Spring has definitely sprung where I am, with temperatures in the high 70′s and buds on the trees – making soup isn’t exactly on my radar anymore. But with all the Easter creations I’ve been experimenting with, I would be remiss if neglected my own holiday. So I took one for the team.
Now, I know chicken soup is like chocolate chip cookies, in that there are a gazillion variations and everyone claims that theirs is the best. But seriously, this is my favorite chicken soup. (Aren’t most family meals you grew up eating your favorite?) Yep, this is another one of my mom’s excellent recipes.
After getting flack for altering her corned beef and cabbage, I promised I would not mess with her matzo ball chicken soup. I even left the celery in…and you all know how much I loathe celery.
While this is a traditional soup to serve at Passover, you can make it any time during the year – you don’t need to be Jewish or celebrate Passover to enjoy it. At the very least, you need to make it the next time you come down with a bad cold. I promise you’ll feel better. It really is like medicine…the best tasting medicine.
Chicken Noodle Soup with Matzo Balls
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 30 minutes
For the Matzo Balls
• 2 extra large eggs
• 2 tablespoons rendered chicken fat (or canola oil)
• 1/2 cup matzo meal
• 1 teaspoon kosher salt
• 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
For the Soup
• 6 large carrots, peeled and ends trimmed
• 4 stalks celery, peeled, cut in half and tied together
• 1 large onion, outer skin removed, kept whole
• 1 (49 ounce) can low sodium chicken stock
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
• 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
• 1 (12 ounce) package of egg noodles
• 3 cups roasted chicken pieces
For the matzo balls, beat the eggs and chicken fat (or oil) in a small bowl.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the matzo meal, salt, and baking powder. Add in the egg mixture and gently mix with a fork until just combined (do not over mix!) Cover bowl and place in the refrigerator for at least 20 minutes.
For fluffy matzo balls, gently shape batter with your hands into 8, 1-2 inch balls (a compact ball will make for a more dense matzo ball, if you prefer.)
In the meantime, place all of the soup ingredients (except the noodles and chicken) in a large pot. Bring to a boil; reduce heat to simmer. Cover and cook until vegetables are tender, but not mushy, about 25-30 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning, if necessary.
While the soup is simmering, cook your noodles al dente, according to package directions. Remove the noodles with a hand strainer; do not drain the water. Set noodles aside and keep warm.
Add a little more water to the pasta water if it looks low. Bring back to boiling, drop matzo balls into the bubbling water (they will sink), lower heat, cover pot and let gently simmer for 20-30 minutes until all the balls float to the top.
Discard onion and celery from the soup. Cut carrots into thirds.
Place noodles, shredded chicken, carrots, and 1-2 matzo balls into bowls and ladle soup on top. Serve hot.
Note: you should only need two pots; 1 for the soup and 1 for the noodles, which will also be used for the matzo balls. If you time it correctly, the soup and matzo balls should cook at the same time, so everything is done relatively close together.