Chicken Matzo Ball Soup: A Jewish Dish That Is Steeped In History And Tradition
- Rittwik Naskar
Updated : September 08, 2022 08:09 IST
More than a comfort food, Matzo ball soup is a must-have on Jewish holidays
Matzo or Matzah Ball Soup is a traditional soup often served during Passover. It’s a chicken-based soup with delicious dumplings called matzo balls, that are made from crushed unleavened matzoh bread, eggs, chicken broth, olive oil, and aromatic herbs. But the soup is so much more than the cumulative sum of its ingredients. The soup is symbolic and a reminder that God delivers, and he provides for his children.
Matzo Ball Soup is a dumpling of Germanic origins. To enjoy this recipe during Passover, the spring festival of the Jewish community, they began using matzah meal to replace flour and in turn, matzah balls were born. Passover commemorates the Biblical story of Exodus, a story of deliverance when God freed the Israelites from slavery in Egypt. And it was because of what God had ordained in Exodus 12:14, that says, “You shall eat nothing leavened; in all your dwelling places you shall eat unleavened bread.” that flour isn't used for the dumplings but for matzah meal.
Chicken Matzo Ball Soup is a comfort food for sure, but it requires effort and time to put together. It is a culinary creation borne out of faith and it is very close to Jewish people's hearts. It is a patient process that involves skimming the soup while boiling it in a large stockpot with vegetables, aromatic herbs, chicken and matzoh balls. This soup can mend a broken heart and cure an aching soul. This is a labour of love; simplicity at its finest, and that gets reflected in its taste. So, if you're wondering about making the chicken matzo ball soup for yourself, you can do so with the recipe given below.
For The Matzo Balls
- 3 tbsp schmaltz, i.e., chicken fat
- 1 cup matzoh meal
- 4 large eggs
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 2 tbsp parsley leaves, chopped
- ¼ tsp salt
- ⅓ tsp pepper
- ½ tsp ground ginger powder
- ¼ cup finely chopped almonds
For the Soup
- 1 whole Amish chicken, cut up into pieces, with skin-on
- 6-7 carrots, peeled and cut in half
- 2 large onions, peeled and cut in half
- 1 bunch of dill leaves
- 1 bunch parsley leaves
- 1 tbsp black peppercorns
- 1 tbsp kosher salt, or as required
- 6 cups of water, or as required.
For Matzo Balls
-In a mixing bowl, beat the eggs and fat together. Add the matzoh meal, almonds, salt, parsley, and others.
-Incorporate them well and refrigerate for 20 minutes to an hour.
-With wet hands, form the matzo batter into 1½ inch balls with the help of an ice cream scoop.
For the Matzo Soup
-While the Matzo Balls are in the refrigerator, melt the schmaltz in a large stock pot.
-Add the cut pieces of chicken and let the skin crisp up and release some more fat.
-Add the onions, carrots, and saute for 5 to 6 minutes, or until the vegetables soften.
-Add the water, parsley, and dill to the pot and bring it to a boil.
-Carefully drop the matzo balls into the soup once they're out of the refrigerator.
-Cover and simmer for 20 to 25 minutes on a low flame. Do not lift the lid while cooking or the matzo balls will boil instead of steam, turning them tough.
Once the matzo balls are cooked and the chicken reaches a fall-off-the-bone type doneness, remove the pot from the heat and serve it hot, garnished with some chopped parsley if you'd like, otherwise it is flavourful just by itself.