Saturday, March 6, 2010
We're having a little Matzo Ball Soup-Off here on A Kitchen In Brooklyn. I love my mother's Matzo (also Spelled Matzoh) Ball Soup. In my opinion, her soup is a panacea for healing everything from colds to grumpy moods. I like my Matzo Ball Soup and chicken stock prepared a very specific way, but it seems like everyone like's their mom's version the best. We have not one, but three Matzo Ball Soup recipes that we will share with you here on A Kitchen In Brooklyn. Eric's Matzo Ball Soup Recipe can be found here on this site. In addition, another contributor to this site in Seattle, Emily, will be sharing her Matzo Ball Soup Recipe in a future post. So, with Passover (and Spring!) around the corner, it's time for a friendly "Soup Off."
My Matzo Ball Soup is prepared just the way my mother makes it, with plenty of Jewish momma's love and a homemade chicken stock prepared from a whole Kosher chicken. I like a hearty Matzo Ball Soup all winter long, rather than appetizer style. To prepare the soup as an appetizer, you would want to discard the chicken after preparing the chicken stock. However, I never do that. I always prepare the soup as a main course and shred quite a bit of the chicken and put it back into the soup. I just can't let a good chicken go to waste, and in my opinion, the chicken pieces help complete the soup.
Sasha's Matzo Ball Chicken Soup (with thanks to my mom)
Water (enough to cover the chicken in the pot)
One 3-4 lb whole chicken
small handful of parsley
1 onion, quartered
a couple of large handfuls of baby carrots
3 stalks of celery
2 bay leaves
salt and pepper to taste
1 cup matzo meal
1/4 cup canola oil
1/4 cup water (for the Matzo Balls)
The first step is to prepare the chicken stock. Break up the chicken into a couple of pieces. I used a whole Empire Chicken, In my opinion, to make the perfect chicken stock, it's best to use a Kosher chicken for this recipe. My mom actually lives around the block from a Kosher butcher in Rochester, New York that sells perfect small chickens just for making soup.
Cover the chicken with water in a large pot with the water an inch or two higher than the chicken. Bring it to a boil. Then simmer for 30 minutes, while skimming off the top every couple of minutes. After a half an hour, add the parsley, parsnip, onion (does't have to be diced because it will be discarded from the stock later), carrots, celery and bay leaves to the pot. Add a couple of pinches of salt. Simmer (on low) for about two hours with the lid of the pot half on. After about two hours, the stock should be yellowish in color and have the flavor of the chicken stock, plus all those vegetables and bay leaves that you added. The salt is important here too, so make sure to add a couple good size pinches.
Use a strainer to strain the broth into another large pot. Then, add the celery and carrots back in, but discard the onion, parsnip, bay leaves and parsley. At this point, you can also remove the chicken when you strain, and discard the skin, and shred some of the chicken off the bones. Add this shredded chicken back into the soup.
To prepare the Matzo Balls, combine one cup Matzo Meal with four eggs, 1/4 cup of water and 1/4 cup of Canola Oil. Mix well and refrigerate covered for about half an hour. Form into 11 or 12 Matzo Balls, just a bit larger than golf balls. Don't make them too small, or they will be hard. However, don't make them too large, because they will expand when added to the pot. Bring the chicken soup to a boil and add the Matzo Balls. Then reduce to a simmer for about 20 -30 minutes. Serve, and season with salt and pepper to taste.
This soup makes enough to serve 4 to 5 people as main courses, which means plenty of leftovers!