar?” To which she responds, “Um I don’t know, that sounds like it’s probably right.”

I took pictures of my mom making them this year and I’m going to do my best to put an actual recipe together. It’s really hard to get an accurate measurement of the salt and sugar since my mom won’t be in your kitchen saying, “Yea that looks about right,” but start conservatively and give the mixture a taste as you go. The mixture should taste like a slightly sweeter version of the matzah itself.

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Buchanan* Family Matzah Balls

  • 6 sheets of matzah broken in to pieces
  • Water to cover matzah pieces
  • 3 eggs separated
  • 1 Tablespoon sugar (give or take)
  • 1 teaspoon salt (give or take)
  • 2/3 cup matzah meal (we think)

Break up matzah sheets in a bowl and cover pieces with warm water for about 20 second.

Drain matzah and mush together softened pieces with your hands to break up.

Beat egg yolks with fork. Mix egg yolks, salt and sugar in to mushed up matzah.

With electric beater, beat egg whites to soft peaks.

Gently fold egg whites in to matzah mixture.

Stir in matzah meal until mix begins to bind together. Do not overmix.

Form in to balls (larger than golf, smaller than tennis) with wet hands.

Refrigerate for a few hours.

Boil for 20 minutes in salted water.

Serve in chicken soup.

Yield 12-14 matzah balls

*In case you’re wondering how the most Scottish name of all time “Buchanan” got in to a Jewish family’s history, after my grandfather got out of Germany he made his way to England and joined the army there where his name was changed from Buchbinder to Buchanan

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