After a long week of single mom-dom, my husband returned from his work trip with some sort of bad flu. So now I essentially have two babies to care for. In addition to his wearing a mask around the baby and sanitizing his hands non-stop, I’m making him drink all types of fluids.
Here’s where matzoh ball soup comes into play. Traditionally a soup eaten at Passover in the spring, this chicken broth-based dumpling soup brings me back to my childhood. I never had chicken and dumplings, but I don’t think I could love them more than matzoh balls. Light, moist and flavorful — homemade matzoh balls can’t be beat. But store bought is actually pretty damn good, but I like to dress it up a bit more so that it looks and tastes like mom’s. This soup can be enjoyed year round, since most grocery stores have a kosher section where this soup mix can be found.
1 box of matzoh ball soup and mix (not just the matzoh meal)
1/4 cup cooking oil
2 Tbs olive oil
1 celery rib, chopped, keeping the leaves
half an onion, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
1 chicken breast, cooked and shredded
salt and pepper
Whisk together the cooking oil and two eggs. Add the matzoh packet and mix well. Place in the fridge while you prepare everything else.
In a large soup pot, heat up the olive oil and add the chicken, onion, celery, carrot and salt and pepper. Cook till onions are soft, about five minutes. Add 2.5 quarts water and bring to a boil. Add the soup mix and turn down the heat.
Wet your hands and form the matzoh into walnut-sized balls and drop into the soup. Cover and simmer for 30 minutes. Serve to sick husband.
I call it short cut because we don’t make the broth ourselves and we use leftover Costco roast chicken. I call it long cut because we make our own noodles from scratch.
6 cups of chicken broth or stock
2 cups water
1/2 onion, coarsely chopped
2 carrots, chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
1 next-day roast chicken
salt and pepper to taste
For the pasta:
2 cups white flour, plus extra
1 tbs. warm water
pinch of salt
Place the flour and salt in a mixing bowl and make a well in the middle. Add the water and eggs and beat with a fork. Slowly incorporate the flour till you have a dough. Mix in as much flour as you can while kneading. Your dough should be elastic but not sticky. Cover the ball of dough and set aside.
Meanwhile, add the onion, celery and carrot to a large saucepan and drizzle in some cooking oil. Cook over med-high heat, stirring occasionally, till onions are translucent — about 10 minutes.
While veggies cook, salvage as much chicken meat from your leftover roast chicken. Don’t forget about the meat on the bottom of the bird.
Add the broth, water and chicken. Salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a simmer and turn heat to med-low.
Now roll out the pasta with your pasta maker. Run a lemon-sized piece of dough through the largest setting. Fold it in half and flour the outsides if it’s sticky. Run through again. Do this about eight times on the biggest setting. Change to the next setting and run dough through once. Do this till you get to the “6” setting. Lay dough on a floured surface.
Do this step again with lemon-sized pieces of dough until it’s all pressed out. Dust noodles with flour and loosely roll up each one. Slice into wide noodles, then determine how long you want the noodles to be and cut to your preferred length.
When all the noodles are cut, add them to the soup. Turn heat to high and return to a boil. Cook for about 5 minutes or until noodles are al dente. They will cook more as the soup cools.
Serves about 5
2 oz. dried porcini mushrooms
6 oz. fresh button mushrooms
6 oz. fresh cremini mushrooms
3 cups chicken stock
1/4 cup unsalted butter
1/4 cup flour
1 cup white wine
1 teaspoon porcini powder (optional; found at specialty spice shops)
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
liberal amount of freshly ground pepper
1 cup half and half
3 tablespoons fresh italian parsley, chopped
In a small saucepan, add the dried mushrooms and chicken stock. Bring to a boil, turn heat to med/low and simmer 20 minutes. Blend with a hand blender or transfer to a blender.
Remove the stems from the fresh mushrooms and give them about 6 pulses in a food processor (till well chopped). Slice the caps.
Melt the butter in a saucepan and add the caps and stems. Cook, stirring occasionally, until most of the mushrooms’ liquid has evaporated, about 5 minutes.
Stir in the flour and cook for 1 minute.
Add the wine and scrape up the bottom of the pan. Bring to a simmer and add the porcini/stock mixture, the porcini powder, the thyme, salt and pepper. Let simmer on med/low heat for 10 minutes.
Add the half and half and the parsley and let simmer 10 minutes.
Serve with warm crusty bread.