So I’m not sure if you’ve gathered this about me based on some of my more recent posts (like White Chicken Chili, Loaded Baked Potato Soup, and My Favorite Chili Recipe Ever) …buuuuuut I really like soup.
Like, I reaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaly like soup.
Like I could eat soup every day and be totally happy with my life.
Although there are many soups I am quite fond of, for as long as I can remember, Matzo Ball Soup has always been one of my most favorites!. If you’re not familiar with Matzo Ball Soup, it’s essentially like a delicious chicken noodle soup, minus the noodles, plus matzo balls. Matzo, if you’re not familiar with it (which ,if you’re a child of the Rugrats generation, I find hard to believe – but ya never know) is an unleavened bread traditionally eaten by Jews during the week of Passover among other holidays, like Hanukkah!
Now, I don’t talk much about religion or faith – particularly on my blog. It’s just one of those things, ya know? But, in sum, although some of my family is Jewish and actively practices the religion, I wasn’t raised to follow any particular religion. I was just raised with faith. We celebrated Christmas… and sometimes I lit a menorah. I participated in a few Passover Sedars in my time, I learned to write my name in Hebrew, and I know what L’shanah tovah means.
My husband is Catholic, our wedding was Catholic, our children will be Catholic, and I’m confident when I say that there will come a day where I will be Catholic. Regardless of my choice of religion, I’m proud of my Jewish heritage. (Some people have a hard time separating those two and understand the difference. That’s pretty much why I don’t talk about it.) Ultimately, though, the extent of my Judaism is my constant use of Oy Vey in everyday conversation, letting my friends know if they’ve got a schmutz on their face, and my ability to make a perfect pot of Matzoh Ball Soup.
Every good Jewish girl (or lover of Matzo Ball Soup) knows the key…is schmaltz. Schmaltz is chicken fat. Yuppers! Chicken fat. You cannot make a perfect pot of Matzo Ball Soup in a day. You make the stock ahead of time, chill it, and remove the fat from the top of the chilled stock. That fat is what makes Matzo Ball perfection. Here is my recipe for Matzo Ball Soup.
Matzo Ball Soup
For The Stock
- 1 whole chicken, about 5 lbs, giblets removed
- 4 cups of low sodium chicken broth (I always use part chicken broth and part water when I make my stock for soups. I think it gives it a much richer quality. If you’re ambitious and confident in your stock making abilities, you can use all water)
- 4 cups of water
- 2 yellow onions, quartered
- 6 cloves of garlic, smashed
- 4 carrots, quartered
- 4 stalks of celery, quartered
- 6 sprigs of fresh thyme
- A big handful of fresh parsely
- 2 tablespoons of salt, or to taste
- 10-12 black peppercorns
- 2 bay leaves
Put everything in a large stock pot and bring it up to a rolling boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and let simmer gently for about an hour and a half to two hours – until the chicken is cooked through and shreds easily with a fork.
CAREFULLY remove the chicken from the pot and place it on a large cutting board (or something like it) to cool. Once cool, remove and discard the skin. Shred the meat with two forks and place in a container.
Strain the stock into a separate large stock pot. Let your stock cool to room temperature before placing it in the refrigerator to chill completely overnight. TIP: To cool your stock as quickly as possible to avoid the risk of any food born illnesses, one of my favorite tricks is to take an empty 2 liter bottle and fill it 3/4 with water and freeze it. Use the frozen bottle to stir the stock to cool it faster from the inside, out!
For the Soup
- 4 cups of chicken stock
- 1 yellow onion, diced
- 5 carrots, sliced into coins
- 5 stalks of celery, chopped
- 2 cups of cooked chicken, shredded
Add all of the ingredients except the chicken to a large stock pot. Bring the heat up to a boil and reduce it to a simmer. Let simmer for 30 to 40 minutes or until the vegetables are tender. Add the chicken during the last ten minutes of cook time to heat through.
For The Matzo Balls
- 1 box Manischewitz® Reduced Sodium Matzo Ball mix (both packets) (yes, I use mix and not just Matzo Meal – it’s pretty much the same the mix just already has salt and baking soda added it it)
- 4 eggs
- 4 tablespoons schmaltz (skimmed from the top of the chilled stock. it’s solid when chilled, so heat it in the microwave for about 15 seconds to liquify)
- 1 tablespoon finely minced parsley
- 1 tablespoon of onion, grated fine on a microplane
Whisk the eggs, schmaltz, parsley, and onion together until combined. Add both packets of matzo ball mix and mix until just combined. Place in the refrigerator to chill for at least 1 minutes, but up to an hour is kosher (heh…get it…nevermind).
To cook the matzoh balls, bring a pot a chicken stock up to a boil. Reduce the heat to a slight simmer.
Moisten your hands with a bit of cold water (I like to keep a little bowl of it handy to keep the matzo mixture from sticking to me) and gently form the matzo balls in your hand. They are deceiving and get much bigger once they start to soak up all of the liquid they are cooked in, so only make them about the size of a golf ball.
As you complete them, gently place the formed matzo balls into the simmering stock. Once all of the matzo balls are added cover the pot and let simmer for 20 to 30 minutes, or until they are cooked through.
To serve, ladle the soup into soup bowl and top with matzo balls. I like to start with 3. Sprinkle with a little fresh parsley.
Eat with friends and family and enjoy.