June 23, 2024

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Cooking Is My World

Matzo Ball Soup – Once Upon a Chef

Matzo Ball Soup - Once Upon a Chef

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Matzo ball soup, aka Jewish penicillin, is the ultimate comfort food.

This recipe comes from my dear friend Dana Kaminsky, who, according to my family, makes the best matzo ball soup. Whenever we go to Dana’s house for the Jewish holidays, the kids have matzo ball eating contests – my daughter holds the record for six, which was once cause for concern – and for every other matzo ball soup we try, the verdict is always the same: “not as good as Dana’s.”

Matzo ball soup is a two-part recipe that includes from-scratch chicken broth and matzo balls. Making the broth is a bit of a “potschke,” as my mother would say, meaning it requires some fussing. It’s not hard – you pretty much throw everything into a pot and forget it – but it needs to be completed over two days. Making the matzo balls, however, is easy. Dana’s recipe uses Streit’s Matzo Ball Mix, which may seem sacrilege, but the matzo balls are light, fluffy, and foolproof, so why reinvent the wheel?

Matzo ball soup is traditionally served as part the Passover seder, but of course you can enjoy it anytime of year. It is often referred to as “Jewish penicillin” because it always makes you feel better, whether you’re nursing a cold or just needing some comfort food. If you have two large pots, I suggest doubling the recipe and freezing some for later. You’ll be glad you did.

What you’ll need to make Matzo Ball Soup

matzo ball soup ingredients

Step-by-step Instructions

Step 1: Make the Chicken Broth

Begin by placing the chicken and vegetables in a 12-quart soup pot. Add about 6 quarts of water to fill the pot.chicken, vegetables, and water in a large soup pot

Bring to a gentle boil.

gently boiling soup

Boil gently, uncovered, for 20 minutes, skimming off any froth or scum as it forms.

skimming fat from the surface of the soup

Reduce the heat to low and add the bay leaves, parsley sprigs, celery seed, 1 teaspoon of salt and 1/4 teaspoon white pepper.

adding seasoning and parsley to the soup

Cover and simmer 3½ hours more. Let the soup cool on the stovetop until the pot is no longer hot; then place the soup pot in the refrigerator overnight.

The next day, remove the pot from the refrigerator and skim most – but not all – of the fat from the surface of the soup. Using tongs and a slotted spoon, remove the chicken and large vegetables from the soup and discard (they will be too mushy to serve). Place a fine mesh strainer over a very large bowl or soup pot, and pour the soup through the strainer to strain out all the remaining solids. Refrigerate or freeze until ready to serve.

straining the soup

Step 2: Make the Matzo Balls

Combine the oil and eggs in a large bowl, then add both bags of matzo ball mix.

eggs, oil and matzo ball mix in bowl

Mix to combine, then let sit for 15 minutes.

matzo mall mixture in bowl

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Wet your hands and gently roll the mixture into golf ball-sized balls (do not compact!).

rolling matzo balls

Carefully drop the matzo balls into the boiling water.

dropping matzo balls into boiling water

Bring back to a boil, cover with a tight-fitting lid, and simmer for 30 minutes. The matzo balls will increase significantly in size. The reason for cooking the matzo balls separately is that they would make the chicken broth cloudy and soak up much of the soup.

cooked matzo balls in potUse a slotted spoon to transfer the matzo balls to a large plate or plastic container. Let cool to room temperature, then cover and refrigerate until ready to serve. (Note: if you’re making the matzo balls at the last minute, you can transfer them right from the boiling water into the chicken soup.)

Step 3: Serve the Soup

Bring the chicken broth to a simmer. Add the powdered bouillon, salt, and pepper to taste. Keep in mind that you’ll need a lot of seasoning – without enough salt, chicken soup is very bland.

simmering chicken soup

Next, carefully drop the chopped carrots and matzo balls into the simmering broth. Cook until the carrots are cooked and the matzo balls are hot throughout. You’ll know everything is ready when the carrots are tender and the matzo balls float to the top.

matzo balls simmering in soup

Ladle the soup into bowls, sprinkle with some fresh parsley or dill and serve.

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Matzo Ball Soup

Matzo ball soup, aka Jewish penicillin, is the ultimate comfort food.

Ingredients

For the Soup

  • 1 (4 to 5) pound chicken, giblets removed, whole or cut into pieces (see note)
  • 3 medium yellow onions, peeled and quartered
  • 3 turnips, peeled and quartered (optional)
  • 6 carrots, peeled and roughly chopped (or substitute 1 lb. baby carrots)
  • 5 celery stalks with greens, roughly chopped
  • 2 bay leaves
  • About 10 fresh parsley sprigs
  • ¼ teaspoon celery seed
  • Salt
  • White pepper
  • About 2 tablespoons chicken bouillon powder (preferably kosher, such as Osem Chicken Style Consommé Instant Soup and Seasoning Mix)

For the Matzo Balls

  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 box Streit’s Matzo Ball Mix (2 bags of matzo ball mix)

For Serving

  • 4 carrots, peeled and cut on the diagonal into 1-inch pieces
  • ¼ cup freshly chopped parsley or dill

Instructions

For the Soup

  1. Place the chicken, onions, turnips (if using), carrots and celery in a large 12-quart stock pot. Add about 6 quarts of water to fill the pot, and bring to boil. Let the soup boil gently, uncovered, for 20 minutes, skimming off any froth or scum as it forms. Reduce the heat to low and add the bay leaves, parsley, celery seed, 1 teaspoon of salt, and ¼ teaspoon white pepper. Cover and simmer 3½ hours more. Let the soup cool on the stovetop until the pot is no longer hot; then place the pot in the refrigerator overnight.
  2. The next day, remove the pot from the refrigerator and skim most – but not all – of the fat from the surface of the soup. Using tongs and a slotted spoon, remove the chicken and large vegetables from the soup and discard (they will be too mushy to serve). Place a fine mesh strainer over a very large bowl or clean soup pot, and pour the soup through the strainer to strain out all the remaining solids. Refrigerate or freeze until ready to serve.

For the Matzo Balls

  1. Combine the oil and eggs in a large bowl. Stir in both bags of matzo ball mix and and sit for 15 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Wet your hands and gently roll the mixture into golf ball-sized balls (do not compact!). Carefully drop the matzo balls into the boiling water. Bring back to a boil, cover with a tight-fitting lid, and simmer for 30 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the matzo balls to a large plate or plastic container. Let cool to room temperature, then cover and refrigerate until ready to serve. (Note: if you’re making the matzo balls at the last minute, you can transfer them right from the boiling water into the chicken soup.)

For Serving

  1. Bring the soup to a simmer. Add the chicken bouillon powder, along with more salt and pepper to taste. The amount of seasoning you add will depend on your personal preference and how much water you used. I like a well-seasoned soup, so I add at least 2 tablespoons of bouillon powder, 2 teaspoons salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper (in addition to the salt and pepper already added); just add the seasoning gradually, tasting as you go, until the soup tastes flavorful.
  2. Add the carrots and cooked matzo balls to the pot and simmer until the carrots are tender and the matzo balls are hot throughout, 20 to 30 minutes. You’ll know the matzo balls are heated through when they float to the surface. Ladle the soup into bowls and sprinkle with fresh parsley or dill.
  3. Freezer-Friendly Instructions: The soup and the matzo balls can be frozen separately for up to 3 months. Defrost the soup and the matzo balls in the refrigerator for 12 hours. Reheat the soup on the stovetop over medium heat until hot. Once the soup is hot, add the matzo balls and simmer until the matzo balls are soft in the center and heated through, 20 to 30 minutes.
  4. Note: If you don’t have a 12-quart stock pot, use two smaller pots and a cut-up chicken, divided between the two pots. If you’d like to use the meat from the chicken in the soup, use a cut-up chicken and pull out the chicken breasts after simmering for 20 to 30 minutes; let cool slightly, pull the meat and reserve for the soup, then return the bones to the simmering broth.)

Nutrition Information

Powered by Edamam

  • Per serving (12 servings)
  • Calories: 212
  • Fat: 14 g
  • Saturated fat: 2 g
  • Carbohydrates: 12 g
  • Sugar: 5 g
  • Fiber: 3 g
  • Protein: 10 g
  • Sodium: 430 mg
  • Cholesterol: 81 mg

This website is written and produced for informational purposes only. I am not a certified nutritionist and the nutritional data on this site has not been evaluated or approved by a nutritionist or the Food and Drug Administration. Nutritional information is offered as a courtesy and should not be construed as a guarantee. The data is calculated through an online nutritional calculator, Edamam.com. Although I do my best to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures should be considered estimates only. Varying factors such as product types or brands purchased, natural fluctuations in fresh produce, and the way ingredients are processed change the effective nutritional information in any given recipe. Furthermore, different online calculators provide different results depending on their own nutrition fact sources and algorithms. To obtain the most accurate nutritional information in a given recipe, you should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe, using your preferred nutrition calculator.

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