This dish has been in rotation in our house for probably 15 years or so. It has survived every culinary trend -- and my own crazy proclamations about what we should or shouldn't be eating. I can remember making this in our first apartment where we ate mostly pasta, stir fry, grilled cheese, and, of course, matzo ball soup. What gives? Why does this dish have such staying power? It's hearty, delicious, and so simple to make. It's one of the few things (maybe the only thing?) that I make from a box mix. One of the only things I do to dress this up is to use extra virgin olive oil in place of the run-of-the-mill vegetable oil that the instructions call for. It really makes the matzo balls rich and delicious. We also cook the vegetable component separate from the matzo balls, so they retain some of their sturdiness and don't turn to mush during the 30 minutes that the matzo balls cook. The cold weather is setting in here in the South, so it's officially soup season. Try this one out. We think you'll like it. Vegetarian Matzo Ball Soup
1 package matzo ball mix (like Streit's) 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil (like Whole Foods 365 brand) 2 large eggs (beaten) 1 quart good-quailty vegetable broth (like Whole Foods 365 brand) 2 bay leaves 4 sprigs thyme 1 tablespoon unsalted butter (like Whole Foods 365 brand) 2 ribs celery (diced) 1 large carrot (diced) 1 large shallot (finely diced) 1/2 cup white wine (like pinot grigio) 2 tablespoons chopped parsley or fresh dill kosher salt and cracked black pepper (to taste) Make the matzo ball mix according to the package instructions, which call for vegetable oil (use olive oil here) and 2 large eggs. Set mixture aside in the fridge for 15 to 20 minutes. In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, bring the broth, bay leaves, and thyme to a boil. Remove the matzo mix from the fridge. Using a 1 tablespoon-size ice cream scoop, drop the mix into the boiling broth one at a time. Lower the heat to a simmer. Secure the lid and simmer for 30 minutes. Do not lift the lid during the cooking time; this is one of the secrets to making fluffy matzo balls. In a large frying pan over medium-high heat, melt the butter and add the diced celery, carrots, and shallots. Once they start to caramelize, deglaze the pan with the white wine and cook until most of the liquid has evaporated. Set aside until ready to serve. To serve, place 3 to 4 matzo balls into a bowl, ladle on enough broth to almost cover the matzo balls about halfway, add 1/4 of the vegetable mixture into the bowl, and garnish with chopped parsley, salt, and cracked black pepper.