Earlier this week I shared my recipe on a roasted leg of lamb in preparation for Easter recipes next weekend. Tonight I wanted to stay with my theme of cooking for Passover, but I don’t prefer flourless breads, cakes, or other desserts. Consumption and ownership of any wheat, barley, spelt, rye and oat ingredients is traditionally forbidden during Passover. The symbol of Passover is matzo, an unleavened flatbread made from flour and water, a symbol to promote humility and appreciate freedom without the luxury of enjoying leavened bread. Since many ingredients were forbidden during Passover, many traditional foods were made from matzo as an ingredient substitute.
Matzo meal is simply matzo that has been ground into fine crumbs that is a great substitute for breadcrumbs and flour. Passover cakes and other sweets are made with matzo meal, which gives them a denser texture than regular baked goods made with flour. Matzo farfel is a coarser version of matzo meal.
Matzo balls are traditional Jewish dumplings made from matzo meal as the main ingredient along with seasonings for taste. Vegetable oil is the fat that is used when making matzo balls since butter is not used, as milk products are not allowed during Passover. The matzo balls are formed while keeping one’s hands wet when handling them and dropping them in boiling water or chicken soup to cook. They swell during the boiling time, and they can be frozen and reheated in soup.
This chicken matzo ball soup is an enjoyable Easter Passover recipe. It is pure homemade goodness, consisting of homemade chicken soup served with matzo ball dumplings. The matzo ball recipe might make a great vegetarian substitute for meat balls! I have not tried it with tomato sauce or pasta yet!
1 chicken (about 2 1/2 lbs), cut into portions
14 cups water
3 carrots, peeled and thickly sliced
3 ribs celery, thickly sliced
1 parsnip, peeled and cut in half
2 tbsp coarsely chopped parsley
2 tbsp chopped fresh dill
2 chicken stock bouillon cubes, crumbled
2 garlic cloves
Salt and ground black pepper to taste
For the matzo balls
3/4 cup matzo meal
3 tbsp vegetable oil
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
1 large shallot, finely chopped
6 tbsp water
Salt and ground black pepper to taste
Rinse the chicken and put the chicken in a large pot. Keeping the onions whole, cut off the stem of each onion and peel them. Cut a large cross in the stem end of each onion.
Add the onions, carrots, celery, and parsnip to the pot along with the water.
Add the parsley and 1 tbsp of the fresh dill.
Cover the pot and bring to a boil over high heat, and then immediately lower the heat so that the liquid just simmers.
Skim the soup and discard the scum that rises to the top. The scum will continue to form, but only the first scum that rises will detract from the clarity and flavor of the soup.
Add the crumbled bouillon cubes and the garlic cloves and continue to simmer for 3 hours.
Remove the chicken pieces with a spider tool and skim off the fat from the liquid surface. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Make ahead directions: at this point, you can refrigerate the soup and remove the solid layer of fat that forms on the surface.
To make the matzo balls, combine the matzo meal, eggs, oil, garlic, parsley, and shallot in a large bowl. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Add the water and mix together until the mixture is the consistency of a thick, soft paste.
Cover the matzo batter and chill for 30 minutes until it become firm.
Bring a pan of water to a boil and prepare a bowl of water next to the stove for your hands. Dip two tablespoons into the water, then scoop a spoonful of the matzo batter. With wet hands, roll it into a ball.
Then slip the matzo balls into the boiling water. Reduce the heat so that the water simmers. Repeat with the remaining batter, working quickly in batches until all the matzo batter is used. Cover the pan and let the matzo balls simmer for 15-20 minutes.
Remove the dumplings from the pan with a slotted spoon and transfer to a plate. Let rest for 20 minutes or until firm.
To serve, reheat the soup, adding the remaining 1 tbsp dill. Divide the chicken pieces and a few matzo balls in serving bowls. Pour the hot soup over top and garnish with freshly chopped parsley.