Matzo ball soup is a traditional Jewish food, usually served in chicken broth. Using the soup broth to form the matzo balls give them an extra rich flavor. Chicken soup has a reputation of having healing properties and it’s also a regular Friday night dinner dish. Every family has its own way of making it, and there are even variations within each family.
The great thing about this soup is that you can really use any vegetables, and tweak it to your liking. Use whatever you have in your fridge, or whatever looked good in the supermarket. I’ve seen prepackaged soup mixes at the supermarket with turnips in them, Auntie Michelle puts squash in her soup, and her husband adds a bit of curry powder. You can also cut the vegetables as big or small as you want. I cut my carrots and celery in thirds; my grandma cuts them into tiny pieces. At 2nd Avenue Deli here in Manhattan, they have giant, soft matzo balls in soup flavored with dill.
- Water (almost-filled pot)
- 2 pieces of chicken on the bone. I used breasts.
- 1 large onion, peeled and whole
- 1 large tomato, whole
- 3 carrots, peeled, and cut in thirds
- 3 celery stalks, cut in thirds
- 8 small yukon gold potatoes, halved (you can use any kind of potato here. You may want to peel those with thick skin, but I just scrubbed these and left the skin on.)
- 1 egg
- Matzo meal, about a cup
- Salt and pepper, to season
- Fill a large pot with water and add the chicken, tomato, and onion. Add salt and bring to a boil.
- In the meantime, prepare the rest of your vegetables and add them to the pot.
- Let those boil together, and then lower the fire and simmer for about an hour, releasing all of the flavors.
- At this time, remove the onion and tomato (if desired).
- Now you have chicken soup, but you’re missing the most important part: matzo balls!
- Add one egg to a dish. Scramble it and add a ladle-full of soup broth, quickly mixing so the egg doesn’t set.
- Pour in about half a cup of matzo meal and mix it in.
- Add another half of a ladle of soup and some more matzo meal until the desired consistency is reached. The dough should be soft but not too hard to roll into a ball.
- Roll the mixture into even-sized balls and drop into the soup (careful not to splash).
- Once all of the matzo balls are formed, bring the soup to a boil once again.
- Let the soup simmer until you are ready to serve it.
How does your family make chicken/matzo ball soup?