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Matzoh Ball Soup
by Bob Spiegel

10 cups

  • 4 Tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 whole chicken (about 4 pounds), cut up [in 8 pieces]
  • 10 cups mineral or filtered water
  • 1 large Spanish onion, chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • 3 carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 1 bunch fresh thyme, leaves chopped and stems reserved
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 cups fresh shelled green peas
  • cup dry vermouth
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh garlic
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley


  • 2 cups mineral or filtered water
  • 3/4 cup schmaltz (chicken fat), or vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 2 1/2 cups matzoh meal
  • 1 teaspoons chopped fresh Italian parsley
  • teaspoon ground ginger
  • 7 eggs
    1. Melt 2 tablespoons of the butter in a large stockpot over medium heat. Add the chicken pieces and brown on all sides. Add the water, bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for 10 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through. Remove the chicken with a slotted spoon, reserve the poaching liquid, and when cool enough to handle remove the meat from the bones and set aside. Strain the poaching liquid to remove solids, reserving 8 cups, and set aside.*
    2. Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter in the pot over medium heat. Add the onion, celery, and carrots and sweat for 4 minutes, until tender.
    3. Tie the thyme stems together and add them to the pot with the bay leaves, salt and pepper.
    4. Add the chicken and reserved poaching liquid and bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce heat, partially cover, and simmer for 20 minutes.
    5. Meanwhile, to make the matzoh balls, combine the water, schmaltz, and salt in a medium saucepan over medium heat and bring to a boil.
    6. Gradually add the matzoh meal and stir with a wire whisk until the mixture pulls away from the sides of the pan.
    7. Stir in the parsley and ginger and mix well.
    8. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Reduce heat to low and cook for 25 minutes, stirring frequently.
    9. Drop the matzoh dough by heaping spoonfuls into the simmering soup.
    10. Cover and simmer 15 minutes.
    11. Stir in the chopped thyme, vermouth, and garlic and heat through.
    12. To serve, remove the bay leaves and thyme stems, ladle the soup into bowls, and top with the chopped parsley.

* To de-fat the stock, refrigerate for 1 hour, until a fat layer forms on the surface. Skim the layer of fat off the top and discard.


Chicken Noodle - Instead of matzoh balls, add 2 cups of uncooked broad noodles to the simmering liquid (step 9); cook until the noodles are tender.

Chicken Rice - Instead of matzoh balls, add cup uncooked rice and simmer for 15 minutes (step 9). Add one cup fresh green pees and simmer for 5 more minutes.


Adapted from
The Daily Soup
by Leslie Kaul. Bob Spiegel,
with Robin Vitetta-Miller,
Hyperrion, 1999
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