Warms Your Bones

Warms Your Bones

Its cold down here. Well, if you live in Minnesota, its not cold. But… if you’re a Floridian, you have probably dusted off your boots, and pulled out your snowsuit, gloves and ear muffs. Right now, I think it’s the coldest it has gotten since I moved here in 2001. It got down to 34 degrees last night… brrrr! Thanks to the weather forecast, I was prepared and started my matzo ball soup a few days ago. So now that I’m armed with a huge pot of Matzo Ball soup… Bring on the cold weather!

Matzo ball is one of my favorite soups, and I seek out Jewish Delis for that reason. However, many of the delis that serve matzo ball soup clearly make their soup with a soup base or prepared stock. You can tell by the flavor and color. If it is very yellow in color, you can be sure there is something else in it other than chicken. I made my soup from scratch… chicken, veggies and water. No base, no stock.. no chemicals. It might have been the best Matzo Ball Soup I’ve ever eaten… if I must say so myself! I used the same recipe I use for chicken noodle soup and cooked the matzo balls separately. I prefer to make the stock the day before and refrigerate overnight to remove the fat. You’d be surprised how much fat comes from a chicken!

Chicken Stock Recipe

1 whole chicken, about 5 pounds
2 medium onions, cut into large chunks
4 celery ribs, chopped
4 carrots, chopped
1 tbsp black peppercorns
3 stalks parsley
1 stalk rosemary (optional)
1 stalk thyme (optional)

1. Place chicken, onions, celery, carrots and peppercorn into a large stock pot. Fill with enough cold water (about 6 quarts) to cover everything. Bring to a simmer over medium heat. Once the liquid is simmering, reduce heat to medium low and simmer covered for 30 minutes. Remove from heat and very carefully, remove the chicken from the pot. Let cool for about 20 minutes until you can handle it. Remove all the meat from the bones and return the chicken bones to the pot. Refrigerate the meat until ready to finish the soup.

2. Gently simmer soup for 2 hours. Be careful not to let come to a boil, or the stock will be cloudy. Stir every once in while to ensure nothing sticks. During the last 20 minutes, add the fresh herbs. Remove from heat and strain the stock. I strain it thorough cheesecloth, to make sure the stock is clear, but it is not necessary. Discard the bones and vegetables. Cool down (I put the pot in the sink filled with ice water) and then refrigerate overnight.

Makes about 4 quarts of chicken stock

Matzo Ball Recipe (from Streit’s Matzo Meal box)

1 c Streits Matzo Meal
4 large eggs
1/4 c oil or melted margarine
1/4 c water or seltzer
1 ts salt
pinch ground pepper

1. Beat eggs. Add water, oil, salt and pepper. Mix well and add Matzo meal and stir thoroughly. Refrigerate for 30 minutes to 1 hour.

2. Partially fill a large pot with water and bring to a boil. Moisten palms with cold water and form mixture into balls, about 1 inch in diameter. Drop matzo balls into boiling water.

3. When all the matzo balls are in the pot, reduce heat to low. Simmer covered for about 30 minutes or until done. Remove with a slotted spoon to a large bowl.

Makes 10-12 matzo balls

Matzo Ball Soup Recipe

1 recipe chicken stock from above
3 carrots, thinly sliced
3 ribs celery
cooked matzo balls
reserved chicken from above, shredded into bite size pieces
2 tbsp parsley, chopped

1. Remove cold chicken stock from the refrigerator. Gently spoon off the fat that accumulates on top and discard. Bring to a simmer over medium high heat. Add carrots, celery, matzo balls and a teaspoon of salt, pinch of pepper and reduce heat to low. Let simmer for 20 minutes.

2. Add reserved chicken and let simmer for a few minutes to heat through. Taste and add more salt and pepper as needed. Stir in parsley at the end.

Makes a huge pot of soup, about 10 servings