Matzah Balls with Fresh Herbs (Photo/Faith Kramer)
Matzah Balls with Fresh Herbs (Photo/Faith Kramer)

Herbal Matzah Balls and Balsamic Chicken: perfect for an intimate seder or a crowd

Sign up for Weekday J and get the latest on what's happening in the Jewish Bay Area.

How many guests will sit around your seder table this year? Whether you’re hosting an intimate gathering or a whole crowd, these expandable recipes will serve your guests well.

While they’re written to serve four to six, I’ve provided directions for doubling.

The Matzah Balls with Fresh Herbs work well in either vegetable or chicken soup and are light (they are definitely “floaters”) and two-bite size.

The Caramelized Balsamic Chicken’s pan sauce is tasty over potatoes, quinoa or Passover egg noodles. Kosher-for-Passover balsamic vinegar is available in kosher markets and online.

Matzah Balls with Fresh Herbs

Serves 4-6

  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 Tbs. and 2 tsp. oil, plus more for oiling
  • ½ cup matzah meal
  • ½ tsp. salt, divided
  • 1/8 tsp. ground black pepper
  • 2 Tbs. finely chopped parsley leaves
  • 1 Tbs. finely chopped dill fronds
  • 1 Tbs. finely chopped chives or dark green part of green onion
  • ¼ cup plain seltzer

Separate eggs. Set whites aside in small bowl. Place yolks in large bowl and beat. Add the 2 Tbs. and 2 tsp. oil, matzah meal, ¼ tsp. salt, pepper, parsley, dill and chives to yolks. Mix thoroughly. Gently stir in seltzer until combined. Beat egg whites with fork for 1 minute until foamy. Gently fold half of egg whites into batter. Repeat. Refrigerate for 2-3 hours before cooking.

When ready to cook, bring a large soup pot full of water with remaining salt to a boil. While waiting for water to boil, form matzah balls. Oil plate and hands. Pinch off about a tsp. of batter. Roll into a 1-inch ball. Place on greased plate. Repeat. (Do not over-handle or compress the balls as you shape them.) Batter will make about 20 matzah balls.

Once the water boils, add matzah balls. Lower temperature to a simmer. Cover and simmer for 30-40 minutes or until cooked through. Scoop out balls with slotted spoon and drain on racks set above rimmed baking sheets. Store in container in refrigerator in layers separated by wax paper. Simmer in chicken or vegetable soup to reheat.

Double up: Use two pots of boiling, salted water or cook in batches.

Caramelized Balsamic Chicken

Serves 4-6

  • 3 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • ½ tsp. salt, divided
  • ½ tsp. ground black pepper, divided
  • ¼ cup olive oil plus more to grease baking dish
  • 1 cup chopped red onion
  • 1 Tbs. finely chopped garlic
  • ½ tsp. crumbled dried oregano
  • 1 cup balsamic vinegar
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 2 Tbs. fresh chopped parsley or mint
Caramelized Balsamic Chicken (Photo/Faith Kramer)
Caramelized Balsamic Chicken (Photo/Faith Kramer)

In a large bowl, toss chicken with ¼ tsp. salt and ¼ tsp. pepper. Set aside. Grease large baking dish (approximately 9-by-13-by-2-inch pan). Heat oven to 350 degrees.

Heat ¼ cup oil in 10-inch fry pan over medium heat. Sauté onions until just soft. Add garlic, sauté until golden. Add remaining salt, pepper and oregano. Sauté 1 minute. Pour in vinegar and bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally. Adjust heat to keep at simmer. Stir in sugar and continue to simmer, stirring frequently, until mixture is thickened and syrupy, about 10 minutes. Immediately pour over chicken in bowl. Stir well to completely coat. Place thighs in single layer in baking dish. Pour any remaining sauce over thighs. Place in oven. Bake 40-50 minutes, or until thighs are cooked through (timing will vary), basting with pan juices as needed. Garnish with chopped parsley and serve with pan juices on the side.

Double up: Use a 12-inch fry pan for the sauce or make in batches. Use two baking dishes.

Faith Kramer
Faith Kramer

Faith Kramer is a Bay Area food writer and the author of “52 Shabbats: Friday Night Dinners Inspired by a Global Jewish Kitchen.” Her website is Contact her at [email protected].