While broth with vegetables and dumplings is a comfort food that crosses many cultures, matzo ball soup is a staple of Jewish cuisine. Many of the ingredients, such as bitter herbs and the unleavened bread called matzo, symbolize the hardship of Hebrews in Egypt, as told in the Biblical story of Exodus, making the dish a Passover favorite.
This modified recipe uses whole-wheat matzo meal and white meat chicken for a lighter take on a hearty soup.
The trick for light and fluffy matzo balls is to use seltzer in place of water.
Yields 8 servings
3 large eggs
3 tablespoons canola oil
3/4 cup whole-wheat matzo meal
1/4 cup seltzer
3/4 tablespoon minced fresh dill
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
3 pounds bone-in chicken breasts
3 medium carrots, thinly sliced
2 stalks celery, thinly sliced
1 1/2 medium onions, halved and thinly sliced
1/2 small parsnip, peeled and thinly sliced
3 whole peppercorns
1 bay leaf
2 teaspoons kosher salt
7 cups water
1/4 cup fresh parsley plus 3 tablespoons, chopped
3 tablespoons fresh dill, chopped and divided
To prepare matzo balls
In a large bowl, whisk eggs. Add oil and whisk to combine. Add matzo meal, seltzer, minced dill, salt and pepper; mix until combined. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours and up to 6 hours.
To prepare soup
In a large stockpot, place chicken, carrots, celery, onion, parsnip, peppercorns, bay leaves and salt; add water. Over high heat, bring to a boil, skimming any foam that rises to the surface. Reduce heat to low and add 1/4 cup parsley and half of the dill. Partially cover and simmer for 1 1/4 hours.
Transfer the chicken to a large bowl and let cool. Skim fat off the soup, if desired. While the chicken cools, bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat. With wet hands and using a generous 2 tablespoons for each, form the matzo mixture into 8 balls, about 2 inches in diameter. Add the matzo balls to the boiling water; return to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low. Cover and cook for 25 minutes. Remove chicken from the bones. (Discard skin and bones.) Shred the chicken and stir into the soup.
Using a slotted spoon, transfer the cooked matzo balls to the soup. Return the soup to a simmer over medium heat. Combine remaining parsley and dill; sprinkle herbs as garnish on soup before serving.
To make ahead: Refrigerate soup with matzo balls for up to 3 days. Freeze soup and matzo balls separately for up to 3 months.
Adapted from Eating Well.