It has been an offensively long time since I have shared a recipe and I am very sorry about that. Lauren has made me promise to write more food blogs in 2018. I agree that not sharing some of my delicious creations is a crime. That is the funny thing about food blogs–the end result is usually a home run and as delicious as it looks. However, it is the photos and the behind the scene stuff that has me challenged because my job that pays the bills doesn’t allow for a lot of time in the day when the sun is out to cook and snap photos. Let’s face it, I am a way better cook than I am a photographer and, if I don’t have daylight, you will have sad food photos. But, enough excuses, let’s talk about today’s recipe.
Several years ago, I watched my ex-brother-in-law make chicken stock and, per usual, I pulled up a chair to take it all in. I don’t know what it is about cooking. I absolutely love partaking. I find the whole process relaxing, however I could sit and watch someone else work their craft with equal enjoyment. While his chicken and a few other items were set at a steady boil on the stove, I noticed an herb in the pot that I had never used. That herb was saffron. Not only is it the contributing factor to why this soup is so delicious, it is also apparently made of gold and stupidly expensive. That was the day I learned how to make Matzo ball soup and my family and I have enjoyed it ever since.
There is something so comforting about a steaming hot bowl of delicious broth topped off with a fluffy, savory ball of pure goodness. The simplicity of this dish is the numero uno reason why I love it. It is yet another reason why food does not have to be complicated. Sometimes, all you need is a little bit of time and a few ingredients to create a masterpiece. It doesn’t have to be fancy. It just has to taste incredible and make you feel all hygge inside. Matzo Ball soup is just that. And, the secret trick to making an insatiable matzo soup is in the balls. But, in order to make those little nuggets of goodness, you have got to make the broth first.
So let’s go!
whole chicken – cut up
bag of carrots – cleaned and tops removed
10-12 pepper corns
matzo ball mix (I like the Manischewitz brand)
2 Tbsps. chicken fat or vegetable oil – (I prefer the fat)
fresh parsley – if you have it use it (but not a requirement)
To start, put the chicken, half of the bag of whole carrots, onions, saffron, pepper corns and bay leaf in a soup pot and cover completely with water. The water is going to seriously reduce so fill it up! Bring to a rolling boil for a few minutes. Be sure to skim off all of the junk. Continue by lessening the boil for an hour or longer. This is where all of the magic happens. If you have time, let it go for a bit.
Secret tip alert! We are going to make Matzo balls with the chicken fat that floats to the top of the soup pot! Isn’t this exciting?
Let’s get ready to render!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
You will find on your Matzo Ball mix box that it calls for vegetable oil. No. No. No. A proper ball needs fat. Chicken fat. How do you gather the fat? I’ll tell you. Now don’t hurt yourself here. If you are able to lift the grate that sits above your flame a pinch and place it unevenly so that your pot leans a bit to one side, that is ideal. The fat will settle to one side and it makes your job just a bit easier. If you are scared and/or simply can’t do that, not to worry! You will still be able to gather the fat. I use a small mason jar as my fat vessel. I have tons of them in all shapes and sizes and I find them to be the most diverse little tool in the kitchen. Here goes.
Take a strainer spoon. It is the one that looks like wire mesh with a handle. The holes are small enough for hot liquid to seep through, but not the fat. This whole thing looks exactly like oil and water. You want the oil. Gather the oil and set aside in a jar or bowl. At this point, I like to turn up the heat and really reduce my broth. I find a greater flavor comes from a more concentrated broth.
Salt your broth! A good healthy pinch.
This is the Matzo Ball Mix. You will find this in the Jewish section of your grocery store.
In a large bowl, pour the Matzo mix, 2 eggs and 2 tablespoons of chicken fat. If, for some reason you have a fat-free bird, you can substitute the remaining fat needed with oil. Mix it all together and then set in the refrigerator for 15 minutes. While this is going on, get that broth clear and ready to steam some balls. Remove all vegetables and any other items floating around. I like my Matzo ball soup plain and simple. Broth and balls, or broth, balls and sliced carrots if I feel like it. This would be the point you could toss in fresh sliced carrots. Just not the ones you used to make the broth. Those are pretty much done.
OK! Let’s roll some balls.
First, wet your digits. This will help to make the Matzo ball process a little less sticky. Grab a clump. Try to make them as even in size as possible. A ball that fits in the palm of your hand is perfect. About 2 tablespoons worth of ball mix. (I always eyeball it.) But, keep in mind, these guys are going to double in size. Drop them in and cover. Bring to a boil for a minute and then turn the heat down to a simmer. Steam them for 15 minutes or so and you are just about done!
Take a bowl and add some broth and a ball or two. We are usually rationing over here because, if you make, it they will come. LOL. See what I did there? A little Field of Dreams reference to get you dreaming of summer! But, in the meantime, it is winter and the soup is on!
Sprinkle some fresh parsley if you have it on hand. I have to say this is a super cozy soup and I have yet to meet a child that doesn’t like it. My kids’ friends have been fed this several times and there is never anything left over. Should you find yourself running low on broth, add some chicken stock to the mix.
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