A couple of people asked me recently to post my best Matzoh Ball Soup recipe, so I'm putting it here in case anyone else is interested.
This recipe, BTW, is not Kosher, but rather "Jewish-style" cooking.
Chicken Soup with Matzoh Balls
1) Fill a 6-8 quart casserole about half with water.
2) Add 2 double chicken breasts, boneless and skinless (that's 4 single breasts).
3) Add about 2 C. of chopped carrots (washed and peeled).
4) Add 1 big sweet onion or 2 smaller sweet onions or any 2 good looking onions if the sweet ones are not in season. Quarter the onion(s).
5) Add about 3 big celery stalks chopped in little pieces.
6) Add the soup package *only* from a box of MANISCHEWITZ Matzo Ball & Soup Mix. Set aside the 2nd package in the box. If you're not sure which is which, then open them. The soup mix smells like soup. The other package just looks like corn meal. More on that below.
7) Add maybe 2 cloves of garlic, smashed and peeled. (I just lay my knife blade on it sideways and come down on it once with my fist.)
8) Add about a tsp of pepper. Don't add any salt yet.
9) Optional: If you like your soup thick, then add about 1/2 - 1 C of any long cooking rice.
The water line should be about 2-3" from the top of the pot. If it's not, then add more water. This is where things are approximate. You want the water to cover everything you put in the pot, but you don't want the water to be several inches above everything. You have to be the judge.
Bring it to a boil and then turn the fire down and simmer it uncovered with a gentle boil for about 2 hours. Add more water if it boils way down. Stir it occasionally.
After 2 hours, take out the chicken and chop it up in cubes. Discard any cartilage or nasty bits, and cube the rest. Put it back in the pot.
Now is the time to add salt. The soup mix has some salt in it, so you should taste the soup first and then add salt to taste. You'll need to add a little, but not a lot. You can add more pepper now if you like. I usually add some hot sauce too, maybe a tsp. It's up to you.
Follow the directions on the Manischewitz package to make the matzoh ball dough with the 2nd package in the box. You mix up the dough, and let it rest it the fridge for about half an hour, then make the matzoh balls, drop them in the simmering soup, and cover, and they take about 30-40 min. to cook through (longer than it says on the box). Make the little balls about the sizes of a big grape. They expand *a lot* when they cook. They don't have to be perfectly round. The dough is pretty sticky to work with.
After the matzoh balls are cooked, if you're not serving it right away, turn off the fire, and just leave it on the stove covered. Heat it up before you serve or refrigerate it and heat up the next day. If you want to be a big shot, then chop up a little fresh flat leaf parsley and sprinkle a pinch of it over the soup when you serve it.
Additional info. If you don't know, matzoh balls are like dumplings made from matzoh meal, which is just unleavened bread (flour and water) that's crushed up.
The soup will be thicker the 2nd day (if there's any left). For thicker soup just boil a bit more rice in it. At least 30 mins boiling if you add rice.
Carrots--I usually buy the little packages of peeled and washed little carrots. I use about half of the package and feed some carrots to the dogs, who love them. Good for them and good for their teeth.
Celery--the greener the celery is, the tastier it is. Also, always include some of the leaves when you're chopping it up. Most of the flavor is in the leaves.
I could give a much longer more complicated recipe for chicken soup which involves all kinds of chicken parts, straining it, clarifying it, skimming the fat off etc. etc. etc. and takes 2-3 days to make, but frankly this soup is just as good and a *lot* faster. My grandmother, may she rest in peace, said to use the Manischewitz matzoh ball mix because it was just as good as from scratch.
Manischewitz is pronounced Man-i-shev-itz with the accent on the "shev". You should be able to find it in any large grocery store in or near a big city. The brand has been around for over 100 years. I used to buy it in Calgary, but I can't find it here in the Comox Valley.
The soup freezes well, but the matzoh balls don't freeze well, so eat them up first if you want to freeze the soup. Most people who try this say it's the best chicken soup they've ever tasted. You don't have to tell them you added a little soup mix to help. That soup mix was designed for 2 quarts of water, not 5, so it's just helping the flavor, that's all. And my Nana said it was okay to do that. And one more thing. The house smells great when you're cooking this.....