Here is the thing about making chicken soup, it isn’t a fast process. Maybe your mom used to basically add a few bouillon cubes to water, dump in some veggies and noodles and make instant soup, which honestly tastes pretty good- but that isn’t what we are going for here. We’re going for your great-great-grandma's version. You have to be patient and just let this happen slowwwlllyyyyy. So make it on a cold day, start it early, go about your business.
I like a stock that is made with roasted bones the best. If you happen to make roast chickens often I highly recommend storing the bones in a zip-lock bag in the freezer and pulling them out when it’s chicken soup time. If you don’t have bones then you can just request that the butcher cut up a chicken into 8 pieces and maybe toss in an extra back bone and neck.
What’s a matzo ball you might ask? In a word, a dumpling. A dumpling that really absorbs the taste of your broth and is light yet filling, flavorful yet doesn’t overpower whatever veggie lives in your soup bowl.
NOTE- if you don’t want to make the matzo balls from scratch you can buy a box of matzo ball mix in any grocery store, add oil and eggs and proceed.
This stock freezes really well so I always make A LOT and keep it around for the next soup.
- 1 chicken, cut into 8 parts (make sure the butcher gives you the back and neck)
- 3 carrots
- 1 onion
- 1 parsnip
- 2 stalks of celery ( don’t you wish you could just buy that?)
- 1 bunch of dill
- 1 bunch of parsley
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 teaspoon peppercorns
Matzo Balls (this part of the recipe is straight up stolen from Joan Nathan’s NYT matzo balls because why fix what isn’t broken?):
- 4 large eggs
- ¼ cup schmaltz (aka chicken fat)
- 1 cup matzo meal (or ground matzo)
- ¼ cup chicken broth
- ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1 or 2 tablespoons fresh ginger (grated)
- 2 tablespoons parsley and dill (chopped)
- 1.5 teaspoons salt
- pinch of black pepper
- Fill a BIG stock pot with water and add in the carrots, half the dill, half the parsley, onion, celery, parsnip, bay leaf, peppercorns and chicken and bring to a boil
- Reduce to a simmer and let it cook slowly for an hour and a half
- Chicken should be pretty tender, remove it and put aside
- Once the meat is cool enough to handle separate the meat from the bones and throw the bones back into the pot
- Put chicken meat in fridge
- Simmer for a few hours until it’s a luscious golden color (NOTE-good time to start making your matzo balls)
- CAREFULLY strain the liquid into another large pot and discard the soggy sad limp vegetables and bones that are left in the strainer
- Salt to taste (you're going to need lots of salt) and serve with the matzo balls, or reheat whenever you want
- In a big ass bowl combine all the matzo ball ingredients
- Mix it all together and refrigerate for a few hours, if you’re in a rush, you can also put it in the freezer for a bit
- Bring a large pot of water to boil, add a tablespoon or so of salt
- Form the balls to be about the size of a vending machine-sized jumbo gum ball (it can be easier to form the matzo balls if your hands are wet)
- Carefully drop them in the water and reduce the heat to a simmer
- Cook for about 30 minutes and then add them to your soup
When you’re ready to serve, top the soup with some fresh ground pepper and the rest of the dill and parsley.