Chicken Soup and Matzo Balls

A bowl of matzo ball soup is like Jewish echinacea

 

INGREDIENTS

Matzo Balls

METHOD

A bowl of matzo ball soup is like Jewish echinacea. In fact, do a double- blind taste test and I think you’ll find this golden broth goes a long way to healing what ails you, heart and soul. (But especially soul.)

  1. Put the chicken in a very large pot and pour in about 12–14 cups water, making sure clucky is covered. With the stockpot uncovered, bring to a boil, using a slotted spoon to skim and discard the foam that accumulates. Reduce the heat to a simmer and add the whole parsnips, celery, onions and carrots and the salt and pepper. Cook, partially covered, for at least 2 hours (3 hours is better, though). Skim occasionally as foam appears. With about 10 minutes to go, toss in the parsley and dill.
  2. For a pristine broth, remove the chicken, veggies and herbs from the pot and set aside. Strain the soup through a sieve or colander lined with cheesecloth (or a double layer of paper towel), returning the clear broth to a clean pot. Shred or slice the chicken; discard the onions, celery and parsley; and roughly chop the carrots and parsnips and add them back into the soup before serving.
  3. To serve, spoon a ladle or two of broth, then add a few pieces of carrot, parsnip, a bisl of chicken (use the rest for chicken salad sandwiches tomorrow) and a sprig of fresh dill into each bowl. This is even better bejeweled with a couple of matzo balls, meat kreplach or egg noodles Shabbat shalom.

Matzo balls (aka kneidlach) are the iconic Jewish recipe. People may not know a single Jew or a single thing about Judaism, but they will know what matzo balls look and taste like. And they usually want to know a little more about the Jewish culture once they’ve tried them (they’re that delicious). These are fluffy and flavorful, spiked with fresh parsley. I could be overselling them, but you may want to convert, is all I’m saying.

  1. In a large bowl, stir together the eggs, matzo meal, oil, salt, pepper, parsley and baking powder. Add the soda water and use a rubber spatula to mix well. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour.
  2. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, then lower heat to a simmer. With wet or oiled hands, gently form the matzo mix into golf ball–size balls, dropping them into the water as you go. When all of the matzo balls are formed and cooking, cover the pot and gently simmer for 35–40 minutes, or until cooked through and soft.
  3. Remove from the liquid with a slotted spoon and serve in chicken soup. You can also make them 1 day in advance and keep them covered in the fridge, warming them up in the soup.

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