Traditional Chicken Soup with Matzo Balls

Chicken soup, legendary in many parts of the world as "Jewish Pennicillin," is also as varied as the cooks who prepare it. Even in a single kitchen, the recipe may vary with the season or with the occasion. I add a beef bone when I have one available, or if I am also preparing a turkey, I add the turkey giblets to the chicken soup. Either of these additions gives a much richer broth. When I got married, my husband told me that he hated chicken bones in his soup. I complained about this to my grandmother, Lillian Braude. She quickly replied that she had boned my grandfather's chicken for 40 years and only wished she could have had the opportunity to do it for another 40 years. I've carefully removed all the bones and other debris from the soup (and from many other poultry dishes) for the past 30 years, and I hope to do so for many, many more.

Source: Many generations of women, most recently my mother, Charlotte Braude Nothmann

Soup Ingredients

Soup method

In a stainless pot, bring water and remaining ingredients to a boil. Turn down to a simmer, and cook until chicken is tender (2-3 hours). Remove chicken to a cutting board, and bone chicken, discarding the fat, skin, and bones. Return chicken meat to soup. Refrigerate soup. When cool, either discard the congealed fat, or use it for matzo balls. For matzo balls, see below, or prepare Kreplach.

Matzo Balls

After soup has cooled (see above), remove the fat from the top of the soup and mix with 5 beaten eggs, 1/2 tsp. salt, 1/2 tsp. pepper, and enough matzo meal to make a loose dough (about 1 1/2 to 2 cups). Refrigerate this mixture, covered, for at least 2 hours or up to 8 hours. During this time, the loose dough will become firm as the matzo meal absorbs the soup. One hour before serving, heat soup to a boil. Form balls of about 1 inch in diameter, and arrange on a plate until all the dough has been used up. Then gently place all the matzo balls into the soup, cover the pot immediately, and turn down the flame so that the soup is gently simmering. Cook undisturbed for 45 minutes to 1 hour.

Yield: 12-15 servings

Back to Ruth's Kitchen