Here is my 81-year-old grandmother’s recipe for chicken soup and kneidlach, aka matzah balls, which research has already proven to cure everything from colds to gout to high gas prices. I’m substituting vegetable oil for shmaltz, but otherwise it’s the same recipe. It’s still really simple and really good – comfort food at its finest.
One large chicken
2 lbs. carrots, chopped
1 lb. celery, chopped
salt and pepper
extra chicken stock
Preparing the soup:
Fill large pot w/ about two gallons of water. Bring to a boil, add chicken and about half of the carrots and all of the celery to the pot. Lower heat to a simmer, let cook for about 45 minutes. Carefully remove chicken and place on cutting board, let cool for a few minutes.
Meanwhile, scoop up enough boiled carrots and celery and place them into a blender. Fill blender about two-thirds of the way up. Puree vegetables, then return the blend to the pot.
Debone chicken and chop up large chunks of meat. Return chicken and large bones to pot, discard smaller bones. Add remaining carrots. Simmer for another hour, adding extra stock as water level drops. Salt and pepper to taste.
one cup matzah meal
one tablespoon light oil
four eggs, separated
salt and pepper
Preparing the kneidlach:
Whip up the whites of the four eggs until they become frothy (the more you whip, the fluffier your kneidlach will be). Add oil and egg yolks, whip some more. Incorporate matzah meal and one teaspoon of salt and pepper each. If you like firm kneidlach, place the batter in a refrigerator for about 20-30 minutes. If you like them really light (floaters), skip the fridge and go to the next step.
Scoop a small sample of mixture (less than a teaspoon) and drop into boiling water or soup. After several minutes, remove the test kneidlach and taste. Add more salt and pepper to the entire mixture, if desired. Or, if you trust my recipe, skip the test and move on.
To make the kneidlach, wet your hands with water to keep your fingers from sticking. Then, make matzah balls about one inch in diameter by rolling a scoops of mixture in your hands. Drop balls into liquid, then cook for at least 30 minutes. The kneidlach should double in size if all goes well.