Chicken Broth or Stock
- 1 5-6 Lb Chicken, either whole or cut into quarters (for "Stock" you would roast the Chicken first)
- 1 Large Yellow Onion, cut into quarters (unpeeled for darker broth/stock)
- 2 Large Carrots, washed and cut into thirds
- 2 Large Celery Stalks, washed and cut into thirds
- 6 Cloves Garlic, peeled and slightly smashed with the side of a knife
- 1 Small Bunch each of Fresh Italian Parsley, Fresh Thyme, 1 Bay Leaf, Celery Tops (leaves), tied together with kitchen string or tied in a bundle with cheesecloth
- 1 Tbls (heaping) Kosher Salt
- 1 Tsp Whole Black Peppercorns
- Cold Water to cover (about 12 cups)
Place the chicken and the rest of the ingredients in large stock pot. Add enough cold water to cover the chicken and bring to a boil over high heat. Turn heat down to a simmer and cook, uncovered for 1 and 1/2 to 2 hours, skimming foam/fat from the top and adding a bit more water as needed. The chicken should be very tender and pretty much falling off the bones. Allow it to cool just a bit for about 15 to 20 minutes and then remove the chicken to a plate to cool further. Pick out and discard the vegetables and herbs and strain the broth through a colander lined with cheesecloth into another slightly smaller pot. Remove the meat from the chicken and set aside to add to the soup. (any excess meat is great for chicken salad or can be frozen for later use in soups, salads or casseroles)
Note** You can certainly use 3 or 4 quarts of prepared store bought chicken broth/stock and a purchased rotisserie chicken, if you don't have the time or the desire to make your own.
I like to add the cooked shredded chicken meat and the same basic vegetables and herbs to my soup, but if you prefer a simple broth as the base for your matzo ball soup, you can omit any or all of them.
- 2 Cups Matzo Meal
- 2 Cups of Water or Chicken Broth
- 2 Tbls Schmaltz or Vegetable Oil
- 2 Large Eggs, separated
- 3 Tbls Fresh Flat Leaf Parsley, chopped
- 1 Tsp Onion Powder
- 1/2 Tsp Garlic Powder
- 1 Tsp Kosher Salt
- 1/2 Tsp Fresh Black Pepper
Note** Schmaltz is rendered Chicken Fat that you can often find in the International sections of some larger grocery stores or at Jewish Delis and specialty stores. Vegetable oil or cooled melted butter can be used in it's place.
In a large bowl, mix Matzo Meal, Schmaltz/Oil, Egg Yolks, Parsley and Seasonings together until well combined. (mixture will be goopy/lumpy and thick) Slowly add Water or Broth, stirring constantly, until the mixture forms a thick paste/dough.
In a separate bowl, whisk or beat the whites until they form medium stiff peaks. Add about 1/3 of the beaten whites to the matzo meal dough, stirring briskly to lighten up the mixture slightly. Slowly add the remaining 2/3 of the whites, folding gently with a spatula in a figure 8 pattern until both mixtures are fully combined, trying not to deflate the mixture too much. Cover with plastic wrap and chill in the fridge for 30 minutes.
Bring the strained broth/stock to a boil over medium high to high heat. It's at this point where you can decide if you want to add some newly cut up vegetables, herbs or chicken meat to your soup. Just bring the soup to a simmer and cook until the vegetables are tender before doing the next step.
Cooking the Matzo Balls: You can take spoonfuls of the chilled mixture and roll them into whatever size you prefer, or you can just drop them free-form by rounded spoonfuls directly into the broth. They can be small, medium or large, depending on personal tastes. I like to use about 2 heaping tablespoons per Matzo Ball.
Simmer the matzo balls, uncovered, for about 25 or 30 minutes until they are cooked through. You can check them by inserting a wooden skewer (like testing a cake) or remove one to a plate and cut it in half with a knife. They should be firm and the centers should not be "wet" or doughy. You can freeze any leftover soup or matzo balls, but I would suggest that you freeze them separately. I take the matzo balls and place them on a lightly oiled baking sheet and put them in the freezer until they are frozen solid. I then place them in zip top freezer bags in quantities of 2 or 4 and ladle the soup into containers that will serve 1 or 2 people. When I want to serve the soup later, I just put whatever amount of soup I need and a couple of matzo balls per person in a saucepan right from the freezer, and cook them over medium heat until everything is piping hot and ready to eat.
It seems there will always be an ongoing debate about whether or not Chicken Soup has any true medicinal benefits; especially in regard to the common cold. There are a few studies that claim that it works and just as many that refute those claims. Do I personally have any scientific proof that chicken soup can cure what ails you? Nope. Is it warm and rich and comforting when you're just not feeling well? It sure is for me.
Sooo..... All I have to do now is figure out a way to convince the Carnegie Deli to deliver a couple hundred miles away! I suppose I could throw in a slice of their incredible New York Style Cheesecake to make it worth their while. Do you think $20 is a big enough tip?