After my last post (January 6, 2014) I decided that my first draft of Minestra Dayenu had in fact not been enough, and that I needed to attempt it one more time. After finding only a few very vague descriptions in books and getting a little bit more information from individuals through text and email, I decided to tackle Minestra Dayenu once again. This time around I tried to keep closer to the true basic descriptions that I had read by leaving out the chicken dumplings. The result was a nice creamy soup that reminded me of a Greek Avgolemono, but without the lemon juice. The trick (I found) was in doing two things: tempering my egg yolks in some warm water before adding it to the hot broth, and adding my matzah strips to cook in the broth only one minute before serving. These two crucial steps helped me to prevent the eggs from cooking into a stringy mass (like egg drop soup) and to soften the matzah just enough so that they didn’t disintegrate. The result was a creamy, simple, and comforting soup that can be served either as a starter for the Passover meal, during the week of the holiday for lunch, or even as a final dish on the last night of Passover to use up extra matzah pieces. Either way, it’s a treat!
Yield: Serves 8 / Makes about 16 cups
15 cups plain chicken broth
Fine sea salt
(amount will vary according to how salty broth is)
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/8 to ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
8 large egg yolks, lightly beaten
1 cup warm water
4 square matzah (regular, not egg, not thin),
broken into strips about 6 inches long and 1 inch wide
Extra ground cinnamon
Measuring cups and spoons
1. Pour broth into a large soup pot and bring to a boil, uncovered, over high heat.
2. Lower to a medium heat and add the salt (as needed), cinnamon, and nutmeg. Simmer, uncovered, for 15 minutes. Turn off heat but leave on top of burner.
3. Combine the egg yolks with ¼ cup warm (not cold) water in a small bowl. Very slowly pour the egg mixture into the broth while whisking quickly at the same time to prevent the eggs from turning stringy like egg drop soup (mixture should look fine as if you had added flour).
4. (Note: If you are not serving immediately then wait to do this step until just before otherwise matzah will become too mushy when ready to eat.) Bring soup to a second boil over high heat. Reduce to a medium heat and add the matzah strips. Mix once and slow boil just until the strips become soft like pasta (less than 1 minute). Remove from heat and serve immediately in separate bowls sprinkled with a little bit of ground cinnamon.