a schmaltzy offering: heavenly matzoh ball soup

What’s the next step after roasting a chicken? Why make stock of course! It’s really simple. Just remove as much meat as possible (reserving for another use), dump the bones, skin and debris in a large pot (a stock pot is ideal!), add in an unpeeled onion with the skin (the skin adds a lovely roasty hue to the broth), a whole wack of garlic cloves, a couple of carrots and a couple stalks of celery (leaves and all). Then comes the seasoning. Throw in a couple of bay leaves, salt, whole peppercorns, and some dried herbs of your choice (I love rosemary). Cover the whole shebang with water, add a lid and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and within the hour, your kitchen will truly smell like home. I like to simmer my stock for about 2 hours or so, which really brings out the gelatin from the bones making your stock hearty and rich and sticky with flavour. Remove from heat and strain. Chill stock in the fridge.

Now you have the base of a really, really great soup. But the soup most suited to this rich broth is matzoh ball soup. I’ve made matzoh ball soup many times from a mix and it’s easy, but the last time I went to the store, I found ground matzoh in a large container and decided that it would be just as easy to make my matzoh balls from scratch. And so yesterday, that’s just what I did. And the results? Heavenly. The dumplings were light and fluffy and so flavourful! And the secret to this soup not only relies on the homemade broth but on the schmaltz, which is a lovely Jewish term for plain ol’ chicken fat. Once you remove your sufficiently chilled stock from the fridge, you will notice a layer of white fat resting on top of your stock. This is the golden stuff of your matzoh dreams, so carefully remove the fat layer with a spooon and set aside in a small dish. This is the schmaltz that really makes your matzoh balls come alive. If you don’t have any schmaltz, you can always use plain old vegetable oil in your dumplings, but trust me when I say that those matzoh balls won’t elate your soup to heavenly levels.

5 comments to “a schmaltzy offering: heavenly matzoh ball soup”

  1. 1
    rachel   January 30, 2007 at 2:24 pm

    Yum! I love matzoh ball soup. You know, some restaurants in NYC have jars of schmaltz on the table, for smearing on bread and pouring over meat!

  2. 2
    Joanne   January 30, 2007 at 2:32 pm

    “shmaltz”…heh heh, love it!

    Dumplings are so fun the way they ‘bob’ in the broth and they’re also the epitomy of comfort food.

    My husband prefers a low carb / high protein diet due to his diabetes and so I would have to eat this dish on my own. Plus, if he knew about “shmaltz” he would begin his ‘spiel’ about how artery-clogging foods are not good for anyone.

    It’s great to have a conscience in the form of a health-obsessed spouse 😀

  3. 3
    S.   January 30, 2007 at 5:22 pm

    Hmm, I may want to attempt this chicken stock soon. Is it freezeable? And if so, for how long?

  4. 4
    kickpleat   January 30, 2007 at 5:26 pm

    rachel, that is something i just can’t imagine! now, i really want to visit nyc!

    joanne, totally make this & eat it all yourself!

    yes, scott, i totally agree. stock is so full of possibilities!

    it’s definitely freezable, stephanie! maybe do a google search to see how long things last in the freezer because i always freeze things for a long time but everything usually works out well in the end.

  5. 5
    Scott   January 30, 2007 at 4:07 pm

    As much as I love a good roasted chicken, it has become more an excuse for fresh stock and soup. MMM…schmal

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