Ben's Best Deli, NY, Matzo Ball Soup
Just in time for Passover, we’ve “stolen” Chef/Owner Jay Parker’s Matzo Ball Soup recipe, from the Original Ben’s Best Deli of Rego Park, NY. But it’s actually Jay’s grandmother we have to thank for this traditional comfort food recipe, because this and many of the other recipes used at the family-owned restaurant were originally his grandmothers. Ben’s Best is a slice of New York history, serving kosher deli meats and old world dishes since 1947, and it is one of the few delis that has achieved the accolade of receiving a top Zagat rating. All the traditional deli foods are available at Ben’s Best, from stuffed cabbage, mushroom barley soup, chopped liver, whole roasted chickens, turkey or beef brisket, and for dessert – kugal, just like grandma used to make!
The Zagat rating coincides with the publication of ‘Save the Deli’, by David Sax, which laments the loss of one of New York City’s oldest and most venerable institutions.
“We’re campaigning to help save the deli,” says a spokesman for Ben’s Best. “We’re trying to ride the wave! The neighborhood is changing but the strong are surviving and Ben’s Best is one of the hardiest among them. You can find Mexican, Thai and Italian but you can’t find a good kosher deli like ours. They are a dying breed with only about 21 notable ones left in the city’s five boroughs.”
About the chef: Today, Jay Parker continues the tradition of Ben’s Best which his father started, by hand curing the finest cuts of corned beef, pastrami, brisket and tongue that make the restaurant legendary. Born and raised in Queens NY, Jay took over the running of the deli from his father more than 30 years ago. Jay has made several TV appearances, including The Martha Stewart Show, (Martha said the pastrami at Ben’s Best was the best anywhere, as well as the latkes and hot dogs), and Fox Morning News and he has been asked to cater many prestigious events, including a luncheon for former President Bill Clinton.
Ben’s Best Gourmet Kosher Deli Restaurant and Caterers
96-40 Queens Blvd.,
Rego Park, NY 11374
718 897 1700
Matzo Ball Soup is served at Ben’s Best for $5.50.
This recipe makes 4 restaurant servings.
Matzo Ball Ingredients:
1/2 cup club soda
3 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 teaspoon salt
Black pepper, a pinch
1 cup matzo meal
Chicken Broth Ingredients:
1 sprig of fresh dill
16 oz chicken broth
2 carrots, peeled, chopped and steamed (optional)
Steal This Recipe® Step by Step Instructions for the Matzo Balls:
Beat the eggs in a mixing bowl. Add the club soda, mix in the vegetable oil, add the salt and pepper. Then add the matzo meal, and mix well.
Cover and refrigerate for one hour.
Fill a large pot with 4 quarts of water and one teaspoon of salt and bring to a boil.
After the water comes to a boil reduce the flame to low. (If the water is too hot the inside of the balls will not cook through and the outside will fall apart.)
Rub some vegetable oil on your hands to prevent the mix from getting too sticky.
Form the matzo balls with 2 tablespoons of mixture (the balls will double in size while cooking).
Place the balls into water.
Cook for thirty minutes, then turn off the heat, keep pot covered and let cool for ten minutes.
They should be tender when poked with a fork.
Steal This Recipe® Step by Step Instructions for the Matzo Ball Soup:
Bring the chicken broth to a boil, adding the carrots and lower the heat.
Re-heat Matzo Balls in chicken broth and serve, garnishing with fresh dill.