Matzo Ball Soup

Last November, we went to NYC for a few days and I had an awesome bowl of matzo ball soup at the Manhattan Diner, which was across the street from our hotel.  I’m not normally the biggest fan of chicken soup, but it came free with my sandwich so I figured I’d give it a try. Much to my surprise, I didn’t only like it – I loved it! Ever since, I have had the occasional craving for matzo ball soup. I tried some premade stuff from the grocery store, but it wasn’t the same and I knew that I’d have to try making my own. This weekend was rainy and a little on the chilly side, so I decided it was the perfect soup weather.

Not too long ago, I was watching throw down and the theme was matzo ball soup! Perfect! I definitely picked up a few tricks from the episode – like using schmaltz (rendered chicken fat) in the matzo balls. Bobby Flay also threw a jalapeno in his broth, which I thought sounded like a good idea. I wasn’t going to do it myself at first, but I hada chili pepper left over from another recipe and at the last minute I decided to throw it in to cut through some of the richness. It was a really nice touch – for the most part it was undetectable, but then once in a while you would get a little bit of the heat. Very nice.

This is definitley a weekend meal since it involves making broth from scratch. I did it all in one day, but it would be best spread over two days. If you make the broth ahead, you can allow it to simmer all day and really get a nice flavor (mine could have used another hour of so). You can also cool it enough to skim the fat off the top (I only had time to chill mine for about 2 hours, so it didn’t fully serperate). The next day, you just have to add the veggies, reheat, and make the matzo balls. Easy! You’ll have plenty of leftovers with this one- it makes a lot! Store the matzo balls seperate from the soup and add them just before reheating- otherwise they will soak up too much broth and turn to mush.

Matzo Ball Soup

  • 1 chicken (approx 4 pounds)
  • 1/2 c. fresh parsley, divided
  • 1/4 cup dill, plus more to garnish
  • 1 Tsp whole black peppercorns
  • 1 large onion, peeled and quartered
  • 1 turnip, peeled and quartered
  • 3 carrots, peeled and divided
  • 3 celery stalks, divided
  • 2 bay leaves
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/4 c schmalz (skim this off the top of the broth after you allow it to chill)- can also sub oil
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 c matzo meal
  • 1 large leek, chopped
  • 1 chili pepper, minced
  • juice of 1/2 lemon

Combine chicken, 1/4 c parsley, 1/4 c dill, onion parsnip, 2 celery stalks, 1 carrot, and bay leaves in a large stock pot. Go ahead and throw some onion skins in for color too. Cover with 10 cups water. Bring to a boil, then reduce and let simmer 1.5 hours. Remove chicken from stock. Remove chicken from bones, shred, and reserve. Discard skin. Return bones to pot. Simmer 2 more hours. Strain solids from pot and discard. Allow to come to room temperature before refrigerating several hours or overnight.

Skim off the layer of fat that has risen to the top of the broth. Reserve 1/4 cup.

Make matzo balls: whisk eggs in a medium bowl. Add schmaltz, 1/4 cup broth, a little dill, salt, and pepper. Stir in matzo meal. Cover and refridgerate 30 minutes. Bring a medium poot of water to a boil. Form matzo dough into 16 1-inch balls. Drop one by one into boiling water and allow to simmer about 15 minutes or until doubled in size.

Meanwhile, reheat broth, adding reserved chicken, 2 chopped stalks celery, 2 chopped carrots, leeks, remaining 1/4 c parsley and chili pepper. Allow to simmer 30 minutes, or until vegetables soften. Stir in lemon juice just before serving.

To serve, place 2 matzo balls in a bowl, then ladle in soup. Garnish with dill.

Yields approz 10 cups.

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I am submitting this recipe to Deb’s Souper Sunday’s (which now includes salads and sammies!) at Kahakai Kitchen.

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Two random tips I thought might be of interest – not sure if either of these are new, but they’re both new to me!

1) yogadownload.com is now offering several of the 20 minutes classes for free! These are really nice workouts for when you want something relaxing or are in a time crunch. I was actually going to download a new one today when I noticed they are free now! I get bored doing the same workout all the time, so this lets me mix it up very easily.

2) If you use google reader, you can easily set up a bookmark that allows you to click through your unread blogs by visiting the actual pages! I love that it saves me from having to click through if I want to comment, plus I really prefer looking at the actual pages rather than reading the posts in the reader. The instructions to set this up are under settings and then goodies. The only downside is that I don’t think you can star posts (but you can just bookmark them instead if you want to remember to go back!)

Comments

  1. I think you did an excellent job on a NYC classic – it is addicting and simply seeing your pictures made me crave it all over again…

  2. I’ve always wanted to try matzo ball soup and you have me sold. Your looks so delicious ans full of flavor. Complete comfort food!

  3. LOVE matzo soup- and yours looks awesome. Very cool that your husband is going to UMD!

  4. I’ve never tried matzo soup!! looks great– definitely a weekend meal :)

    Great tip about Google reader! I’ve always hated that about readers– they organize great, sure, but I like to comment! I’ll have to try your technique.

  5. I was so happy to see that episode. I love this and the only time I made it my matzo balls felt like lead in my stomach. Yours looks really great, especially with your home-made stock!

  6. YUM! I have always been tempted to buy matzo at the Israeli grocery store down my street but am intimidated when it comes to matzo…growing up, it just wasn’t a staple in our Italian kitchen : )

  7. Doggy- mine wasn’t as god as therir, but it was still pretty good!
    Katherine- yes! total comfort food. My allergies were bothering me today and the leftovers i has for lunch were perfect.
    Erica- thanks!
    Sarah- the google reader thing really is awesome. I was even able to read blogs at work that way because it wasn’t obvious that I was just on one site al day! You can set up “next” links for all your tags too so it keeps it organized.
    Reeni- that doesn’t sound good… you should give it another try! These were very light and fluffy.
    Caitlin- d oit!! matzo was far from being a stable in my house either…I’m not sure if my mom ever made it! I like to experiment with new things though.

  8. Natasha - 5 Star Foodie says:

    Yum – the matzo ball soup looks absolutely delicious! I actually have not attempted a matzo ball soup yet as other members of my extended family make some perfect versions, so I have been a bit intimidated so far :)

  9. Dude, this only makes me expect the best when H and I come over this weekend. You better dust off the Grill… I expect a dual BBQ blog post… I smell ribs…. anyone? anyone? LOL

  10. Gorgeous Soup! Can’t wait to include it on Sunday. I just saw that episode of Throw Down too–love that show!

  11. Hi all:

    A highly interesting version of matzo ball soup, must try that sometime.

    At my Pesach / Passover website, I’ve got some more variations of recipes for matzo ball soup :

    Matzo Ball Soup Recipe For Passover – Pesach : Low Cholesterol Recipes

    Matzo Ball Soup Recipe (Vegetarian Matzo Ball Soup) For Passover – Pesach : Vegetarian Recipes

    Enjoy getting full of matzo ball soup ! :)

    Sincerely, Eli Ha-Levi, BA, M.L.I.S. (professional librarian)
    Website: Passover – Pesach : History and Meaning
    Location: Montreal, Quebec, Canada

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