It’s Food Friday! I have a matzo ball soup recipe for you today, since it’s tasty, easy to make, makes your house smell amazing, and is sure to cure any and all ailments. My mother makes this one for anyone who is sick or otherwise feeling under the weather. I’ve heard it referred to as “Jewish Penicillin” by more than one individual, and I have to say, between kicking up the vitamin C content on my juices throughout the day, sweating it out at the gym, a few doses of Zicam as well as a few big bowls of this magic potion…I was able to kick an oncoming cold almost within 24 hours. That’s not to say my method will work for everyone…but I like to think it would.
Get a couple big pots ready, a cutting board, sharp chef’s knife, medium sized mixing bowl with spoon, and a whisk. You are about to make some medical magic in your kitchen. Eat your heart out, pharmaceutical companies.
Matzo Balls of Awesomeness (makes about 20 cute little balls)
- 4 eggs, beaten
- ¼ c vegetable oil, melted butter, or schmaltz (rendered chicken fat)
- 1-2 t salt
- ¼ c seltzer or chicken stock (seltzer makes them light and fluffy—highly recommended)
- 1 c matzo meal
- Big pot of salted water or stock for boiling (many swear that boiling them in stock makes them much tastier…I’m inclined to agree, but even when boiled in salted water, these things are still amazing)
Combine all ingredients in a bowl, cover, and refrigerate. Start your stock/water boiling in a separate pot while you prepare the soup. With damp hands, roll dough into little 1” balls and carefully drop into the hot water/stock pot, then cover with a lid and lower heat to a simmer. Simmer for 30-40 minutes.
Matzo Ball Soup (a.k.a. Jewish Penicillin)
- 3 T olive oil or butter
- 1 package (approx. 4) raw chicken thighs
- 1 c diced carrots
- 1 c diced celery
- 1 c diced onions
- 4-5 cloves of garlic, minced (more if you really like garlic and wanna kick up the health benefits a bit)
- 2 big bay leaves
- 3 quarts (3 boxes as found in soup aisle of supermarket) of prepared, unsalted or low-sodium chicken stock (stock, not broth—trust me on this one)
- Fresh ground pepper and sea salt to taste
- Chopped fresh dill and flat-leaf (Italian) parsley for garnish/tasty herby flavor
Heat a stock pot to medium heat. Add butter or oil to warm up, and then add thighs skin side down. Once the skin side is a nice, golden-brown-delicious-fat color, turn over and cook another 5 minutes. Remove from pot and set on a plate to cool. Add vegetables and garlic (and more oil/butter if needed), and sauté until onions are translucent, about 5-7 minutes. Add the bay leaves and pour in all of the stock (you can use more or less stock depending on personal preference. Or you can just do what I say and like it.
While simmering, pull off meat from chicken thighs (be sure to channel your inner fat kid and eat that crunchy, tasty skin…they are like potato chips but better), and chop meat. Add bones to the pot, as well as the chicken meat and juices. Add salt and pepper to taste. Let simmer while the matzo balls cook. Remove bones before serving.
Once the balls are done (insert dirty pun here), place 2-3 balls in a bowl (insert another dirty reference here), top with chopped fresh dill and parsley, and ladle in the soup. The herbs aren’t just for show, they really do give the soup a little oomph and added dimension, so don’t opt out on the herbs, or I’ll come find you and we’ll have some words.
There you have it. If you choose to make your own chicken stock at home, then more power to ya…but personally, when I’m a bit under the weather the last thing I feel like doing is boiling chicken carcasses and straining stock. It’s like making soup before making soup, and when you aren’t feeling well…well, you just plain don’t wanna. By the way, this is as equally delicious even if you aren’t sick. Who knows, if matzo ball soup makes you feel amazing when you’re not-so-great feeling, imagine what kinds of superpowers you can gain from eating it when you’re not sick? Hmm…Superman, eat your heart out, too.