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Matzo Ball Soup Print Email


This classic Passover recipe is served as the first course of the seder meal in Jewish homes all around the world. This version comes from Renee Renner, a home cook in the Bronx, New York, who adds seltzer to the matzo balls to ensure that they turn out light and airy.

12 sprigs fresh dill
4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
3 sprigs fresh cilantro
2 small yellow onions, thinly sliced
1 bunch celery, cut into 1/2" pieces
Sprigs from 1/2 bunch flat-leaf parsley plus 1 TBS chopped
3 large carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2" pieces
1 turnip, peeled and cut into 1/2" pieces
1 parsley root, cut into 1/2" pieces
one 3 1/2-lb. chicken
1 lb. chicken feet
Salt, to taste
2 TBS seltzer water
1/8 tsp. dried dill
2 eggs, at room temperature
1/2 cup plus 1 TBS matzo meal

Gather up dill, garlic, cilantro, onions, celery, and parsley sprigs in a piece of cheesecloth to form a purse; secure with twine. Make a second purse with the carrots, turnips, and parsley root.

Put dill purse, chicken, chicken feet, salt, and 1 1/2 gallons water into a large pot; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low; simmer, covered, for 1 1/2 hours. Add carrot purse and simmer, covered, until carrots are tender, about 30 minutes.

Remove and discard dill purse and feet. Remove chicken and carrot purse; let cool. Pull enough breast meat into fine shreds to make 3/4 cup. Reserve 1 cup vegetables from the carrot purse. Cover and chill shredded chicken and vegetables. (Reserve remaining chicken and vegetables for another use.) Strain broth through a fine sieve; chill overnight. Skim off and discard all but 2 TBS chicken fat from broth; set fat aside.

Whisk together reserved chicken fat, seltzer, dried dill, and eggs in a bowl. Pour in matzo meal while whisking. Cover and chill the matzo mixture for 15 minutes. Bring 2 1/2 quarts salted water to a boil. With wet hands, form matzo mixture into 1" balls. Reduce heat to medium; drop in balls. Cook, covered, for 15 minutes. Stir balls gently and simmer, covered, until fluffy, 10–12 minutes more. Meanwhile, transfer reserved shredded chicken, mixed vegetables, and broth to a large pot; heat over medium heat. Transfer balls to the broth. Serve soup garnished with remaining parsley.

SERVES 8 – 10, Saveur Issue #101
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