The Pioneer Woman Tasty Kitchen
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Matzo Ball Soup

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Level: Intermediate

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Description

This is not the watery, dough-ball deli version. This is deep, sultry, and complex. It is the love that steamed up the windows of my Bubbe’s kitchen.

Ingredients

  • FOR DAY 1:
  • 1 whole Roasted Chicken, Bones And Cartilage Only
  • 1 whole Container Of Pan Drippings From Roasted Chicken, Including Rendered Fat
  • 1 whole Large Yellow Onion, Skin Intact, Chunked Into 8ths
  • 2 whole Carrots, Unshaved, Chunked Into 1" Pieces
  • 2 stalks Celery, Untrimmed, Chunked Into 1" Pieces
  • 1 pinch (generous Pinch) Saffron Threads
  • _____
  • FOR DAY 2:
  • 2 whole Matzo Crackers
  • ½ whole Large Onion, Finely Diced (almost Minced)
  • ¼ teaspoons Dried Parsley (can Use Fresh)
  • ¼ teaspoons Dill Weed, Fresh Or Dried
  • 1 pinch Ground Nutmeg
  • 2 whole Eggs, Well Beaten
  • ¼ cups Matzo Meal, Plus 1/4 Cup More As Needed
  • ½ teaspoons Kosher Salt, Or More To Taste
  • 1 whole Carrot, Shaved, Cut Into 1/4" Rounds
  • 1 sprig Dill (optional)

Preparation

Day 1:

You’ve already roasted your chicken. The bones, the cartilage, and the wing tips have been saved. Throw them into a large stockpot. Pour your pan drippings into a container, cover, and allow to chill in the fridge over night. The chicken fat will solidify on the top and you’ll be able to skim it off to use on Day 2.

To your stockpot, add whole, chunked, yellow onion, chunked carrots, chunked celery, and a generous pinch of saffron. Cover with cool water by about 2 inches. Cover pot, set to boil over high heat. After it comes to a rolling boil, reduce heat low and simmer for 2 hours.

Allow to sit, covered for 1/2 hour or so. Place a large bowl in the sink. Set a colander over the bowl, pour the stock into the colander, drain, and throw out the solids.

Rinse out the stockpot and place a fine mesh sieve over top. Pour the strained broth back into the stockpot, discarding any fine solids that collected in the strainer. Allow stock to come to room temperature, cover with a lid, and place in the fridge over night. Why? You will be straining off fat on Day 2 and you’ve been in the kitchen too long on Day 1. Have someone else clean the kitchen for you. Pour some wine.

Day 2:

Soak the matzoh crackers in warm water for a couple of minutes. Drain and squeeze excess water from matzoh. Set aside.

Remove chicken fat from pan drippings container and place into a large non-stick skillet. Heat fat over low heat until a drop of water sizzles and spits. Add finely chopped onion and cook over low heat for about 10 minutes until it is a nice, golden-brown. It is one of the most divine smells ever. Add moistened matzo crackers to the skillet and cook over low heat. Stir and break up chunks until everything is well-coated and uniform. Remove from heat and add parsley, dill, and nutmeg. Salt and pepper to taste (heavy pepper is excellent).

In a medium mixing bowl, beat eggs with matzo meal. Add onion mixture and thoroughly mix. This will require removal of rings and nitty-gritty kneading. Smoosh it all together, smash it down, cover with plastic wrap, and place in fridge for 3- 4 hours.

Approximately 1 hour before you’d like to serve, remove the stock pot from the fridge and skim the fat, discarding it. Bring broth to boil over high heat, salting to taste. I usually add 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of Kosher salt. Keep in mind that as the broth reduces, it will become saltier. Less is more.

While you are waiting for your watched pot to boil, remove the matzo mixture from fridge and knead with your hands. This will warm it up slightly, making the dough more workable. Form your test ball, shaping it into the size of a ping-pong ball.

When the broth comes to a boil, gently place the test ball into the pot. If it falls apart, you will need to knead about 1/4 cup more matzoh meal into the mixture. If it doesn’t fall apart, you’re good to go. Shape the rest of the mixture into balls roughly the same size, maybe smaller, pressing and squeezing.

Place matzo balls and carrot coins gently into the boiling stock. Cover and gently boil over medium to medium -high heat for 1/2 hour. Don’t remove the lid while you’re cooking.

Now you finally get to ladle the broth into bowls. Place 2 or 3 balls in each bowl, along with a smattering of carrots. If your herb garden didn’t get destroyed by frost, add some fresh dill.

If there are any leftovers, store matzo balls separately from broth.

2 Comments

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Clabbergirl on 2.5.2011

Hi, elizj! My grandma and her family were garment workers living in Brooklyn in the 30’s before moving to Indpls. Perhaps the grandma of your kids and mine knew each other.

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elizj on 2.1.2011

This looks delish and I can’t wait to give it a try! It reminds me so much of the soup I had while working as a live in nanny! Their grandmother came from NY for a visit and made the BEST soup! It won this small town New England girl over and this sounds EXACTLY like her recipe!

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