This Matzo Ball Soup is so satisfying, so heart-warming, and just one of our all-time favorites. Homemade chicken broth with the wonderful tender matzo balls are a match made in Heaven. Easily make ahead of time. Just gets better with time!
4lbschicken piecesskin on, bone-in (such as chicken breasts and thighs), or one whole chicken, cut into 8 pieces.
2leeksdark green leaves cut off and discarded, then halved and cut into thirds
3ribscelerycut into thirds
5carrotspeeled and cut into thirds
2ozgingerfresh, 2 inches, ends cut off (does not need to be peeled)
5clovesgarlicdon't need to be peeled
1bouquet garniherbs tied up in small cheesecloth bouquet with a pinch of parsley leaves, celery leaves and chopped dill...or, instead, use 10 parsley stems and 10 dill stems
FOR THE MATZO BALLS
1¼cupsmatzo mealsometimes spelled matzoh*
⅛tspfreshly ground black pepper
3tbspschmaltzrendered chicken fat**
½cupchicken broththe liquid used to cook the chicken
START THE SOUP
Thoroughly wash the leeks (open up the leaves and run water and shake vigorously to release dirt).
Transfer to a large stock pot.
Add all the soup ingredients (except for the matzo ball ingredients) and bring to a boil over medium-high heat.
Reduce heat and gently simmer, uncovered, skimming foam every now and then from the surface, for 3 hours.
Let cool slightly, then place in fridge for 2 hours or overnight (this makes skimming the schmaltz off the surface much easier).
MAKE THE MATZO BALLS
In a medium bowl, beat the eggs whites with a pinch of salt until soft peaks just form. Set aside.
In a separate medium bowl, stir together the matzo meal, parsley, dill, 1/2 teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon of pepper.
Work schmaltz/oil into matzo mixture until incorporated (you can use your fingers to do this).
Stir in the chicken broth (1/2 cup), and then the eggs yolks.
Now, stir in one-third of the egg whites into the mixture.
Gently fold in the remaining whites until fully incorporated.
Chill for 30 minutes, covered.
FINISH THE SOUP
Transfer chicken from broth to cutting board and shred into bite-size pieces. Discard excess skin and bones.
Remove carrots from broth and cut into bite-size pieces..
Line a large sieve, or fine colander with cheesecloth (or double layer of damp paper towels) and pour the broth through the sieve/colander into another pot. Press the solids to release all the liquid. Discard the solids with the cheesecloth.
Return the broth to a simmer.
With dampened fingers, gently form chilled matzo mixture into 1-inch balls (they will expand as they cook), and gently drop them 1 at a time into the simmering broth. You'll have between 16 to 20 balls.
Cover and simmer for 50 minutes.
Stir in carrots and chicken pieces to warm through.
Serve in warmed bowls and garnish with dill sprigs.