Thursday, March 21, 2013

Matzo Ball Soup

Hymie's Deli
I know what you're thinking. What does a shiksa like me know about matzo ball soup?  Well let me tell you.  Actually a lot.  I may of never made it before but I have eaten plenty of it.  Once I graduated from college, I moved out to Bala Cynwyd, PA within walking distance of my favorite Jewish deli, Hymies.  

What originally drew me there was their never ending pickle buffet. But, what kept me coming back for more was the soup.  Their matzos were light and flavorful.  During Jason's and my first year together we would always get Hymies to-go on cold winter nights when neither of us felt like going outside.  Our first year together was the year where Philadelphia was slammed with one blizzard after another so we were frequently snowed in.  I still remember sitting on the couch with a giant tub of soup and watching the week's worth of Jeopardys we had taped.  

So for this week's Sunday Supper, in honor of Passover, I want to recreate my favorite matzo ball soup.  I'm hoping it will bring back those fond memories of Hymie's and my first ever apartment in Bala Cynwyd.  

Matzo Ball Soup
adapted from Martha Stewart and food network kitchens
Photo credit- FoodNetwork
10 sprigs parsley
20 sprigs fresh thyme
1 small onion, roughly chopped
2 carrots, roughly chopped
1 stalk celery, roughly chopped
3 pounds bone in chicken breasts
10 cups chicken broth
Salt and pepper to taste

  • 3 large eggs
  • 3 tablespoons rendered chicken fat, (available at butcher shops or in the meat markets of large supermarkets) or vegetable oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons matzo meal
  • 3 medium carrots, sliced into 1/2-inch-thick rounds
  • 2 medium parsnips, peeled and sliced into 1/2-inch-thick rounds

  • In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs and chicken fat until combined. Whisk in 1/2 cup water and salt. Add matzo meal, and whisk until combined. Cover and refrigerate batter until firm, 2 to 4 hours.
  • Meanwhile combine herbs, onions, carrots, celery, chicken broth, and chicken into a large heavy bottom saucepan.  Cover and bring to a boil over high heat.  Adjust seasonings with salt and pepper. Reduce heat to lowest setting.  Poach chicken for 20 minutes.  Remove pan from heat, uncover and allow chicken to cool in liquid for 30 minutes.  Remove chicken from bone and cube chicken.   Strain chicken broth and reserve.
  • Line a baking pan with parchment. Bring reserved chicken stock to a boil in a large wide saucepan, and reduce heat to a simmer.  
  • Slightly dampen your fingertips, and form 2 heaping tablespoons of batter into a 1 1/2-inch ball, being careful not to compress the mixture too much. Place ball on the prepared pan. Repeat process with remaining batter.
  • Using a large spoon, slide the matzo balls into the simmering stock. Once all the balls have been added, cover and cook for 10 minutes. Add carrots and parsnips, cover, and continue cooking for 20 to 25 minutes, until the vegetables are tender and the matzo balls are cooked through.  Add cubed chicken back to soup. To test if the matzo balls are done, remove a ball from the water, and slice in half. The color should be light throughout. If the center is darker, cook 5 to 10 minutes more.
  • To serve, fill the soup bowls evenly with soup and vegetables, allotting each person one or two matzo balls, depending on his or her appetite.

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