(Makes approximately 10 cups)
- 1 4-5 pound chicken, cut into 8 pieces (use everything but the livers)
- 2 medium onions, peeled and cut into eighths
- 6 peeled carrots, cut into 3-inch pieces
- 4 celery stalks, cut into 3-inch pieces
- 16 cups of water
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 10 parsley stems, leaves removed
- 1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns
- 3 large eggs
- 2 tablespoons chicken fat or vegetable oil
- 3/4 cup matzo meal (not to be confused with matzo mix)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/4 cup soda water
- 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg (optional)
- 1/4 cup fresh chopped dill, stems removed before measuring
- Roast the chicken, onions and carrots in a roasting pan at 400 degrees for 1 hour.
- Bring a gallon (16 cups) of water to a boil in a stock pot. Transfer roasted contents and pan juices to stock pot and add remaining ingredients. When water returns to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 3 hours. Skim fat and foam occasionally.
- Let cool, then strain stock through a cheesecloth-lined colander or a fine-screened strainer. Let stock settle, then skim remaining fat from the surface. Reserve for matzo balls. Pick chicken meat from the bones and add back to the stock. Cut celery and carrots into bite-sized pieces and add back to stock . Refrigerate until ready to serve (see step No. 5 below).
- In a medium-sized bowl, use a whisk to blend eggs and chicken fat, or oil, for 1 minute.
- Fold in remaining ingredients until thoroughly mixed. Cover and refrigerate for 1/2 hour.
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a brisk boil.
- Wet your hands and form matzo mixture into small balls, approximately 1 inch diameter (note: they will expand by 100 percent). Drop them into water, reduce heat to a gentle boil, cover and let cook for 25 minutes.
- To serve soup, skim any remaining fat solids off the top. Add two matzo balls per serving, then reheat for 5 minutes. Add (much needed) salt and pepper to taste.
Le Secret: Matzo balls are at their best when made just before serving.
The Adventure Club: Add a few turnips, parsnips and shallots to the soup stock in step No. 1. Serve these in the soup.
Note: Any leftover stock can be refrigerated for a few days, or frozen (without the chicken and vegetables) for months.
Music to Simmer By: The Klezmatics, "Semitism," Xenophile Records