Chicken Soup with Matzo Balls

Each day this week, Olga Massov of Sassy Radish will share a different Passover recipe with us, which begins at sundown on Monday, April 18. —The Mgmt.

[Photograph: Olga Massov]

This might be my favorite part of the seder—until we get to dessert that is. In this version, matzo balls are not heavy and doughy, but light, fluffy, and seasoned. The key is making them with seltzer and giving the batter a good rest before shaping and cooking—it makes all the difference.

If you already have chicken stock ready on hand, feel free to add the vegetables of your choice, and cook for half an hour before adding the matzo balls. And instead of dill, you can always use parsley or even cilantro! What are your matzo ball tricks?

About the author: Olga Massov writes a popular blog Sassy Radish where she shares food stories and spruced-up comfort foods. Her Russian heritage makes sure she always has room for herring.

Chicken Soup with Matzo Balls

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About This Recipe

Yield:8 to 10
Active time:1 hour
Total time:3 hours
Special equipment:Heavy-bottomed stock pot

Ingredients

  • 1 4-pound chicken
  • 1 large onion, unpeeled, washed
  • 10 sprigs of dill
  • 4 stalks of celery, chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic, unpeeled
  • 3 tablespoons chopped ginger
  • 1 turnip, cubed into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 parsnip, sliced up in 1/2-inch semi-circles
  • 4 medium carrots, peeled and cut into 3-inch pieces
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 tablespoons salt, plus more to taste
  • 2 potatoes, cubed into 1 inch pieces
  • 1/2 cup matzo meal
  • 2 large eggs room temperature, lightly beaten
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil or schmaltz
  • 2 tablespoons seltzer water
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon white pepper
  • 1 teaspoons finely chopped fresh dill

Procedures

  1. 1

    To make the soup: Thoroughly wash the chicken and place it in the pot. Add the water (enough to submerge everything with 2 inches of water on top), the onion, the bunch of dill (tied with a string), celery and salt. Bring to a boil and skim off the foam that will form on top. Discard the foam, continue to cook on medium-high heat until the foam stops appearing. Lower the heat to medium-low and add ginger, the turnip, the parsnip, carrots and the lemon juice. Cover and cook over very low heat for 2 hours.

  2. 2

    After 2 hours, taste the broth and see if you want more salt, or other seasonings in it. Pull the chicken out. It should be falling apart and falling off the bone. Pull the bones out and discard, and cut up the chicken in pieces. Place half of the chicken back in the soup and half put aside for chicken salad the next day. Ever-so-slightly increase the heat and add the potatoes. While the potatoes cook, start on the matzo balls.

  3. 3

    To make matzo balls: In a large bowl, mix together the matzo meal, eggs, vegetable oil, seltzer, salt and pepper. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Take the matzo ball mix out of the refrigerator and place by the stove where your soup is simmering. Place a bowl of cold water next to your matzo ball mix—you will need to dip your hands in it so that the matzo meal won’t stick to your palms.

  4. 4

    Grab a bit of the mix and roll it in your palms to a ball about 1 inch in diameter. Drop the matzo balls in the soup one at a time. When out of the mix, cover the soup and simmer for 30 minutes.

  5. 5

    Remove the soup from heat. Serve in bowls immediately with freshly cut dill sprinkled on top.

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