Chicken soup with matzoh balls

First the soup:

Put a chicken carcass (the bones of a roasted chicken with most of the meat off) in a large saucepan and add enough water to cover it. Bring the water to a boil and then lower the heat and simmer.

Meanwhile, chop an onion, two or three peeled carrots (my grandma did them as long carrot sticks, and that’s what I always do), and two or three sticks of celery (diced), and throw them in too. Simmer the soup for about half an hour, and then lift out the chicken bones with a slotted spoon, and use a fork to pull off the meat. Toss the meat back into the soup again, salt to taste, and serve over the matzoh balls.

I know some people add garlic or lemon, but my grandma didn’t, and I don’t either.

Heavy or Light Matzoh Balls:

So both my grandmothers made chicken soup with matzoh balls. My father’s mother made matzoh balls that were dense and heavy, and my mother’s mother made matzoh balls that were light and fluffy. I don’t know how my grandmothers achieved this difference, and I’ve never been able to figure out how to make the dense ones. So this is a recipe for light, fluffy matzoh balls.

How to make matzoh balls:

Put a large pot of water on to boil. You need a *different* large pot of water from the one you are making chicken soup in. In a small bowl, mix together two tablespoons of olive oil and two eggs. Add 1/2 cup of matzoh meal, 1 teaspoon salt, and two teaspoons of water. (Some people insist that it helps to use seltzer water but I haven’t found that it makes any difference.) Mix it all together and put it in the refrigerator for half an hour, or in the freeze for ten minutes (not longer or it will freeze!).

When the water is boiling, take the matzoh ball mixture out of the refrigerator and scoop out enough to make a ball the size of a bouncy superball – smaller than a golf ball. Use your fingers (wash them first) and palms to roll the ball round, and drop it into the boiling water. Repeat until you have used up all the matzoh ball mixture. Some may fall apart, or small bits may fall off, but that’s something you have to live with. Let the matzoh balls cook in the boiling water for about twenty minutes, and then take them out with a slotted spoon.

Vegetarian or Vegan?

There’s no easy way to make vegan matzoh balls, but they are vegetarian. You could just make flour and water dumplings.

Will matzoh balls keep?

Matzoh balls are better fresh; you can eat them reheated the next day, but they do not freeze well.

Published by Karen Carr

Dr. Karen Carr is Associate Professor Emerita, Department of History, Portland State University. She holds a doctorate in Classical Art and Archaeology from the University of Michigan. Follow her on Instagram, Pinterest, or Facebook, or buy her book, Vandals to Visigoths.

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