Matzo Ball Soup
Yield: 5 to 6 quarts
Though you could use store-bought stock, the following recipe is the perfect compliment to the homemade Duck Fat Matzo Balls. You will end up with 16 matzo balls which will make 8 bowls of soup.

For the Broth

  • 1 (6-8 pound) chicken, giblets removed
  • 5-6 quarts water
  • 2 large onions, halved and peeled
  • 3 carrots, peeled and chopped into large chunks*
  • 2 chicken bouillon cubes (extra large size which is a net weight of 23g for both cubes)
  • 15 parsley sprigs
  • 15 dill sprigs
  • 10 grinds of pepper mill

For the Duck Fat Matzo Balls

  • 4 large eggs
  • ½ cup seltzer (some say this makes them fluffier) or water
  • 6 (14g) tablespoons duck fat (or Crisco or schmaltz)
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • A few grinds of pepper mill
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill (optional)
  • 1 cup (116g) matzo meal

Instructions for Broth

  1. Fill a large stockpot with water. Add the chicken and the vegetables. The water should cover everything about an inch. Bring to a boil, and then lower to a gentle simmer.
  2. Add the parsley, dill, and pepper. Simmer, partially covered, for 2 hours, skimming the foamy bubbles off the top occasionally.
  3. Remove the chicken and add the bouillon cubes (I like 2) but you can use more or less depending on preference. (You could also skip them and add salt to taste). Cook for one more hour and then strain out vegetables and herbs (save those vegetables!).
  4. Cool the soup overnight. In the morning, skim off the solid fat that has risen to the top and discard. This is an important step to prevent the soup from being too greasy.
  5. Reheat the broth. When the chicken is cool enough to handle, remove the meat and shred or chop into bite-size pieces. You can either add the chicken, soft cooked vegetables, and matzo balls to the soup; or plate each bowl with the add-ins and pour the broth over top.**

Instructions for Duck Fat Matzo Balls

  1. Beat eggs until yolk and whites are just combined. Stir in seltzer/water, schmaltz (or fat) salt & pepper, and dill if using.
  2. Add matzo meal gradually, and mix until just combined.
  3. Cover and fridge for 1½ hours. This is important to allow the matzo meal to hydrate, making it firmer and easier to roll. If you still see specks of unhydrated matzo meal in the mixture, it probably needs more time.
  4. Meanwhile, boil a large pot of water. When the matzo mixture is set, roll 2 tablespoons of the batter with wet hands and drop into the pot (makes 16), keeping the water at a low simmer. Resist the urge to touch or stir, and cover and cook for 35 minutes.
  5. Remove the matzo balls and either A) place at bottom of bowl and pour hot broth over top, B) let cool and store in fridge 1-2 days with a tablespoon or two of cooking liquid, or C) let cool and freeze in an airtight container. When ready to reheat for B & C, place in simmering broth, about 5-10 minutes for refrigerated balls and 20 minutes for frozen balls.

Notes & Tips

*Celery can be used in addition to carrots – half carrots half celery – or instead of. Both makes a pretty color and an interesting depth to flavor

**You could also add cooked rice, extra dill, or anything else you like in for a great chicken soup!

A Note on Timing
The matzo balls can be made while the soup cooks, so this does not add any extra cook time. However, if just making the matzo balls, this will be about 45 minutes of active cooking time + 1 hour of chilling.

A Note on Gluten
For those who need it, gluten-free matzo meal is available, and works as a 1:1 replacement for standard matzo meal.

A Note on Dill…
Ann and I both love dill and think it gives this broth a very special depth of flavor. It also enhances the matzo balls, which are mild-tasting by nature (hence why people are drawn to it as a “sick day” food). That said, not everyone is a fan of dill and it may absolutely be left out.

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