Jewish chicken soup
- Preparation and cooking time
- Total time
- + Overnight chilling + Resting
- Serves 4-6
- 1.4-1.6kg chicken, plus any extra chicken carcasses and bones if you have them
- 2 medium onions
- 3 sticks celery, halved
- 3 large carrots, peeled and halved
- 1 parsnip, peeled and halved
- a handful flat-leaf parsley, chopped, the stalks reserved for the soup and the leaves to serve
- 10 black peppercorns
- 1 bay leaf
- 4 eggs
- 2 tbsp schmaltz (chicken fat skimmed from the soup) or vegetable oil
- 60ml chicken soup
- 120g medium matzo meal, (see cook's notes)
- 1 tbsp chicken soup powder mix, (see cook's notes)
- STEP 1
The day before you want to serve the soup, put the whole chicken and any extra bones in your largest lidded pan.
- STEP 2
Halve the onions through the roots (leaving the skins on – they will add colour) and add to the pan with the remaining ingredients plus 2 tsp of salt. Add enough cold water to cover.
- STEP 3
Bring the soup to a boil over a high heat, skimming off (and discarding) any foam with a big metal spoon. As soon as the water boils, turn the heat down to a very low simmer. Partially cover the pan and leave to cook gently for 1 hour 30 minutes, until the meat is falling off the bones.
- STEP 4
Remove the chicken from the pot but continue to simmer the broth. Strip the meat from the bones, tearing some of the chicken into pieces to serve in the soup – save the rest to use in salads, sandwiches or pies.
- STEP 5
Return the bones and cartilage to the pot and simmer gently for a further 1 hour-1 hour 30 minutes. Strain the soup into a large container or pan, discarding the vegetables and bones. Leave to cool completely then refrigerate overnight.
- STEP 6
By morning, the fat will have risen to the surface – skim it off and refrigerate it. It can be used for fabulous roast potatoes and to make the matzo balls.
- STEP 7
To make the matzo balls, use electric beaters to whisk the eggs with ½ tsp of salt and a few grinds of pepper until thick and creamy. Beat in the schmaltz – the mixture should now be light and foamy.
- STEP 8
Mix the 60ml of chicken soup and matzo meal, and fold into the egg mixture – it will be very sloppy. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight to hydrate the matzo meal and firm it up enough to be easy to handle.
- STEP 9
Scoop tennis-table-ball-sized amounts from the mixture and, with moistened hands, gently roll into balls. Put them on a plate.
- STEP 10
Fill a large, shallow pan with water and add the chicken soup powder. Bring the water to a boil and gently lower in the matzo balls. Reduce the heat to a gentle simmer, cover with a lid and cook for 30 minutes – they will puff up nicely.
- STEP 11
In the meantime, check the soup for seasoning – it may need more salt – add some of the reserved chicken to the pot, and heat it up.
- STEP 12
When the matzo balls are ready, carefully remove them from the pot with a slotted spoon and place two or three in each bowl. Add the hot chicken and soup. Sprinkle with the chopped parsley leaves.