Sometimes, you just want soup. When it’s rainy (no snow?) and cold and dreary and grey, you need something that says, “Bubbala, where are your mittens?”
This fantastic soup is something that anyone can make, with the most simple of ingredients. And it’s pretty much the single most biggest bang for your buck kind of thing you can make. People love it. It’s funny like that. Because you say to yourself, “Really? This is that good?”
But it is. You might even get a bit greedy for the leftovers. But then, you won’t, because you know better and because this is wonderful to share. Because the leftovers are even better. And this, in the season of giving is a wonderful thing to give: warming, comforting and 98% love by volume.
This particular recipe/method uses every possible bit of the soup, even the fat that you skim off the top of the stock. Because thrift is what takes this soup from ho hum to oh nom. Yeah, I went there.
Matzo Ball Soup, Serves two for dinner, plus five for leftover lunch, so, yeah. Lots.
For the stock
1 split chicken breast, bone in, skin on
2 chicken thighs, bone in, skin on
2 chicken drumsticks, bone in, skin on
2 carrots, quartered
1/2 yellow onion, skin on
2 celery stalks, halved
1 very large bay leaf
Teeny bunch of parsley
Olive oil, salt and pepper
In a large, lidded stock pot, add about 2 tablespoons of olive oil and heat to almost a smoking point. Add in as much chicken as will fit comfortably – without crowding – season generously with salt and pepper and brown on all sides. Brown chicken in batches and set aside.
Add in the carrot, onion and celery, along with the bay and parsley. Stir and cook for three or four minutes, scraping browned bits off the bottom of the pot. Add chicken back in, and cover all with with about 12 to 16 cups of cold water, season with a bit more salt. Raise heat to high, and bring to a boil. Lower to a simmer and cook for an hour to an hour and a half.
Skim off fat from the stock into a small bowl. Set aside.
Strain stock, reserving chicken on a plate to cool, but discarding vegetables.
Separate and shred the chicken from the bones and skin. Reserve.
Return stock to the pot.
For the matzo balls:
4 T chicken fat from the skimmed stock
1/4 c slightly cooled chicken stock (you’ve been making it!)
Heaping half cup matzo meal (not mix)
Heaping t of salt
15 to 20 twists of fresh cracked pepper
In a bowl, whisk the eggs, then whisk in the chicken fat and then the slightly cooled chicken stock. Mix in the matzo meal, salt and pepper and mix well. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and place in the fridge for 30 minutes.
Matzo balls double in size, so bear that in mind as you roll these out. A heaping teaspoonful each will make just about that amount. You can get about two dozen from this batch.
Bring your stock to a simmer and add in:
1 large carrot, peeled and diced
1/4 onion, diced
2 small stalks celery, sliced
Then drop in your matzo balls into the hot stock. Bring back to a boil, then reduce to a low simmer and cover and cook for about 20 minutes. Remove cover and add back in the shredded chicken.
Serve with a garnish of chopped parsley. And an open heart.
Playlist included HAIM, Don’t Save Me.
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