This morning, because Lane wasn’t feeling well and stayed home from work, I decided I’d make him some matzoh ball soup. The only problem was that I didn’t have any chicken stock already made. I figured, considering Lane’s state, that this wouldn’t be a problem and he’d be asleep for hours while I had the makings of stock bubbling on the stove. Not so much. Instead, it played out more like: Lane comes down the stairs an hour later, after having told me to just buy prepared stock at the grocery store, and there’s no soup yet. Well, at least three hours later when it was ready, he downed three bowls of it and proclaimed it better than the matzoh ball soup he gets at a local deli. The moral of the story is that it’s not a bad idea to keep chicken stock on hand, and that homemade chicken stock is well worth the wait.
Stock is one of those things you don’t have to get very fancy about. I toss everything in the pot, let it simmer, and strain it afterward. That means the onions and garlic don’t need to be perfectly peeled, and the vegetables just need to be cut into uniform pieces. For the chicken, I get a whole chicken that has already been cut up and toss the pieces into the stock pot. I find that the meat from the chicken is almost tasteless after this process and just discard it, so I wait for chicken to go on sale before doing this. For five dollars’ worth of chicken I was able to make six quarts of stock, so I don’t consider this to be a waste. The stock freezes well, just let it cool before putting it into airtight containers and freezing for up to one month.
Matzoh Ball Soup
for the stock:
- 5 lbs. whole chicken, cut into 8 pieces
- 6 large carrots, peeled and cut into 2-inch pieces
- 3 large yellow onions, cut in half
- 2 heads of garlic, peeled and cut in half
- 8 celery stalks, cut into 2-inch pieces
- 5 Tbs. salt
- 1 Tbs. ground black pepper
- 3 Tbs. dried oregano
- 1 sprig fresh thyme
- 6 quarts of water
for the matzoh balls:
- 1/2 C. matzoh meal
- 2 eggs, lightly beaten
- 2 Tbs. vegetable oil
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1/2 tsp. pepper
- 2 Tbs. seltzer water
to assemble the soup:
- 2-3 quarts of the chicken stock
- 1 carrot, thinly sliced
- 1 celery stalk, thinly sliced
To make the stock, put all ingredients except for the water into a large stock pot and stir to combine.
Pour in the water, cover the pot, and bring to a boil.
Reduce the heat and simmer the stock for 3 hours, uncovered.
Pour the stock through a fine strainer and discard the solids.
To make the matzoh balls, combine the matzoh meal, eggs, oil, salt, pepper, and seltzer in a medium bowl.
Chill the matzoh mixture in the fridge for 30 minutes.
Bring 1 1/2 quarts of well-salted water to a boil in a medium pot.
Wet your hands completely, and using a spoon, drop 1 Tbsp. of matzoh mixture onto the palm of your hand, and gently roll it into a round ball.
Drop the matzoh ball into the boiling water and repeat until all matzoh mixture has been used.
Cover the pot and simmer for 30-40 minutes.
Ten minutes before the matzoh balls are ready, put the carrot and celery into the 3 quarts of chicken stock and heat to a simmer.
Ladle the soup into a bowls and add 2-3 matzoh balls to each bowl.
Makes 6 quarts of stock. Soup recipe makes 6 servings (2 cups of stock and 3 matzoh balls per serving).
Source: matzoh balls and soup adapted slightly from Smitten Kitchen