Thursday, January 20, 2011

Chicken Soup with Matzo Balls

If you have ever made fresh chicken stock, you will know that there is no comparison to the store bought variety.  Fresh chicken stock makes an incredible base for the ultimate chicken soup, and the magic of this broth lies in the fresh herbs and vegetables, that along with the chicken is simmered slowly to perfection.

This is the soup that is affectionately known as Jewish penicillin. This is what a Jewish grandmother  believes would help relieve your cold and flu symptoms.  She also believes that this would be good for your upset stomach.  A soup made with this much love is proof that there is a therapeutic effect in enjoying a bowl of hot and steamy chicken soup.

If you are not familiar with matzo, it is a flat bread which is part of the Jewish culture.  This bread is traditionally eaten at Passover when people of the Jewish faith do not eat leavened breads.  However, this bread is used in many recipes throughout the year.

There are three keys to making matzo balls that are not equivalent to hockey pucks.  First, is to whip the egg whites.  Second use as little matzo meal as possible.  The third and final key is using a small amount of rendered chicken fat from preparing the chicken broth.

If you choose to not make the matzo balls the chicken broth is rich and is ideal to serve as is, or with noodles.

Chicken Soup with Matzo Balls
Makes 6-quarts stock, serves 10, plus extra for the freezer
Recipe from Ina Garten

Recipe for Chicken Soup

3 5-pound roasting chickens
3 large yellow onions, unpeeled and quartered
6 carrots, unpeeled and halved
4 stalks celery with leaves, cut into thirds
4 parsnips, unpeeled and cut in half (optional)
20 sprigs fresh parsley
15 sprigs fresh thyme
20 sprigs fresh dill
1 head garlic, unpeeled and cut in half crosswise
2 tablespoons kosher salt
2 teaspoons black peppercorns

To serve:
4 cups 1/4-inch-diced carrots
4 cups 1/4-inch diced celery
1/4 cup minced fresh dill
1/4 cup minced fresh parsley

Matzo Balls (recipe follows)

Place the chickens, onions, carrots, celery, parsnips, parsley, thyme, dill, garlic, and seasonings in a 16-20 quart stockpot (note: I used 2-8-quart stockpots).  Add 7 quarts of water and bring to a boil.  Simmer, uncovered, for 1-hour.  Remove 2 of the chickens and allow to cool slightly.  Remove the breast meat from both chickens and set aside.  Return the remaining chicken and carcasses to the pot and continue simmering, uncovered, for 3 more hours.  Strain the entire contents of the pot through a colander and chill.  Remove the surface fat, then reheat the stock as follows, or pack in containers and freeze.

To serve the soup, return the stock to the pot and reheat, adding the diced carrots, celery, dill and parsley.  Shred the reserved chicken breast meat into large pieces and add to the stock.  Simmer over low heat for 5 minutes to cook the vegetables and reheat the chicken.  Season to taste and serve as is, or ladle each serving over 2 warm Matzo Balls.

Recipe for Matzo Balls

4 extra-large eggs separated
1/2 cup good chicken stock
1/4 cup rendered chicken fat, melted
1/2 cup minced fresh parsley
2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more for egg whites
1 cup matzo meal

Whisk together the egg yolks, chicken stock, chicken fat, parsley and salt.  Stir in matzo meal.  In the bowl of an electric mixer with a whisk attachment, whip the egg whites with a pinch of salt until they are stiff.  Whisk them into the matzo mixture until it is smooth.  Refrigerate for at least 15 minutes, or until the mixture is thick.

Form balls the size of golf balls by shaping them with 2 spoons, rolling them with your hands, or scooping them with a small ice cream scoop.  Drop them into the simmering chicken stock and cook for 30 minutes, or until fully cooked and puffed, turning once.  Remove and serve hot in chicken soup.



pam said...

I love that first picture - stock making goodness!

Lynn said...

I agree with Pam, beautiful pic! What a great pot of goodness... might have to make some stock this weekend:@)

Tanna said...

I've never had matzo balls. This piques my curiosity. The stock sounds divine.

Pam said...

Chicken soup is definitely a cure all and yours looks and sounds delicious! Love those matzo balls!

The Church Cook said...

What beautiful array of fresh herbs in the photo! With wonderful herbs like that, yes, it would cure all illnesses. :)

FOODESSA said...

I owe it to myself to one day try making this type of soup. It looks so incredibly appetizing. The photos are stunning Velva.

Ciao for now and flavourful wishes,

Susan McClaskey said...

Your soup looks wonderful.

The Food Hound said...

I use BC's stock recipe-- it's the best, isn't it? I always wished I had a Jewish grandmother when I was younger b/c instead of making something delicious like matzo soup, my mom fed me echinacea tea. And she is a great cook, too-- but that TEA! YUCK!

Vickie said...

I've read that this soup really could have medicinal value -especially now that you can't give kids cold medicines. This version ROCKS! Between this and my "Gypsy Cold Cure" tea, at least a cold would feel better. Love your photos, too!

Unknown said...

Growing up my best friend's mom used to make the best matzo ball soup! Her mom was ALWAYS cooking up Jewish delights in the kitchen! It's funny b/c I'm not Jewish but I used to go to Hebrew School w/my friend when she was preparing for her Bat Mitzvah b/c we were inseparable!

This soup looks wonderful and I just made homemade chicken stock and you are so can't be beat! :)

Sharon Rudd said...

I've been looking forward to this post. Ymmm. Great job with the matzoh balls!

Katerina said...

They say it is going to be a rainy weekend here in Athens. This soup sounds like the perfect idea.

The JR said...

I've never had a matzo ball before.

Those veggies are beautiful.

jenn from midlife modern said...

There is nothing like a bowl of matzoh ball soup to soothe the soul. My bubbie made a great one:) I've only made it using the matzoh ball mix, but I probably should give the real deal a whirl. That picture of the vegetables ready for stock is just the prettiest thing ever.

Victoria said...

I'm not Jewish but I love Matzo ball soup!! This really looks super comforting right now :)

Tina said...

We have a pot of soup for lunch today, but yours looks better :-)

Big Dude said...

That is some serious chicken stock you've made and it sounds super good. My great aunt was married to a Jewish fellow and, as a youngster,I remember her serving matzo ball soup and really liking it. I've considered trying to make some, but never had such a good recipe until now.

Anonymous said...

Oh, that first picture is beautiful! It speaks of bounty, comfort, love, and fresh eating. =)
I love your recipe--thanks for the matzo ball tips. Since I've never made them before, they'll come in handy!

That Girl said...

It's funny, I actually don't know any Jews that use matzah year round, probably because its hard enough to be creative with it when we HAVE to use it during Passover! And there are definitely 2 schools of thought when it comes to matzah balls. In our family, denser has always been better! There's such a fabulous tactile sensation biting into a nice firm ball that doesn't disappear in your mouth!

UrMomCooks said...

Beautiful pics - this looks absolutely inviting and wonderful!!! Have never tried to tackle matzah balls. Closest I've come is dropping balls of leftover Thanksgiving stuffing into turkey soup... Thanks to you, next time I make chicken soup I am giving this a try!!!

Victor said...

What a great soup for the cold times. I haven't tried making matzo balls, thanks for the tip!

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

Oh, delicious! I love matzo balls. A very healthy soup.



Unknown said...

I have never made my own stock, I think I need to try just to know the difference. This soup looks awesome.

Anna C said...

Although I didn't grow up in a Jewish home,I've always loved matzo ball soup. I am fortunate enough to have always lived in Montreal, a wonderful multicultural city where you're exposed to all sorts of cuisines. I haven't made this soup in ages, but as we would say "tu me donnes le goût". I am now craving a bowl of your delicious soup.
Anna's Table

teresa said...

i've never thought much about making my own stock, but i am now! the flavors sound awesome, what a delicious soup.

A Canadian Foodie said...

The fresh herbs are stunning! I didn't know it was called Jewish penicillin - but that is brilliant! We have a standard chicken soup that is the backbone of Vanja's culture, as well - made very similarly - but, sans matza!
I hope you can still access my site, Velva. Let me know if there are problems.

Rosaria Williams said...

Ah, the real thing!

Unknown said...

love the picture. they look stunning.
I love matzo balls and homemade stock is an absolute winner.

Ana Powell said...

Beautiful first click.
Awesome soup recipe ♥

Heather S-G said...

Gorgeous! and yup...that first pic is totally rockin' my world! Wish I had a comforting bowl right now :D

Carolyn Binder said...

Can we come for dinner? This post makes me miss my momma! But I would like one of your special cocktails, too. :)

Lorraine said...

I really do believe chicken soup is healing, definitely heals the soul anyway and warms up the body. Yours sounds wonderful, homemade stock and homemade matzo balls must be amazing. I have never tried a matzo ball. I guess I was just not sure what they were. Thanks for enlightening me:)

Barbara said...

Lovely recipe, Velva. I usually make a clear soup with my matzo balls but this looks delicious. What a fabulous picture it makes!
Looks like another chill is on it's way...they don't last so long anymore though.

tasteofbeirut said...

I remember the time I had chicken soup with matzo balls; it was in Paris and an elderly gentleman, father in-law of my best friend, made me some. We spent some time chatting and we talked about matzos! Unfortunately, his was from a can and I never had the urge to make it myself; I am sure the real matzos, from scratch, now that is a different taste altogether!

Nourhan @ Miss Anthropist's Kitchen said...

Yumm this looks delicious! I love exploring foods from other cultures :)

Lyndas recipe box said...

I love homemade chicken stock and yours is super looking. I've been wanting to try matzo balls, so I've bookmarked this. Thanks!

Carol said...

Totally delicious, right down to the chicken fat! What a perfect bowl of soup, looks delicious! Just like my grandma used to make.

chow and chatter said...

so cool to see your wonderful soup after getting previews on facebook. thanks for the sweet congrats love ya


Lea Ann said...

Absolutely beautiful photos and a delicous looking soup. I love making my own chicken stock, easy and delcious.

Anonymous said...

MMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM,..that soup with those tasty balls in it look so tasty & appetizing!

SavoringTime in the Kitchen said...

This look delicious! I have never tried making matzo balls for soup but yours looks inspiring.

Kitchen Butterfly said...

It looks wonderful Velva, and thanks for the instruction on Jewish cooking - I've heard of Matzo balls before but now I can say I know what they are. And I love how every culture has their 'chicken soup'. Have a blessed weekend

Anonymous said...

Your chicken soup and matzo balls look excellent, definitely our family favorite!

Christo Gonzales said...

how do you make Matzo balls better - add chicken soup. how do you make chicken soup better - add Matzo balls - this is a total win win situation.

grace said...

i actually had no idea what went into making matzo balls. i'm glad to see that it's doable (and delicious)!

Marguerite said...

Great looking soup and matzo balls! There is really nothing like homemade and this recipe rocks!

Joanne said...

I adore matzo ball soup but since I'm nowhere near Jewish, I have no family recipe to make it from! I might just have to borrow yours. Hope that's okay! :P

Corina said...

Next time I feel a cold coming on this is what I'll try. What a great healthy soup.

Chris said...

This is one that I have been wanting to make but haven't just yet.

You are so right about home made stocks. I started making mine this year and after perfecting the technique, have been amazed at the difference.

Verde Farm said...

I’ve never had this soup Velva but heard of it many, many times. I would LOVE to try it. I can imagine it would cure what ales ya:)
PS-didn’t know if you saw my post--I am from Logan Co myself. Man.

Chef Dennis Littley said...

if you want a perfect chicken stock, there are no shortcuts, you did a fantastic job with your stock!! and those matzo balls are the perfect addition to this lovely soup!

Torviewtoronto said...

first time here this looks flavourful and delicious

scrambledhenfruit said...

Mmmm...that chicken soup looks wonderful. I love making my own stock when I have the time, and try to keep some in the freezer. I've never had matzoh balls, but they sound delicious!

pierre said...

we need soup this is so cold here in paris !!pierre

Angie's Recipes said...

Matzo balls sound really great in the chicken soup.

ThatJewCanCook said...

This looks awesome, I love that you used real shmaltz to make the matzoh balls. Also, never tried it with thyme -- but it sounds really good. Lately I've had a thing for thyme, so thyme flies lately!


Celia @ Fig Jam and Lime Cordial said...

Oh, what magnificent photos you have! They're truly amazing!

Eliana said...

This has delicious and comfort written all over it! said...


換妻社團俱樂部 said...


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