|Matzo Ball Soup
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