matzo ball soup

Matzo Ball Soup

In celebration of Passover, only unleavened bread may be eaten to commemorate when Egypt’s pharaoh agreed – after 10 plagues – to let Moses’ enslaved people go. The Jews left their homes so quickly that they didn’t have time to prepare bread for the journey. Instead, they ate an unleavened mixture of flour and water that turned flat, hard and cracker-like when baked. The cracker, called matzo, when ground into a fine meal and mixed with other ingredients, became the comforting matzo ball, a type of dumpling cooked in soup.

The chicken soup is adapted from the Empire Kosher Chicken Cookbook. Matzo balls adapted from Andrea Watman’s recipe for Zabar’s.

For the chicken soup:
one 6 to 8 pound chicken
4 large onions, unpeeled and quartered
6 celery stalks
6 to 8 large carrots, cut in 2-inch pieces
1 head garlic, unpeeled and cut in half
20 sprigs parsley
20 sprigs dill
2 tablespoons salt
2 teaspoons peppercorns

Place the chickens, onions, carrots, celery, parsley, dill, garlic, salt and peppercorns in a large stockpot. Add 7 quarts of water and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer, uncovered, for 3 ½ hours. Strain the entire contents of the pot through a colander and chill. Once chilled, remove the surface fat to use for the matzo balls.

For the matzo balls:
4 large eggs
3 tablespoons vegetable oil or chicken fat
¼ cup seltzer
1 cup matzo meal
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper
2 tablespoons parsley, finely chopped

In a medium bowl whisk the eggs, oil, salt, pepper and matzo meal. Stir in seltzer. Refrigerate for a minimum of 2 hours then form the balls by rolling the mixture in your hand. Dip your hands in cold water to keep them from getting too sticky. Bring the chicken broth to a boil, drop the matzo balls into boiling broth, reduce the heat and simmer 20 to 30 minutes. The balls will double in size and begin to float to the top when ready. Serve hot. Delicious.

Serves 12

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