I wasn’t raised in a Jewish family so wasn’t ever given the chance to experience some of the best, most flavorful, dishes that, thankfully, I was able to enjoy when I began visiting #TheRollAndRye deli in Culver City, CA with my father-in-law. Latkes, sweet noodle kugel, and matzo ball soup, if you haven’t had them made by a good Jewish cook, are treats you need to taste to appreciate!
When I married into the family I, not his Jewish daughter or granddaughter, was gifted with his Mother’s 80+ year old Jewish cookbook with his single request that I make noodle kugel for him. #DoneDeal
Fearing I couldn’t duplicate the soups he loved so well, until I came across this recipe in #Delish Magazine, I never attempted matzo ball soup. The lightness of the matzo balls makes them better than any I’ve ever tried.
SERVES 8 • TOTAL TIME 2 HR 30 MIN
FOR THE CHICKEN SOUP
- 2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 Onion, quartered
- 2 Carrots, cut into appx. 4” pieces
- 4 stalks celery, cut into appx. 4″ pieces
- 1 Turnip, quartered
- 1 Parsnip, cut into appx. 4” pieces
- 1 whole chicken, about 2 1/2 to 3 lb.
- 6 Cups (48 oz) homemade chicken broth
- 4 Sprigs fresh dill
- 4 Sprigs fresh flat-leaf parsley
- Kosher Salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
FOR THE MATZO BALLS
- 4 eggs
- 1/2 Cup melted chicken fat (shmaltz)
- 1/2 Cup Seltzer water
- 1 Cup Matzo meal
- 1 tsp. Kosher Salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
1. Soup: In a very large pot over medium heat, heat oil. Cook onion, carrots, celery, turnip, and parsnip, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are fragrant, about 2 minutes. Place chicken on top of vegetables and toss so chicken gets slightly covered in veggies and oil. Add broth and enough water to just cover chicken. Add dill and parsley; season with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, partially covered, 2 hours.
2. Remove chicken (shred for soup or reserve for another use). Reserve a few carrot pieces (to be sliced and added to soup later), then strain broth into a large bowl or measuring cup; season with salt and pepper. Discard remaining vegetables and herbs.
3. Matzo balls: In a medium bowl, beat eggs. Add fat and seltzer and mix well to combine. Add matzo meal, salt, and pepper and mix well, ensuring all matzo meal is incorporated into egg mixture. Refrigerate at least 30 minutes. 4. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Using a cookie scoop (for medium matzo balls) or ice cream scoop (for large matzo balls), form mixture into balls, smoothing by rolling between slightly wet hands. Drop each ball into boiling water. (They will sink initially but rise as they cook.) Cook until centers of balls are fully cooked through, 25 to 35 minutes. They’ll look dense and dark yellow in the center if they’re not done.
5. Add matzo balls to soup, or place into serving bowls and top with soup. Top with chicken (if using), reserved carrots, and dill.
TIP** Double the recipe and make a second batch of #MatzoBalls to freeze. After cooking the matzo balls, place them on a parchment-lined baking sheet and freeze. Once frozen, you can transfer to a resealable plastic bag. To prepare, drop frozen balls into boiling broth and cook until heated through.
TIP 2** Matzo balls are sponges for flavor: They soak up whatever is around them. All the more reason to make sure the stock they’re sitting in is as good as possible.
Recipe courtesy of JOANNA SALTZ – Delish Magazine, April 2022
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