Chicken Soup With Matzo Ball Dumplings

For half a century at least, and perhaps longer, these tasty fluffy Matzo crumb dumplings have been a delicious addition to chicken broth on the Jewish holidays for many families. I have such fond memories of my grandmother Rita making her chicken soup for us. She did not use recipes, as they were memorized, so you just had to watch and maybe take some notes! She simmered the chicken until all the goodness was in the soup with carrots, herbs, onion, garlic and the like. For the kids, grand kids, and great grand kids, she would let us have simply the broth, and these lovely happy Matzo dumplings, one of my son's first foods. On one holiday, he took his soup (which we had to make ice cold) in to the corner of my grandmother's dining room. He was maybe one or two at this time. He said emphatically "My matzo balls!"(as my dad had joked he might eat his). For some reason it brought to mind the Little Jack Horner poem, when he "puts in his thumb, pulls out a plum and declares what a good boy am I". I hope you will enjoy a recipe that has been a family heirloom and could perhaps bless a cold and chilly evening in your home on a family holiday of your choice. They are definitely kid approved!

Chicken Soup With Matzo Ball Dumplings


For the Soup

One four to five pound stewing hen

Four stalks celery with leaves

One large yellow onion minced

Four large carrots scrubbed and pealed

One parsnip pealed (adds sweetness, optional)

One cup minced flat leaf parsley

Two tablespoons fresh thyme

Two tablespoons minced rosemary

Two tablespoons fresh oregano

Two tablespoons dill fresh minced (optional)

One tablepoon Kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon white pepper

1/8 teaspoon ceyenne

Three large garlic cloves minced

Two fresh bay leaves minced

Four tablespoons canola oil or neutral oil

One quarter teaspoon sweet paprika

One teaspoon ground cardamom

One cinnamon stick

For the Matzo Balls

Six whole square matzot soaked in warm water in small pieces

One third of a stick of margarine melted or rendered chicken fat (from frying the chicken skin)

One large onion grated

Two garlic cloves mashed

Three large eggs beaten

One quarter cup matzo meal

A dash of ground cardamom

11/2 teaspoons salt

1/2 teaspoon white pepper

One tablespoon minced parsley


For the Soup

1) Rinse and pat dry the chicken. Smooth a few tablespoons of the oil over it and sprinkle it with the salt, pepper and cardamom

2) Brown a bit in the pot maybe for only a few minutes, not enough to truly brown the skin just to activate the spices.

3) Remove chicken. Take two more tablespoons of the oil and fry your diced vegetables the carrots (I like to make them into circle shapes, diced celery with leaves, minced onion, minced garlic, and a dash more salt, pepper, ceyenne, cardamom and paprika only 1/4 teaspoon each.

4) Add the minced herbs on top of the vegetables. Then, place the chicken back on top of everything.

5) Cover the entire chicken with water and bring the entire pot to a boil. Bring to a low simmer, mainly covered and cook for four to eight hours.

6) Skim the top of the soup for any foam. Remove the chicken reserving the broth and vegetables. Take a large bowl and place a large strainer inside. Pour broth over the strainer (as if draining pasta). Check for any bones in the vegetables. Debone the chicken and cut into bite size pieces. Some of it may shred, and this is still all right.