Did you know the Jewish holiday Rosh Hashanah begins at sunset this Friday night? While I am not Jewish, I absolutely love some traditional Jewish foods—especially matzo ball soup. Traditional matzo ball soup is made with a rich and flavorful chicken stock, big matzo balls, and fresh dill. You can totally make it your own by adding sliced carrot, and chunks of chicken. I like smallish matzo balls, but you can make them larger if you like. You can find matzo meal in pretty much every grocery store—I prefer to just use the meal, instead of a boxed mix. Traditionally the matzo balls are made using “schmaltz,” or chicken fat. Most of us don’t have a supply of chicken fat in our refrigerator, but you can substitute olive oil instead. Of course, you can use store-bought chicken stock, but if you have the time, making some homemade stock will certainly elevate your soup experience. Nothing beats homemade stock. You can also make the stock ahead of time and go ahead and mix up the matzo balls and refrigerate ahead of time as well. Enjoy!
Mini Matzo Ball Soup
Homemade Chicken Stock
1 whole chicken, cut into pieces (or use already cut up, bone-in pieces of chicken, including two chicken breasts)
1 pound chicken wings
2 onions, cut into quarters
6 stalks celery, cut into chunks
4 carrots, cut into chunks
1 leek, sliced (white and light green parts only)
1 shallot, cut into chunks
1 head garlic, halved crosswise
6 sprigs parsley
1 tablespoon black peppercorns
3 eggs, lightly beaten
¾ cup matzo meal
¼ cup schmaltz or olive oil
3 tablespoons club soda or sparkling mineral water
1 ¼ teaspoon salt
2 carrots, cut on a diagonal
2 tablespoons fresh dill, minced
For stock, add all stock ingredients to a large pot. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to a simmer. Continue cooking until chicken breasts are done, about 20-25 minutes. When they are cooked through, remove them to a cutting board and let cool. Cut the beat off the bones, set aside the meat, and return the chicken bones to the stockpot. Refrigerate the chicken meat until ready to serve. Continue simmering the stock for 2 hours, skimming any “scum” off the surface a few times and discard. Strain stock into another soup pot and discard solids.
Make matzo balls: In a bowl, combine eggs, matzo meal, oil or schmaltz, club soda, and salt. Cover and refrigerate for 2-3 hours. Once fully chilled, scoop into small matzo balls or larger matzo balls if you prefer. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. Add matzo balls and simmer until they begin to sink, about 25 minutes.
To serve, bring the stock to a boil and then add carrots and simmer until carrots are tender, about 8 minutes. Add cooked chicken breast meat and heat. To serve, add cooked matzo balls to bowls, ladle on hot stock with carrots and chicken breast and top with fresh dill freshly ground black pepper
This is a great savory option for breakfast or brunch.
Bagels with Smoked Salmon and Cream Cheese
2 bagels, split and toasted
6 ounces cream cheese, softened
2 tablespoons capers, drained
4-5 ounces smoked salmon
¼ cup red onion, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons fresh dill leaves, minced
Freshly ground black pepper
Toast bagels. Spread evenly with cream cheese and then top with smoked salmon, onion, capers, dill, and black pepper. Serve with lemon wedges.