Lemongrass Consommé

with Matzoh Balls,

Leeks, and Shiitake Mushrooms



March 2008


Chef Suzanne Tracht creates a traditional Passover favorite ─ with an Asian twist.


Suzanne Tracht is well recognized as one of the up and coming generation of women chefs in the United States. Born and raised in Phoenix, Arizona, Suzanne began her culinary career over 20 years ago at the prestigious Arizona Biltmore Hotel where she was trained by renowned chef Siegbert Wendler.  After finishing her apprenticeship in 1988, Suzanne moved to Los Angeles as line chef at the Century Plaza Hotel and the Hotel Bel Air. A three year stint at the acclaimed Campanile with Mark Peel and Nancy Silverton led to Suzanne's selection as head chef at the critically praised Jozu, where she developed a menu which melded Pacific rim flavors with the sensibilities of California cuisine.  She is the head chef and co-owner of Jar, and was named a Food & Wine "Best New Chef" of 2002.


Make the lemongrass consommé:

                4   stalks                  fresh lemongrass, root ends trimmed

                                                      and 1 or 2 outer layers discarded

                1   whole                  chicken (4-pound), cleaned and cut into 4 pieces

                2   stalks                  celery, trimmed and cut into 2-inch lengths

                1                              leek (white and pale green parts only),

                                                      cut into 2-inch lengths and washed well

                1   small                   white onion, peeled and quartered

                1   piece                   fresh ginger (2 1/2-inch-long), peeled

                2   cloves                 garlic, peeled

                1                              kaffir lime leaf, fresh or frozen

                1   small                   whole dried red chile (such as chile de árbol)

                1   teaspoon             whole black peppercorns

                2   teaspoons           kosher salt


1.   Cut off and discard top of each lemongrass stalk, leaving 6-inch stalk, then smash stalks with side of large heavy knife. Cut each stalk in half crosswise.

2.   In 8-quart stock pot over moderately high heat, combine all ingredients and 3 quarts cold water. Bring to simmer, skimming froth, then reduce heat to moderately low and gently simmer, uncovered, skimming froth occasionally, 45 minutes.

3.   Remove chicken, reserving for another use, then strain consommé through fine-mesh sieve into large bowl, discarding solids.

4.   If using consommé right away, skim off and discard any fat. If making ahead, cool consommé completely, uncovered, then chill, covered, and discard any solidified fat. (Consommé can be chilled up to 3 days or frozen 1 month.)

5.   Rewarm consommé before serving by bringing to gentle simmer in large pot over moderately high heat.)


Make the matzoh balls:

                4   Tablespoons       vegetable oil

                4   large                    eggs

                1   cup                      matzoh meal

                2   teaspoons           salt

                4   quarts                 chicken stock or low-sodium chicken broth

1.   In large bowl, whisk together oil and eggs. Stir in matzoh meal and salt until well blended. Stir in 1/4 cup stock. Cover batter and refrigerate until cold and firm, at least 20 minutes and up to 1 day.

2.   Line large baking sheet with plastic wrap or parchment paper. Using wet hands, very gently shape batter into about 16 balls, each about 2 inches in diameter. Arrange on prepared sheet.

3.   In large stock pot over high heat, bring remaining stock to boil. Gently drop balls into stock, return to boil, then reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer until balls are tender and cooked through, about 40 minutes. (Matzoh balls can be cooked up to 1 day ahead. Refrigerate stock and balls separately and rewarm balls before serving by simmering in stock 5 minutes.)



While the matzoh balls are cooking, poach the vegetables:

                1   large                    leek (white and pale green parts only)

             1/2   pound                  shiitake mushrooms,

                                                      stems discarded and caps thinly sliced

1.   Cut leeks crosswise into 2-inch lengths, then thinly slice lengthwise. Wash leek strips in bowl of cold water, agitating, then lift out and pat dry.

2.   In medium saucepan over high heat, bring 4 cups salted water to boil. Reduce heat to low, add leeks, and gently simmer, uncovered, until tender, about 7 minutes. Using slotted spoon, transfer leeks to small bowl. Add mushrooms to water and gently simmer, uncovered, until tender, about 10 minutes. Using slotted spoon, transfer mushrooms to second small bowl. Cover vegetables and keep warm. (Vegetables can be poached up to 1 day ahead and refrigerated, covered. Rewarm by simmering in water 30 seconds before proceeding.)


Finish and serve:

                                                Lemongrass Consommé, warm

             1/4   cup                      fresh Italian parsley, chopped

1.   Using slotted spoon, divide balls among 8 soup bowls. (Discard stock in which balls were cooked.) Top with leeks and mushrooms.

2.   Ladle warm consommé over and sprinkle with parsley.  Serve immediately.



Makes about 10 cups consommé / 8 servings.