With Passover around the corner and pesky seasonal colds running rampant, there is no better time to cook up a big batch of matzah ball soup for the family.
New Yorkers can certainly find a long list of restaurants serving up this Jewish delicacy, but it never tastes as good as fresh from your own kitchen! My great grandmother taught my father how to make this absolutely delicious matzah ball soup, and he dutifully handed the "Jewish penicillin" recipe down to me.
We traditionally make it during Passover, but it has become a year-round staple in my household since our kids and any visiting guests love it and, like any bone broth, it's so nutritious and restorative.
Until now, it has been a closely-guarded family recipe, but I'm thrilled to have received their blessing to share it — and it's just too darn delicious to keep it a secret!
Great Grandma Dora's Matzah Ball Soup
Cook time: 3 hours (great to make in the morning and serve for lunch!)
Prep time: 30 minutes
Tools: 2 large pots, a sieve/strainer, and cheesecloth or cooking string for herbs
- Box of Matzah ball mix
- Peanut oil
- 3.5 lb.+ whole chicken, organic if possible (toss organs, keep neck/rump if included in cavity, rinse chicken)
- 2 medium onions, peeled (leave whole)
- 3+ celery stalks, bite-sized chunks
- 3+ carrots, bite-sized chunks
- 1 parsnip (leave whole)
- 1 Tbsp salt
- 3 sprigs fresh parsley
- 3 sprigs fresh dill, chopped, reserve for soup topping
- Optional: challah or matzah for dipping
- Boil 3.5 quarts water (more if chicken larger than 3.5 lbs) in a large pot
- Add chicken + peeled whole onions, return to boil, and simmer for 90 minutes uncovered on medium heat.
- After 90 minutes, add the rest of the ingredients and cook covered on on low heat for 60 minutes.
- Prepare matzah ball mix (use both packets to make enough), but halve the recommended oil. Instead, use fresh chicken soup for the other half of the oil to infuse matzah balls with added flavor [E.g. Streit's matzah ball mix calls for 1/4 cup oil per packet (4 Tbsp), so use 2 Tbsp peanut oil and 2 Tbsp fresh chicken soup from the other pot.] Let mix stand for 15 minutes to thicken.
- Bring water to boil in a 2nd large pot for matzah balls.
- Shape the matzah balls and drop in boiling water for 30 minutes, cover pot. Tip: Constantly wet hands in water bowl to keep the dough from sticking to your hands.
- Strain chicken soup into a clean bowl/pot through a sieve. Keep carrots and celery. When cool enough, pull chicken off bones and set aside to add morsels to soup. Toss parsnip/onion/herbs/chicken remains after squeezing out soup. Carefully transfer matzah balls to soup with a slotted spoon.
- Garnish with fresh dill and serve. We also enjoy it with challah for dipping. During Passover, we enjoy it with matzah!
Enjoy this wonderful recipe! Leftover soup makes a great follow up meal, but be prepared to make more matzah balls if these get gobbled up before the soup is gone. Leftover boiled chicken can be incorporated into another dish like chicken pot pie!
Meredith Kurnov is the publisher of Macaroni KID Brooklyn NW, NY.