Matzoh Ball Soup*

My friend Abi recently emailed me she was making a version of this soup (often called “New York Penicillin” for it’s restorative and nurturing properties). I’d never felt intrigued previously, seeing canned versions in the supermarket and having little familiarity with the concept. A foray on the internet convinced me I had to try it!

The dill is an interesting element but works very well (I think dried dill would not be fun). The part of the soup that involves any degree of finesse for your average kitchener are the matzoh balls themselves. I can see how a mis-step would leave hard balls or ones that fall apart (there are tutorials on YouTube etc. instructing one in technique). Due to my experience with dumplings I grew up on, I nailed it right out of the gate. More on matzoh balls at the end of the recipe.

1 chicken breast bone-in and skin-on, roasted w/salt and pepper and olive oil
2 eggs
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons diced fresh parsley (Italian or flat-leaf)
1/2 – 1 cup matzo meal (or cracker meal)
2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced fine
6 cups chicken broth
1 cup water and two vegetable boullion cubes
2 medium carrots and two ribs celery, cut into 1” matchsticks
Five sprigs fresh dill, carefully washed and clipped into 1” pieces
salt and fresh black pepper
1/2 stick butter

Dice up the crispy chicken skin as finely as you can and set aside. In a small bowl, mix eggs with two tablespoons of the chicken fat from the roasting pan or two tablespoons melted butter or margarine. Stir in the diced chicken skin, salt, parsley, then add matzo meal to form a soft dough – mix briskly and add matzo until the mixture is the consistency of cake batter. Cover and refrigerate for about 30 minutes.

Shred the chicken breast and set aside. Heat a bit of olive oil in a medium-large saucepan. Saute the garlic until soft. Add the broth and bring to a boil. Add the matchsticked carrots, celery, shredded chicken and dill and return to a simmer. Immediately stir and correct the seasonings (salt and pepper). Remove the matzoh from the fridge, shape into ping pong sized balls and drop in. If the batter is firm this should be easy; if soft you may want to coat hands with water or oil first and then simmer the balls gently. When all the matzoh is added, cover and cook for about thirty minutes (the balls will fluff up). Matzoh balls are a bit tricky, like dumplings. Experience will lend them to perfection.

Turn the heat off and add the half stick butter. Wait a few minutes, covered, before serving; or reheat the next day and serve.

Alternatively, you can cook the matzoh balls separately in boiling salted water. This has the advantages of allowing a shorter simmer on the veggies if you desire.

People will likely load up on the balls but you can always cook more and add to the soup. Enjoy!

* I’ve been told this soup is not kosher, then told it’s not kosher, by practicing Jews. So.

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