As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, soups are my favorite food. They’re incredibly versatile from hearty stews to warm you on a cold winter day to light and refreshing soups on a cool summers even. Because of my fascination with soups, I’ve decided to challenge myself to create a soup for every week of the year; 52 Weeks From the Soup Pot. This weeks soup, is a family tradition and a much loved recipe, Harvest Matzah Ball Soup. It’s filled with onions, carrots, and celery for flavor, topped with a hint of dill.
4 If you looking for a freezer friendly chicken broth soup you can make ahead of the holidays to ease the food prep pressures, this is a perfect fit. I like to create the soup ahead. The fats from the soup are frozen separate in small amounts so I use it for Matzah balls. The holidays are busy enough, why not prep if you can. It’s nice to know that I at least have the Harvest Matzah Ball Soup check off my To Do list.
My Matzah ball soup is essentially the same recipe as my Hearty Chicken Noodle Soup with Egg Noodles. However, instead of adding the Thyme, Marjoram and Parsley, I use enough dill to create a hint of flavor. You can add as much as you prefer. Some people are partial to the flavor of dill, and some are not. If the soup is just for me, I’ll go all out.
Chicken soup takes an exorbitant amount of time, but it’s really quite easy. Like any good tender meat, the trick is low and slow. Place the your whole chicken fryer in the soup pot and cover with water. You’ll want to bring it hard boil, then turn down the temperature to a high simmer and allow to simmer for 3 – 4 hours. It’s time to make sure the meat is tender and literally falling off the bone. Remove the bones and meat using a slotted spoon and set aside to cool to a manageable temperature. Using a soup sieve, strain the broth and refrigerate until the fats accumulate on the top. I like to allow it to chill over night. That way, I can break up the project into manageable times.
Depending on when you choose to finish your broth, same day or the next, dice up your vegetables once your are ready. Skim the fat off the top of the chilled chicken broth and set aside for your matzah balls. Use a tablespoon of the chicken fat to sauté your vegetables. Add a about a tablespoon of salt as the onions start to become transparent. This will sweeten the onions and depth to your broth. At this point, you can add your broth and allow to simmer and condense by about a 1/3.
Once the chicken has cooled to a manageable temperature, whether you are finishing your soup that day or next, break up the chicken. I’m very particular about skins and fat, so it takes me some time to sort through and break up the chicken. A tip, break it up into large pieces than you would prefer. The chicken will break apart into smaller pieces as it simmers.
Matzah balls are incredibly simple to make and to make flavorful. It’s a matter of combining some simple ingredients and allowing the flavors to meld. I like to allow my matzah ball dough to chill over night with the broth and shredded chicken. That way, I can simply remove the ingredients from the fridge and I’m ready to combine and finish.
As your broth, vegetables and chicken come to a boil. Bring an adjacent pot of water or chicken broth to boil for the dumplings. Once your dumpling broth is at a full boil, reduce to boil to a simmer. You don’t want to intruduce the dumplings to a hard boil. It will break them apart. Once the broth or water simmers down, you can use a 1 tablespoon scoop to create your dumplings. Gentle add them all to the broth. Once the simmer picks back up, you can increase the temperature to medium-high. Allow the matzah balls to cook fully before serving.
I like to serve up the chicken soup in a bowl and add the matzah balls to the top for effect. These dumplings tend to be smaller in size, so I typically at 2 to each bowl before serving. Here’s a tip, matzah balls don’t keep well. The are easy to make fresh and are best that way. If you find you have extra chicken soup, don’t worry. You can save it for another day with fresh matzah balls.
If cooking isn’t your thing or you don’t have a lot of time, you really want to give this a try. I suggests trying this hack. Use store bought chicken broth and frozen shredded chicken. You can either use butter or if you are concerned about cooking kosher, there are places to purchase schmaltz/chicken fat. Either way, you are in for a delicious addition to your holiday celebrations with the Harvest Matzah Ball Soup.
Harvest Matzah Ball SoupCourse: SoupsCuisine: Holiday MealsDifficulty: Moderate
A family tradition and a much loved recipe, Harvest Matzah Ball Soup. It’s filled with onions, carrots, and celery for flavor, topped with a hint of dill.
- Chicken Soup Base
1 5 lb. Chicken Fryer
2 Medium Carrots, diced
2 Celery Stalks, diced
1 Medium Onion
1 T. Garlic, minced
1 – 3 T. Dill, minced
1 T. Coarse Black Pepper
3 – 5 T. Salt – to taste
- Matzah Balls
2 Large Eggs
1/4 cup Schmaltz (Chicken Fat)
1 1/2 T. Dill, chopped
1/2 t. Coarse Black Pepper
2 T. Kosher Salt
3/4 cup Matzah Meal
- In a large soup pot, simmer a whole chicken fryer for 3 – 4 hours until the meat is falling off the bone.
- Using a slotted spoon, remove the meat and bones from the broth.
- Strain the broth through a strainer or soup sieve. Place the broth in the refrigerator to chill enough for the fats to accumulate on the surface.
- As the broth cools, remove the meat from the carcass and refrigerate until your ready to combine with the broth.
- Once the chicken fat has accumulated on the surface of the broth, gently skim it off and set aside. You’ll want to save some for the sautéing the vegetables, some for the matzah balls and the rest can be discarded.
- In a large soup pot, add the diced vegetables, 1 tablespoon of schmaltz (chicken fat), 1 tablespoon salt, pepper and garlic. Sauté until the onions start to become translucent.
- Carefully pour the broth back into the soup pot and bring to a boil. Reduce the the heat to medium-high and allow to condense down by about the 1/3.
- Add in the chicken and dill. Allow to simmer on low until the matzah balls are ready.
- Matzah Balls
- Thoroughly whisk together the eggs in a medium size bowl.
- Whisk together the schmaltz, dill, pepper and salt.
- Whisk in the matzah meal .
- Refrigerate for a half hour to over night.
- Bring about 3 qt. water or chicken broth to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium to slow the boil.
- Using a 1 tablespoon scoop, measure out individual matzah balls and roll between damp hands to create the balls.
- Using a slotted spoon, gently lower the dumplings into the heated water. Once all of the dumplings have been added, you can turn the heat back up to medium-high and allow to cook for 30 – 40 minutes.
- Scoop chicken soup into the individual bowls.
- Divide matzah balls among each of the bowls and serve hot.