Gigi’s Matzo Ball Chicken Soup Recipe!
A family secret no more.
Having a house full of sickies for the past week, I had to break out the remedy that is known lovingly as Jewish penicillin. Passed down from my wonderful grandmother that we refer to as GiGi, her matzo ball chicken “zoup”, as she calls it, not only tastes amazing, but is the cure to anything that may ail you.
When I decided today to share this recipe, I got a little scared for this is one of those recipes that I don’t measure anything. It’s all about eyeballing since I have been watching her make it all my life and now making it myself for most of my adult life, I just do it. So I am going to try my best to share with you how I make it, but the measurements will be far from exact, so just go with it…it’s soup, and really you can’t go wrong.
For the soup –
- 2 lbs of boneless skinless chicken breast
- 32 oz of chicken broth (I buy the box)
- 1 large chicken bouillon
- 3-4 celery stalks chopped into very small pieces*
- 3 large carrots sliced*
- 1 yellow onion – finely diced*
- Salt and Pepper to taste
- ? water**
- 1 box of matzo ball mix (Manischewitz)
- 2 eggs
- 1 tbs of vegetable oil
- 1 bag of fine eggs noodles (Manischewitz)
**I have no idea how much water I use. Especially for the soup – when you read below you will see why.
I buy the small bag of sliced carrots. Yes this is lazy, but it’s easy and I know it’s the right amount. I take the onion and celery, put them in the Ninja and mince them. The size of your veggies are up to you, but this is how I chop them up. I do feel that with the onion and celery being so tiny – it makes the soup taste so much better overall. The reason I do this? When the girls were little they didn’t like celery and onions – if they can’t see them, they will eat them….and I found it tastes so good this way. So even with the growing pallets, I still choose to make it this way. Now GiGi would ask where the veggies are if she saw my soup – they are there – but some people like the texture of having them diced. Up to you -this is just my tip.
In a large stock pot add the chicken broth, chicken, and veggies. This is one of those eyeballing moments – **add water to leave about an inch to an inch and a half to the top of the pot. Add a little salt and pepper. Bring to a royal boil and then cover and let simmer for a few hours.
Matzo Balls -
Make about 40 minutes before the soup is ready.
***See tip below!
Follow the directions as shown on the box for one bag of matzo meal.
One tip is to make sure to mix the oil and eggs very good before adding the matzo meal, and then not to over mix for if you do the matzo balls will be hard. Just mix enough to not have any dry mix left. I don’t know why, but this is what GiGi told me, so I do just what she says. By following her directions I have never made hard matzo balls. My matzo balls are always soft, fluffy and tasty.
It does make a difference to keep the mix in the fridge for the 15 minutes before forming the balls to drop into the pot. I don’t know why, but rushing the making of the matzo balls will just cause them to fall apart. I set the timer for 10 minutes and when it goes off, I turn on the stove to high to start the pot of water to boil. Then I set the timer for another 5 minutes. By doing this, when the timer goes off the matzo balls are ready to be made. By the time I form the matzo balls, the water*** is boiling and it’s perfectly timed. Make sure to run your hands under water and keep them wet when forming the matzo balls. If not, it’ll be a sticky mess and you won’t be able to roll the matzo mix into balls. Carefully drop the matzo balls in one by one and cover for twenty minutes. They will expand, so making them about 1 inch in diameter is perfect. Cover and don’t take that cover off for 20 minutes! Make sure that the water continues to simmer, as it helps them to rotate from the bubbles so they cook evenly.
***My biggest secret tip for the matzo balls that is not on the box is this – put the chicken bouillon cube in the pot of water. This cooks the matzo balls in the salty broth and it makes a huge difference in the way they taste. In plain water they are just not nearly as tasty.
Make about 30 minutes before the soup is ready.
I make about half the bag, so in a pot of water, boil the noodles as recommended on the bag. Drain and set aside.
Once the soup is finished cooking, the chicken will have shredded, so mix it all up real good and let it all fall apart.
Add the noodles and continue mixing. Then spoon the matzo balls in one by one. If the water is low you can add some of the broth from the matzo balls. We find we run out of broth after storing the soup in the fridge – we usually have it for 2 days, and if we are lucky, 3 days. So you can always add the broth, for the noodles and matzo balls will absorb a lot of the liquid.
I hope you enjoy the soup as much as my family has for years! This is a recipe I hold very near and dear to my heart. My grandmother is 91 and just last visit she insisted on making us a pot. Mine is not hers…hers is made with love that only a grandmother can have. But I hope when I become a grandmother (way way way down the road) my grandkids love my Matzo Ball Chicken “Zoup” as much as I love my grandmother’s.