Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Matzo Ball Soup (with Chicken Feet and Shmaltz)

The Matzo Balls

Prepare these first and leave in the refrigerator until you are ready for them.

4 eggs

2 teaspoons salt

4 tablespoons chicken broth

4 tablespoons schmaltz (or vegetable oil if you are a sissy)

1 cup matzo meal

1 tablespoon finely minced parsley if you wish.

Beat the eggs , schmaltz and broth with a bit of salt using a whisk or fork until blended and then stir in the matzo meal and the parsley if you use it. Now you might wish to place this in the fridge for a half hour to firm up the dough.
Now you will shape them into small...... Emphasis on small... balls and drop them into either salted boiling water too cook or into boiling soup to cook.
If you make them large beware because they will end up huge!!

Now for the soup:

1 whole chicken( now the real secret to good chicken soup is to use about 8 chicken feet. yes you heard right, thats the real old fashioned way and where most of the flavor is. You just have to scrub them thoroughly but its how your great great grandparents made soup! no jokes about the flavor please. But they are optional of course)
3 or 4 carrots chopped
3 stalks of celery chopped and you can add a chopped up zucchini if you wish
2 large onions chopped
2 chopped cloves of garlic
3 parsnips peeled and sliced
A quart or more of chicken stock ( you can purchase kosher chicken broth if you wish)
Water to make sure the stock covers the chicken for boiling if the stock is not enough
1 bay leaf
salt and pepper to taste and pinches of sage or marjoram and thyme can be added .
You may also like a bit of dill in it.. but I do not.

Place your chicken in a large pot of water and/or stock ( I use a mixture) along with all your spices and vegetables and cook at a boil til the chicken is done. Lower the heat and cook more til the chicken is falling off the bones, about 2 hours total start to finish really.
Skim fat along the way.
Now if you wish, you can cook the chicken a little then bone it and return to the pot or you can just strain them out after the soup is done.

You add the matzo balls about half an hour before the soup is completely done . It will take about that long for them to cook through.

Another option is to cook the matzo balls in salted boiling water first while soup is preparing and then add them.

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