Kismet’s Chard and Leek Matzo Ball Soup

Time2 hours
YieldsServes 8 to 10
Kismet’s Chard and Leek Matzo Ball Soup
(Evan Sung / For The Times)
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Chefs Sarah Hymanson and Sara Kramer of Kismet in Los Feliz share their take on matzo ball soup, shot through with a deep tartness courtesy of roasted lemons. We simplified their original stuffed matzo balls by stirring the flavorful chard mixture right into the batter. If you’re feeling ambitious, you can do as the pros do: Roll the matzo balls and cook the chard mixture, chill them separately, then poke a teaspoon of filling inside each ball before reclosing and cooking. You can make this vegetarian by substituting olive oil for the chicken schmaltz and vegetable stock for the chicken stock.


Separate the leek greens from the whites, and finely chop the leek whites; reserve the leek greens. Separate the chard leaves from the stems, then cut the stems and 1 cup leaves into thin slices. Reserve the sliced chard stems and leaves for the broth and reserve the remaining chard leaves for the matzo balls.


Make the matzo ball dough: Heat 2 tablespoons schmaltz in a large skillet over low heat. Once the fat begins to shimmer, add the leek whites, garlic, allspice and a half teaspoon salt. Cook, stirring often, until translucent, about 5 minutes.


Add the reserved chard leaves and cook, stirring often, until the leaves are soft and all the liquid has evaporated, about 5 minutes. Transfer the mixture to a cutting board, cool for 5 minutes, and finely chop. Transfer to a medium bowl and stir in the currants, pine nuts and lemon zest.


Whisk the eggs in a large bowl until frothy, then slowly whisk in the remaining 6 tablespoons schmaltz, followed by the matzo meal, baking powder and 1 ½ teaspoons salt. Stir in one-third cup chicken stock just until combined. Gently fold in the cooked chard mixture until evenly distributed. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or up to 8 hours.


Meanwhile, make the broth: Heat the oven to 400 degrees. Put the lemons on a small baking sheet and roast until caramelized with dark spots, 35 to 40 minutes.


While the lemons roast, combine the shallots, bay leaves, cinnamon stick, stock and reserved leek greens and chard stems in a large, wide saucepot or Dutch oven and bring to a simmer over high heat. Cut the roasted lemons in half and squeeze their juice into the broth, then add the rinds to the pan. Simmer for 30 minutes.


Strain the broth through a fine-mesh sieve, discarding the solids, and return to the saucepot. Stir in the mint and 2 teaspoons salt. Taste and add more salt if desired. Bring to a simmer.


Use slightly wet hands to form the chilled matzo ball mixture into 20 equal-size balls. Drop them into the simmering broth. Once they float, cover and simmer until the balls puff up, 35 to 40 minutes. Stir in the reserved sliced chard stems and leaves and simmer until tender, about 5 minutes more.


To serve, ladle the soup and matzo balls into bowls and garnish with the dill.

Recipe from Sarah Hymanson and Sara Kramer, adapted by Adeena Sussman
Make Ahead:
The chard mixture and broth can be refrigerated in airtight containers for up to 1 day. The matzo ball mixture can be covered and refrigerated for up to 8 hours.