Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Chicken soup with matzo balls for a new family

A friend of mine had a baby last month, and I wanted to do something to make things just a tad easier for her and her husband. I decided to make them dinner, and drop it off at their house. When thinking about different meal options, I decided to go with the ultimate comfort food, chicken soup with matzo balls. It's delicious, healthy, and minus the matzo balls, it freezes beautifully. Who wouldn't love that?
I grew up in west Los Angeles, and lived in New York City for 4 years. Needless to say, I am quite familiar with the American Jewish staple, the matzo ball. For those of you who are unfamiliar, however, you can think of it as something similar to the dumplings in Chicken and dumpling soup... it is essentially a floating, stock-soaked, starch ball. yummmm. 
Here's how to make it:

Chicken soup with Matzo balls:

For the soup: 
  • 1 cup diced onion
  • 1 cup diced celery
  • 1 cup diced carrot
  • 1 cup diced Yukon gold potatoes
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground pepper
  • 2 teaspoons dried thyme
  • 2-3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 8 cups chicken stock (preferably home made)
For the Matzo balls:
  • 1 cup matzo meal
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt

1. Saute onion, celery, and carrot, in 2-3 tbsp olive oil, 1 tbsp salt and 2 tsp pepper, over medium heat. 

2. Once vegetables are tender, add the thyme and potatoes, and saute for 1 minute longer.

3. Add 8 cups chicken stock. I keep home made in the freezer, but you can always use store bought. My favorite product is "Swanson's low sodium chicken broth"... always buy low sodium so that you can have better control over the saltiness. Simmer soup on low-medium heat.
4. Matzo balls: mix together 1 cup matzo meal (ground up matzo), 2 eggs, 2 tbsp olive oil, and 1 tsp salt. Let sit in fridge for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes roll mixture into 1 inch diameter balls (use wet hands to make this process easier). Drop the matzo balls into the simmering soup, cover with lid, and let cook 20 minutes.
*hint: for large fluffy matzo balls ('Floaters'), drop the balls into the soup as soon as you roll them out. For dense matzo balls, let them rest for another 15 minutes (or longer) before adding them to the pot.
5. After the matzo balls are finished cooking, add 2 cups of shredded chicken meat to the soup. For the chicken meat, I either roast off one or two chicken breasts before hand, or use meat from a store bought rotisserie chicken.

6. Serve as soon as the chicken is heated through to avoid a rubbery texture.

**hints to make this soup easily and quickly:
1. buy pre-chopped veggies
2. use store bought chicken stock
3. buy a box of Matzo meal, rather than having to process the matzo yourself.
4. buy pre-cooked chicken. 

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