Known as Jewish penicillin, Matzo Ball Soup was a staple in my home growing up. We would have it at all the Jewish holidays. My grandmother made the best soup and then my mom took over after my grandma died and it was just as good. My mom still continues to make it and it’s just as good as always. I make it now as well, but it doesn’t have to be a holiday in my house. We just love it! Matzo Ball soup is chicken soup with Matzo Balls which are similar to dumplings. The soup originated in Eastern Europe, although there are Spanish variations that I have seen in the past few years. If you want to see my Spanish (Sephardic version of this soup), click over here.
Matzo Ball Soup
Ingredients for the soup
1 (3-5lb) chicken cut up into parts, most of the skin and fat removed
3 large carrots, peeled and cut into large pieces
3 stalks of celery, cut into large pieces
1 leek, washed and cleaned very well as it’s loaded with sand. Cut it into 2 to 3 pieces
1-2 white turnips, peeled and cut into large chunks
2-3 parsnips, peeled and cut into large pieces
several sprigs of fresh parsley
several sprigs of fresh dill
salt and pepper (lots of salt, close to 2-3 tbsp) I know it seems a lot but chicken soup can be very bland and as my mother says, you don’t want it to taste like dishwater….LOL!!!
Season chicken with lots of salt and pepper and add to a very large stock pot. Add all the vegetables along with the chicken except the parsley and dill. Add enough water to cover the ingredients by about 2-3 inches.
Add about 2 tbsp. of the salt. Cover and cook for 1 hour skimming off the fat and foam that collects on the top. After an hour uncover and remove the chicken and use it for either chicken salad or chicken sandwiches. Add the parsley and the dill and let the soup cook down, about another half hour. Taste and re-season with salt, if necessary. When the soup is done remove the leeks, parsley and dill. You can either leave in the other veggies, if you want or take them out. It’s up to you. I love to eat the carrots and parsnips. This soup is best eaten the next day. You want to put it in the fridge so whatever fat there is comes to the top like hardened wax and you can skim it off.
Ingredients for the matzo balls
makes about 10 matzo balls
1 cup matzo meal
4 large eggs
1/4 vegetable oil
1/4 cup water or seltzer
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
In a large bowl beat eggs and add water or seltzer, oil, salt and pepper. Mix well. Add the matzo meal and stir thoroughly. Cover and put in the refrigerator for about an hour.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Moisten the palms of your hands with water and form the mixture into 1″ balls about the size of a golf ball. Drop them into the water. After they are all in the pot, reduce the heat to low and simmer for about 20-30 minutes. Moving the matzo balls around with a large slotted spoon occasionally. When done remove with the slotted spoon and add to the soup or cover and use for later on when you will be serving the soup.