Classic matzo ball chicken soup is as much of a food as it is a medicine. Traditionally a Jewish Passover soup, matzo ball soup also enjoyed by many during Hanukkah.
Marco’s Chicken Soup (with the “golden coins”) is the foundation of this recipe, and we’ve added the matzo balls to it. Like Marco’s Chicken Soup, we can’t publish the recipe without mentioning our inspiration, which is the original 2nd Ave Deli, one of New York City’s most famous Jewish delis.
Pro tip: We recommend reading this recipe through before starting it. We wrote it so that you can start on the next step while you’re waiting on the previous one. It requires a bit of multitasking but you could also split the recipe up to make the matzo balls first and then the soup, or vice versa if that sounds easier.
- 2 pounds bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts, rinsed and patted dry
- Fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus more for the golden coins
- 2 large carrots, halved lengthwise and cut crosswise into ¼-inch-thick slices (about 2 cups)
- 4 celery stalks, chopped (about 1½ cups)
- 1 large onion, cut into large dice (about 2 cups)
- 7 cups Chicken Broth
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
Matzo Ball Ingredients
- 4 large eggs
- ¼ cup schmaltz (rendered chicken fat), coconut oil or olive oil
- ¼ cup Chicken Broth
- 1 cup matzo meal
- ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1 to 2 tablespoons freshly grated ginger
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley, dill or cilantro
- 1 teaspoon salt, more for cooking
- Black pepper
- Take the chicken out of the refrigerator about 20 minutes before cooking so it can come to room temperature. Preheat the oven to 425 F. Generously season the chicken on both sides with salt and pepper.
- While waiting for the oven to preheat, in a large bowl, start the matzo balls. Gently mix the eggs, schmaltz, stock, matzo meal, nutmeg, ginger and parsley with a spoon or whisk. Season with 1 teaspoon salt and pepper to taste. Cover and refrigerate until chilled, about 3 hours or overnight.
- In a large, ovenproof skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil over high heat. When the oil slides easily across the pan, add the chicken skin-side down and cook, untouched, for 1 minute. Transfer the skillet to the oven and cook until the chicken shows no sign of pink when pierced near the bone, about 30 minutes.
- To shape and cook the matzo balls, fill a wide, deep pan with lightly salted water and bring to a boil. With wet hands, take some of the mix and mold it into the size and shape of a Ping-Pong ball. Gently drop it into the boiling water, repeating until all the mix is used.
- Cover the pan, reduce heat to a lively simmer and cook matzo balls about 30 to 40 minutes for al dente, longer for light.
- Flip each chicken breast and set the skillet aside until the chicken is cool enough to handle. Chop or shred the meat into bite-size pieces (these can go back in the skillet), discarding the skin and saving the bones in your freezer for a future batch of chicken broth.
- In a large pot, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil over high heat. When the oil shimmers, add the carrots, celery, onion, and a pinch of salt, and cook for 1 minute. Reduce the heat to medium, cover, and cook for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Pour in the chicken broth and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer until the vegetables are tender, about 15 minutes. Add the chicken (including the juices it released in the skillet), matzo balls, and dill, and simmer for 5 minutes more. Add salt to taste.
- To serve, ladle the soup and matzo balls into bowls. Dot the top of each serving with a couple of ½-teaspoon “golden coins” of olive oil.