Rita's Matzo Ball Soup
Growing up in a family that had influences from different cultures was part of what made my childhood so interesting. My grandparents all played a very important role in my life, and their lifestyles couldn't be more different. I think that helped me see that everyone has something important to give to the community, no matter where they come from.
I got to tell the story of my maternal grandparents in the Chronicle Herald last month. You can read it, and get a little peek in to what helped form me.
- One 3-5-lb. whole roaster chicken cut in quarters, breasts and legs separated, skin on
- 6 celery stalks, cut in 3-inch pieces
- 6 carrots, cut in 3-inch pieces
- 2 yellow onions, skin on, halved
- 1 bunch of parsley
- 1 head of garlic, halved crosswise
- 1 tbsp. black peppercorns
- 1 cup matzo meal
- 3 eggs, beaten
- ¼ cup schmaltz (see note), melted
- ¼ cup club soda
- 1 ½ tsp. salt
- 1 tsp. fresh parsley, finely chopped
- ½ tsp. baking soda
FOR THE SOUP
- 2 carrots, cut into ¼-inch-thick rounds
- Fresh dill for garnish
- In a large stockpot, cover all chicken stock ingredients with cold water and bring to a low simmer for 20 minutes. Remove chicken breasts, shred meat, and set aside.
- Continue to simmer stock for three to four hours then strain through a fine mesh sieve. Once strained place in fridge overnight to cool completely.
- Skim top layer of fat (called schmaltz — see note below) from the chicken stock and reserve for cooking.
- Combine matzo ball mixture ingredients in a large bowl and let sit for 20 minutes.
- Bring skimmed stock, plus one cup of water to a low simmer.
- With wet hands, roll matzo mixture into small firm balls and gently place into heated stock. When all matzo mixture has been rolled and added to pot, cover and simmer for 10 minutes.
- Add carrots to pot with matzo balls and simmer 10 minutes more.
- Place shredded chicken breast meat in the bottom of a soup bowl. With a slotted spoon, remove matzo balls and place on top of chicken. Ladle broth and carrots over matzo balls and garnish with fresh dill.
Note: Rita’s matzo ball soup recipe teaches you how to make schmaltz, essentially rendered chicken fat. Once the chicken stock has cooled in the fridge overnight there will be a puck of fat sitting on top of the stock. Skim it off, crumble it up, and keep it in a jar to use as cooking fat.