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How cookbook author Jackie Alpers makes matzo ball soup — the Sonoran way

The Jewish holiday Passover begins Wednesday evening at sunset. The eight-day celebration marks the liberation of the Jewish people from slavery in Egypt with a multi-course dinner party called a seder.

Bitter herbs are dipped in salt water as a reminder of tough times and tears shed. There’s a lot of wine. And you’ve probably heard of matzo, an unleavened cracker symbolizing the bread baked in haste during the exodus. 

But if you ask Jackie Alpers, matzo doesn’t taste like much.

The cookbook author and photographer moved from Ohio to Tucson decades ago and discovered the joys of Sonoran cuisine in the kitchen of El Charro restaurant, where she worked for several years. So it was only natural that eventually the flavors of her adopted hometown would make it into her Passover dishes — including matzo ball soup. 

Alpers recently shared with The Show how she doctors her version of the chicken soup dumplings to make matzalbondigas — a mashup of matzo balls and albondigas, a traditional Spanish meatball soup.

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Nick Sanchez is a senior producer for KJZZ's The Show. He joined the station as an intern during the spring of 2022, where he developed a passion for audio storytelling in the Valley.