Monday, December 14, 2009

Eric's Kitchen in Jersey City: Matzoh Ball Soup

While I might not be Jewish, I quickly realized the healing power of good, homemade Matzoh Ball soup while I was in college in Philly. Whenever I was sick, I'd order in from this Jewish Deli, Izzy & Zoe's on 40th street and get this nice big container of soup made with extra TLC and I'd always seem to feel a little bit better. It always had lots of spices and bits of deliciousness floating around which is what I strive for in my own version. My girlfriend Jenn moved in at the end of the summer and this flu season she got both the swine flu and the regular flu so I ended up making a couple of pots of matzoh ball soup to make her feel better and I feel like I'm honing in on a pretty solid recipe.

I make mine with:
1 Whole roasting chicken with the skin and giblets
1 bag of baby carrots (sliced)
1 Large vidalia onion, chopped
1 bunch of fresh parsley, chopped
1 bunch of leeks, chopped (or you can substitute celery which I don't like)
- salt, pepper and various other spices you have lying around
3-4 bay leaves
1 box of matzoh ball mix (you need a couple of eggs and oil for this which the box will tell you)
- extra chicken stock. I use either chicken broth or 'better than bouillon'
- a large soup pot filled with maybe a gallon of water? (I eyeball most things, apologies to people who measure things out precisely)

I personally think the key to any good soup is the stock and I like mine to taste homemade but I don't have the patience to sit around for the 4-6 hours that most recipes say it takes to make a stock. My shortcut involves chopping the chicken with a cleaver to split the bones and create small, manageable pieces (roughly half the size of a clenched fist). This is important as a lot of the flavor comes from the marrow of the bones. You season the meat and sauté it with a little olive oil for 5 minutes or so until it's slightly browned. You don't need it to be fully cooked as the next step is adding it to boiling water with all your veggies and spices. My girlfriend's mom taught me that fresh parsley has healing powers and is an important factor of the matzoh ball soup equation. I also add the giblets and the bay leaves which I remove later.

I let it cook for a couple of hours as it still does take a while and I taste the stock and add broth or bouillon until it tastes good. While that is cooking, start a second pot of boiling water to cook your matzoh balls. Matzoh balls are pretty simple to make and you can follow the recipe on the box for these. You just combine the mix with some oil and eggs and then let them cool in the fridge for 15 minutes or so. Then you lay out some foil or wax paper and roll them up. My girlfriend taught me that the most important thing to keep in mind is to not roll them too tightly! They are going to expand as well so they only need to be about the size of a chestnut (roughly 1-1.5 inches in diameter). Another thing to keep in mind is that you do not need to salt the water if you are adding them to your homemade chicken broth as they will be very salty... I've made this mistake before!

Keep them separate and add them when you heat up a bowl or small portion. When the chicken has cooked for a couple of hours and you've added enough bouillon or more chicken broth to make it delicious, you remove the meat and giblets. Let them cool for a few minutes and pull the meat off the bone and cut it or pull it into bite size pieces. Discard the bones, skin and giblets and add the pulled meat back to your soup. This should help you cope with any ailment or just keep you warm when it's chilly.

Matzo Ball Soup on Foodista

1 comment:

  1. I love Matzoh ball soup. Thanks for sharing your recipe. It looks fantastic and I am sure tastes great. Indeed, it is a great remedy for colds & flus. That's also a good tip about not salting the water.


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