A new season of Pati's Mexican Table premieres on WTTW at 4:00 pm and will be available to stream via the PBS app and wttw.com.
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There's a serendipitous confluence of events this weekend: the start of Hispanic Heritage Month followed by Mexican Independence Day on September 16, on which day a new season of Pati's Mexican Table premieres on WTTW at 4:00 pm and on the PBS app. Then there's also Rosh Hashanah, which begins the evening of September 15. The Jewish New Year might seem like an unusual thing to link to the others, but Pati Jinich of Pati's Mexican Table observes Rosh Hashanah; there's a sizable Jewish community in Mexico, as exemplified by Chicago's recently closed Mexican-Jewish bakery Masa Madre.
That community has integrated European and Middle Eastern flavors from their countries of origins with the Mexican flavors of their new homeland, as many immigrants do. Jinich's grandfather, for instance, loved chiles, so his wife sometimes incorporated them into her cooking, as in this matzo ball soup. She would make a steamed mushroom base with jalapeños, then add chicken broth and matzo balls for a tasty, globe-trotting dish. Try Jinich's adaptation of the recipe below.
Mushroom Jalapeño Matzo Ball Soup (Sopa de Bolas de Matzo con Hongos y Jalapeño)
1 cup matzo ball mix
2 tbsp parsley, finely chopped
1/4 tsp grated nutmeg
3/4 tsp kosher or coarse sea salt or to taste
4 large eggs
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 tbsp sparkling water optional, to make the matzo balls fluffy
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1/2 cup white onion finely chopped
1 garlic clove finely chopped
2 jalapeño chiles finely chopped, seeded optional, more or less to taste
1/2 lb white mushrooms wiped clean with cloth, sliced
3/4 tsp kosher or sea salt or to taste
8-10 cups chicken broth
1. In a large mixing bowl, combine the matzo ball mix, parsley, nutmeg, and 1 tsp of salt. In another small bowl, lightly beat the eggs with 1/3 cup of vegetable oil. Fold in the beaten eggs to the matzo ball mixture with a spatula. Add the sparkling water if you want the matzo balls fluffy, and mix until well-combined. Cover the mix and refrigerate for at least half an hour.
2. Bring about 12 cups of salted water to a rolling boil in a large soup pot. Bring heat down to medium and keep at a steady simmer. With wet hands, make about 1 inch balls out of the matzo ball mix and gently drop them into the water. Cover and simmer for about 25 to 30 minutes.
3. Meanwhile, heat a couple of tablespoons of oil over medium heat in a large cooking pot. Add the onion, garlic, and chiles and sauté for 4 to 5 minutes until they have softened. Incorporate the sliced mushrooms. Sprinkle the salt, stir, and cover with a lid. Steam the mushrooms for about 6 to 8 minutes.
4. Take off the lid and pour the chicken broth over the mushroom base. Once it is simmering, incorporate the already cooked matzo balls, without their cooking liquid, and serve.