November 14, 2007

Homemade Matzo Ball Soup (Good For What Ails You)!

It's that time of year again. I am down to very few vacation days, but today I woke up feeling like I was coming down with a cold. The last time I had a cold was almost 10 years ago- and that's no accident. I have a secret to share with you: Every time I get this feeling, I stay home, make matzo ball soup and rest. This stuff is magic. Just smelling it cook for the few hours it takes starts the body a-healin'. Let's hope this is the case today.

1 cut up chicken, salted and peppered
1 onion, quartered
1 turnip, cut in half
1 parsnip, cut in half
1 sprig fresh dill
1 piece of leafy end of celery stalk

Put everything in a stockpot and cover with a mixture of chicken broth and water - I use 2/3 broth. Turn it almost to high heat until it gently boils, and then turn it down to keep it at a strong simmer for 2 1/2 hours.

Just before the 2 1/2 hour mark is a good time to prepare your matzo ball mixture because it should sit in the refrigerator for 1 hour.

1 cup matzo meal (unsalted)
4 large eggs
1/4 cup oil (schmaltz will also work)
1/4 cup water or seltzer
1 teaspoon salt (OR to taste)
Pinch of Ground Pepper

Beat eggs. Add water, oil, salt and pepper and mix well. Add matzo meal and stir thoroughly. Refrigerate for 1/2 to 1 hour.

Back to the soup! At this point, get another large pot and through a colander, strain the soup over it, so that all that is in the new pot is broth. Shred some of the chicken and add to broth. Some people don't put any shredded chicken in their soup, but I do. Also, at this point, add carrot and celery - one stalk of each, sliced thinly. Taste broth and add salt if necessary. Leave broth with shredded chicken and carrot and celery on the simmer for another 1/2 hour or so, until vegetables have softened. Time to make matzo balls!

Remove mixture from refrigerator. Partially fill large pot with water (I use some more chicken broth and mix it with the water) and bring to a boil. Moisten palms with cold water. Form mixture into balls about 1" in diameter, and drop matzo balls in boiling liquid. When all the matzo balls are in the pot, reduce heat to low. Cover and simmer for 30 or 40 minutes. Remove with slotted spoon to a large bowl.

If you are ready to eat, it's time to serve up bowls of your wonderful matzo ball soup. This soup also freezes well, but freeze the matzo balls separately on a flat sheet, and then place in a heavy duty freezer bag. Whenever you defrost the soup, and it's in the pot getting hot, you can put the frozen matzo balls right into it and let them heat up in the soup.

A little extra advice: don't freeze the soup with the matzo balls in it- the soup gets cloudy in the process. It tastes the same, but it won't look nearly as nice so you won't want to serve it to company.

I have to admit that I have smelled this soup cooking all morning and I already feel better. No more aches, scratchy throat or all-around yukky feeling. It's only 12 noon, so maybe I should have a bowl of soup and drive into work after all. On the other hand, I should probably just take it easy- the hammock would be a nice place to nap. The dogs are happy I'm home and I wouldn't want to disappoint them...and the eggs.


Sparki said...

Hey - remember the Celebrity Deli in Loehman's Plaza off Rt 50? This looks like the matzo ball soup I get from there when I'm feeling under the weather - only better! Now I can just make my own when I've got shlaym.

Arties32 said...

I remember the deli. They had good stuff. I don't know what shlaym is but it must be yiddish. Like when little Yoni said "I don't know what the medulla oblongata is but it has to be in Israel". It's better to make your own soup becuase it will have one ingredient that store-bought soup won't have !!

Sparkster said...

Shlaym is Yiddish for "mucus or phlegm" (I think!). I usually say shlaym cuz it sounds a little nicer... Especially on a food blog.

Arties32 said...

Yuk- you're right, but I have to post it so I can keep my curious readers well informed :)
It does sound nicer....especially on a food blog!

JB said...

can you send that to Richmond in a frozen block? I have been fighting something all week - please? hey - I said please so now if you don't send it you are just mean.

Arties32 said...

I wish I could. It's gone. I just have a few little lonely matzo balls left, no broth, no chicken- nothing. I guess I didn't need to double the ball recipe :)

Julie said...

I love Matzo Ball Soup, my mother always called it; "Jewish Penicillan". Hey, it worked I always felt better afterwards.

Arties32 said...

We called it that, too. I thought people would be turned off by that description in my post title if they weren't familiar with it. I mean, who would want to eat penicillin soup?? :)

JB said...

Me. I would eat penicillin soup - except you ate it all.
You are so mean.
But I would have doubled the balls too. ...even though that sounds kind of bad.

Arties32 said...

Somehow I knew that comment was going to come back to haunt me. It didn't take long.

JB said...

I was gonna say "I didn't know Matzos' had Balls?" so it could have been worse!

bmoon said...

"No more aches, scratchy throat or all-around yukky feeling". ... and here I thought it was the pool heater. Soup was excellent. Did you happen to freeze any?

Arties32 said...

We ate it all! No more matzo ball soup.

watson said...

old Yiddish joke as reported by my father -- and no doubt every other Jewish father of his generation: "If a poor man kills a chicken, one of them is sick."

This same father used to make excellent chicken soup, to which my grandmother's wonderful matzo balls would be added.