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How To Make the Ultimate Matzo-Ball Soup

Video: Make perfect chicken soup and matzo balls from scratch—just in time for Passover

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Historically, matzo is the symbolic food of Passover. But let’s be honest: Matzo-ball soup is the holiday’s truly iconic dish.

Before boxed matzo meal appeared at the turn of the last century, cooks made humble dumplings knows as kneidlich by pounding their matzos with a large wooden mortar and pestle, or by softening a whole sheet of matzo in water, adding a little sautéed onion, some eggs, a lot of schmaltz, maybe some soda water to add lightness.

Then, a recipe for “feather balls” in the “Alsatian style” appeared in Tempting Kosher Dishes, published in 1930 by the B. Manischewitz Co., and cooks began making lighter matzo balls. Baking powder with potato starch was soon added to become a pre-packaged matzo-ball mix that, with rabbinical approval, made matzo balls even more effortless to make and airy at Passover.

But some people, like me, are still matzo-ball purists, using either pulverized matzo or plain matzo meal instead of a mix from a box. Watch this video to see how I make matzo-ball soup—the old fashioned way.

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2Barb2 says:

Dear Joan Nathan,
I make chicken soup with matzo balls every year for my Seder. After the chicken has simmered for 2 hours, I remove the skin and bones, shred most of the chicken and then return that chicken to the soup. I never discard the wonderful carrots, celery or onions which have cooked in and flavored my soup. Before I serve the soup, I sprinkle fresh parsley into the soup.

If you get an aged chicken, rooster or sometimes called “fowl” from a poultry market, the soup will taste much, much better than using a supermarket chicken. You will need to cook it longer, at least three hours. If you’re not squeamish, cook the whole chicken, including the head and legs. You’ll have real old world chicken soup.

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Trish says:

Best chicken soup is made using chicken feet and backs. It’s a waste (and not as good) to use the whole chicken.

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How To Make the Ultimate Matzo-Ball Soup

Video: Make perfect chicken soup and matzo balls from scratch—just in time for Passover

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